Leadership Development: Ontario Leadership Congress 2012 Resources

The theme of the Ontario Leadership Congress 2012 was Mobilizing Leaders’ Knowledge to Strengthen the Board Leadership Development Strategy (BLDS).

Available upon request are video highlights on the topics indicated below, from the speakers for the day: Ken Leithwood, Professor Emeritus at OISE/University of Toronto and advisor to the Leadership Development Branch, and Michael Fullan, Professor Emeritus at OISE/University of Toronto and education advisor to the Premier of Ontario.

Contact:  ldb@ontario.ca

#1: The Ontario Leadership Congress – Moving the Student Achievement Agenda Forward

Michael Fullan discusses the significance of the Ontario Leadership Congress as a key strategy in continuing to move the student achievement agenda forward during challenging times.

#2: The Ontario Leadership Framework 2012

The Ontario Leadership Framework (OLF), distributed by the Institute for Education Leadership (IEL), was revised in 2012.
Ken Leithwood, author of The Ontario Leadership Framework, with a Discussion on Leadership Foundations 2012, discusses the research and assumptions that provide the foundation for the OLF 2012.

#3: Integrating Management and Leadership

“Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change.” (Kotter, 2001). Effective leaders approach “technical” management matters in an “adaptive” way.
Leithwood discusses the integrative perspective on the concepts of leadership and management.

To learn more about the challenges of integrating management and leadership, read:

  • ‘What Leaders Really Do’ by John Kotter (Harvard Business Review OnPoint, 2001)
  • ‘Instructional Leadership vs. Instructional Management: Rising above the Crowd’ by the Ontario Principals’ Council’s Professional Services Team (The Register)

#4: Direct and Indirect Enactment of Leadership Practices

Ken Leithwood identifies and discusses the unique characteristics of elementary and secondary school leadership and shared leadership as two factors that influence the enactment of the leadership practices outlined in the OLF. 

 #5: Coherence is in the Mind of the Leader

Coherence-making is defined as “change processes that help connect elements of reform so that groups gain shared clarity and shared commitment” Motion Leadership, Michael Fullan (2010).  

Fullan explains why coherence making is important as leaders enact the leadership practices. He distinguishes between alignment and coherence and identifies and discusses the four indicators: focus, consistency of practice, ubiquity of consistency and sustainability that show coherence within a school or district.

Read more about coherence building: Leading in a Culture of Change by Michael Fullan (2001)

#6: Leadership is a Key to Improved Student Achievement – The Ontario Story
Leithwood and Fullan discuss the evidence they have collected in their work with Ontario school districts that supports the strong link between effective leadership and improved student achievement.

Read more: Linking Leadership to Student Learning: by Ken Leithwood and Karen Seashore, (Toronto, Jossey Bass, 2011)

#7: Personal Leadership Resources

In addition to recognizing and undertaking effective leadership practices, effective leaders also tend to possess and draw on a small but critical number of personal leadership resources - cognitive, social and psychological - when enacting the leadership practices.
Leithwood discusses optimism, emotional “intelligence”, and problem-solving abilities, which, according to the research, account for the differences among leaders in how well they are able to enact the OLF leadership practices.

 #8: Going Out of Your Way to Get to Know Yourself

In Change Leader: Learning to Do What Matters Most, Fullan writes that leaders need to “go out of their way to get to know themselves better in order to improve their impact.”
Fullan speaks about the role of the leader as learner and how to access different parts of one’s knowledge base in order to solve complex problems.

Read more: Change Leader: Learning to Do What Matters Most by Michael Fullan, (Toronto, John Wiley & Sons, 2011)

#9: Optimism, Self-Efficacy and Resilience

Leithwood states that optimism, self-efficacy and resilience are three important qualities of an effective leader. Leithwood and Fullan speak about the importance of leaders having and modelling these three qualities when tackling challenging situations.

Read more about the importance of Ontario leaders choosing optimism:  In Conversation: Values-Driven Leadership.

#10: Changing School and System Cultures

Fullan identifies day to day practices as well as vertical and horizontal interactions within schools and districts as two important indicators of change in the context in which people work in a district.

Read more: Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School by Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan, (Toronto, Ontario Principals Council, 2012)

#11: Attracting Leaders

Attracting leaders to the role is one of the goals of the Ontario Leadership Strategy and a component of the Board Leadership Development Strategy. Leithwood discusses tapping and modelling as two strategies school and system leaders can use to attract the people to the leadership role.

For additional information about succession planning, go to Institute for Education Leadership Succession Planning Resource.

# 12: Impressive Empathy

Impressive empathy is defined as empathy for those who disagree with what you want to do. It precedes and fosters mutual respect in a challenging situation and is an important social resource that enables leaders to transform a negative situation or relationship into a more positive relationship. Fullan says giving a person respect before he or she has earned it is a practical example of impressive empathy.

#13: Developing and Implementing an Effective Board Leadership Development (BLDS) Plan

Fullan says an effective plan must be sticky, actionable, and memorable and come alive. In order for this to happen, he offers advice that:

  • the plan must be owned by the implementers rather than the planners; 
  • ongoing communication during implementation is more important than before implementation; and
  • premature excitement is fragile.

Learn more about effective plans: Motion Leadership; The Skinny on Becoming Change Savvy, by Michael Fullan, (Toronto, Corwin Press, 2010)

#14:  Moving Forward

Fullan states that as we move forward in implementing an effective leadership development plan, we must be aware and address the double agenda: to consistently implement the priorities and at the same time be actively developing other leaders. He discusses how to know when your leadership plan is successful.

Leadership Lessons - Mawi Asgedom

In his keynote address, A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard, Mawi Asgedom shares four key leadership concepts that served him well through his journey.

  • Ethical Leadership
  • The “Why” of Leadership
  • Invisibility
  • Pushing your Leadership Button.

Read more about Mawi’s leadership journey: Of Beetles and Angels: A Boy’s Remarkable Journey from a Refugee Camp to Harvard by Mawi Asgedom, (Chicago, Megadee Books, 2002)

Further Reading

  • Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. Hardback (HMH Books, 2012)
  • 12 Things Good Bosses Believe by Robert Sutton, (Harvard Business Review Blog, 2010