Monday, October 15, 2012

Shared Leadership

For several years, I have had grand ideas about implementing a shared leadership model at our organization, an idea that was precipitated by our loss of federal funding and our elimination of all office staff. But, even though shared leadership makes fiscal sense, it is a complicated idea in the workplace, as it requires so many things that are difficult for us as human beings: trust, collaboration, cooperation, letting go of control, listening, and being flexible and amiable. Tonight, after a lot of dreaming and even more hard work and team building, we held our first-ever Executive Board meeting that was a working meeting under the shared leadership model. Normally, you would find us, a group of 15 or so teachers, sitting around a large conference table, discussing items on an agenda and coming up with ideas to table for later. Tonight, I was twenty minutes late to the meeting. But, when I walked through the door to the RI Writing Project, folks were in their groups, working on the projects they chose to tackle. They were working with their updated To Do lists; some were at computers, some in conference rooms. The place was humming like a beehive. Groups of teachers were planning our spring conference, writing a new vision statement, developing our Facebook page, and planning our summer writing camp for 2013. I moved from group to group, offering feedback and lots of praise. After an hour and a half, an incredible amount of work had been accomplished, and everyone felt, I believe, happy. 

Folks had smiles on their faces as they said "goodbye." They felt useful, content. So did I.

Doing, instead of sitting. Creating, instead of following. Envisioning, instead of ignoring. These are the things teachers need. 

I love my work and am so grateful to work with the smart, capable Writing Project teachers in Li'l Rhody.

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