Guiding Questions

This page is devoted to exploring questions such as:

  • Why do positions of leadership have the potential to make people feel so vulnerable?
  • How do you know when you are in the presence of a leader? (What do they act like, look like, and sound like?)
  • What does leadership look like when viewed from an organizational or systemic level?
  • Why might mentoring be considered a form of leadership?
  • How can teachers build leadership capacity in their students and colleagues?
  • How are mentoring, leadership, change, service, and relationships related?
  • How might you apply successful foreign language pedagogy to the work of leadership?
  • How might emerging technologies be used to facilitate mentoring, leadership, and change?
  • How can we know if our efforts to lead are making a positive difference for the people and organizations we serve?

Key Principles

  • Leadership is less about what you do, and more about who you are.
  • Leadership begins with personal change.
  • The most critical work of a leader is empowering people to think critically and reflectively, to learn from that thinking, and to act on that learning; thus, most of a leader's work is mental.
  • Leaders who build leadership capacity in those they serve help ensure that the changes they implement will become self-sustaining.


Agenda - Leading Learning

We Won't Give Up - From the Black History Tour Group

Leadership Orientations Instrument

Four Corners Exercise

Building Leadership Capacity Self-Assessment - From Building Leadership Capacity by Linda Lambert

Seven Norms of Collaborating: A Toolkit

Latest Leadership Links

Music Related to Leadership

Evelyn Glennie: How to Listen to Music with Your Whole Body - Interesting video with major implications for listening as a form of leadership, the importance of listening in order to achieve innovation, and the ways that our preconceptions prevent us from creating change - chericem1 chericem1

Jarabe de Palo - The song, Depende is wonderful for discussing how perspective influences understanding and action. Lyrics available at: - chericem1 chericem1

O'Neal, Jamie. (2000). Frantic. Shiver. Universal City, CA: Mercury Records.
This song is excellent for stimulating a discussion of the need for building leadership capacity, delegation, distributed leadership, and down time. Lyrics available at: The song, 59th Street Bridge Song by Simon & Garfunkel makes a nice counterpoint to this one. Lyrics available at: - chericem1 chericem1

Sanders, Mark D., & Sillers, Tia. (2000). I hope you dance. Nashville, TN: Rutledge Hill Press. ISBN 1-55853-844-5.
This book uses a combination of text and images to illustrate the meaning and message of the song by Lee Ann Womack. (The book comes with a CD inside.) Lyrics available at: [user:chericem1]]

Schwartz, Stephen - Wicked: A new musical. There are numerous songs on this album that can be used to stimulate thinking about leadership and change, including Defying Gravity - Lyrics available at:, No Good Deed - Lyrics available at:, and For Good//. Lyrics available at:


The Power of Communication

Share Information - "Rumor is a persistent communication disrupter in most schools; assertive information sharing can disarm rumor mills" (Lambert, p. 80).

The Power of Example

". . . we cannot control others--only ourselves. The phenomenal element of that truth is that when we make changes in our own behavior, others change in response to these changes, without our saying anything about the changes they need to make" (Lundberg & Lundberg, p. 143).

The Power of Flexibility

"The intelligence I speak of is the ability to shift direction, even to redefine one's aims when better options emerge int he course of one's work . . . . The work, so to speak, also speaks, and at times, it is the artist who listens" (Eisner, p. 77-78).

The Power of Framing

Make It Meaningful - "Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of human kind as it is passed on to you, out of your talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something" (Lundin, Paul, & Christensen, pp. 104-105).

Redefine Leadership - "Educators, parents, and students are often required to alter their self-perceptions in order to perceive themselves as leaders. Redefining leadership can help tremendously" (Lambert, p. 85).

Perception is Powerful - "If you don't know you have choices, or don't believe you have choices, you don't" (Lundin, Paul, & Christensen, p. 100).

Provide Choice - "There is always a choice about the way you do your work, even if there is not a choice about the work itself" (Lundin, Paul, & Christensen, p. 37).

Reenvision Problems as Opportunities - "Transforming cynicism into hopefulness by transforming the school's most challenging issues into clear statements of purpose or inquiry" (Lambert, p. 86).

The Power of Play

"Happy people treat others well; fun leads to creativity; the time passes quickly; having a good time is healthy; work becomes a reward and not just a way to rewards" (Lunden, Paul, & Christensen, p. 88).

Readings on Leadership

Block, Peter. (2003). The answer to how is yes: Acting on what matters. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. ISBN 1-57675-271-2.
A phenomenal, thought-provoking book that reframes leadership and offers new perspectives on ways that leaders can create organizational cultures that initiate, implement, and sustain meaningful change by encouraging members to act on what matters to them. (Contributed by - chericem1 chericem1)

Carnegie, Dale. How to win friends and influence people (summary). Retrieved March 31, 2006 from
A brief summary of of Carnegie's book that includes fundamental techniques in human relations and addresses ways to try to influence in others without creating resentment. (Contributed by - chericem1 chericem1)

Fennimore, Beatrice. (2001, August). The power of your words. The School Administrator. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from
Excellent, brief article. Key ideas include: Words are both descriptive AND deterministic. Words leaders use should describe PATHWAYS from where we are now to the change we hope to achieve, not simply outline problems

Gardner, John. (2000). The nature of leadership. In Fullan, Michael (Ed.), Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 3-12.
This article seeks to define the word leader, to distinguish between leaders and managers, and discusses the importance of context and distributed leadership in understanding and managing complex systems and organizations. (Contributed by - chericem1 chericem1)

Lundin, Stephen C., Harry Paul, & John Christensen. (2000). Fish! NY: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6602-0.

Maurer, Rick. (n.d.). Resistance to change: Why it matters and what to do about it. Beyond Resistance. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from
Rick Maurer defines resistance, outlines 3 types of resistance (lack of information, emotional/physiological, and systemic), explains why typical approaches to change fail, and offers approaches to addressing resistance. Site promotes his book: Beyond Resistance.

Readings on Leadership Capacity

Lambert.jpg Lambert, Linda. (1998). Building leadership capacity in schools. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. ISBN 0-87120-307-3.
This practitioner-friendly book defines leadership capacity, provides a conceptual framework for building it, outlines critical features of high leadership capacity, offers 3 case studies that explore these features, and elaborates 7 essential actions for working with these principles at the district level. Several useful appendices provide helpful staff surveys and rubrics of emerging teacher leadership. Image source:
(Contributed by - chericem1 chericem1)

Lundberg, Gary, & Joy Lundberg. (1998). I don't have to make everything all better: Six practical principles that empower others to solve their own problems while enriching your relationships. NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028643-8.

Senge, Peter M. (2000). Give me a lever long enough . . . and single-handed I can move the world. In Fullan, Michael (Ed.), Jossey-Bass reader on educational leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
This article advocates for a systemic approach to leadership and emphasizes the importance of developing leadership capacity in order to create "learning organizations" that support the development of creativity and the diffusion of innovation. (Contributed by - chericem1 chericem1)

Web 2.0 Tools for Leaders

Blogger - Use a variety of pre-made templates to create your own blogs that support the uploading of media-based content for free. Blogs can function as particularly effective tools for leaders who need a way to articulate beliefs, communicate vision, and explain the factors that were considered during complex, administrative decisions to faculty and staff. A collaborative blog with multiple authors can also be a powerful way to involve busy teachers in providing leadership to their colleagues by inviting them to initiate conversations about important issues and share their expertise, ideas, and information with colleagues, parents, and other community members. - chericem1 chericem1 - Easy-to-use, online, colorful graphic organizer that is shareable. Great for conducting brainstorming sessions, mapping curriculum, or mapping the factors involved in complex decisions. - chericem1 chericem1

Chat Creator - Lets you add a chat window to your website so that others can communicate with you when you are online. - chericem1 chericem1

Comeeko - Free, well-designed software that lets you create your own comic strips (using photos or images) and save them for others to view. Sometimes the messages of leaders have more impact when they are communicated in a light-hearted way! - chericem1 chericem1

Cmap - Free, online collaborative concept mapping that allows you to attach documents and photos and include hyperlinks. Especially nice for mapping curriculum or managing large, collaborative projects because you can attach electronic documents and resources related to each piece of the curriculum to each corresponding bubble and the document can be made accessible to and editable by multiple people. - chericem1 chericem1 - This free social bookmarking site allows you to create an annotated list of online bookmarks to your favorite websites and to share them with others. Leaders can also embed lists of links they have collected on particular topics into relevant pages of their websites and, in doing so, provide silent leadership to others who need their expertise, but may not be in a position to request it. - chericem1 chericem1

Evite - This site allows you to design custom invitations for various kinds of events, draft a guest list, send the invitations, and track the responses automatically. You can choose from pre-made themes and templates, or create your own. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Reader - After creating a free account, leaders can use this service to keep track of the webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology. This is a great way for leaders to stay current with key issues in the profession. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Scholar – This search engine returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles. Great tool leaders can use to gather credible information that will help them make more informed decisions. - chericem1 chericem1

Gliffy - An online application that allows you to create diagrams and share them with others. - chericem1 chericem1

Go2Web2.0 Directory - A handy directory of Web 2.0 services that can facilitate leadership. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Alerts – Lets you have Google notify you via an e-mail message when anything is posted on the web on the topic of your choice. Great for keeping leaders up-to-date with current information and breaking news. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Docs - Free, online spreadsheet and word processor like Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word that lets multiple users on different computers edit a document simultaneously and save it online. Great for collaborative authoring among various group members. Combine this with Skype for voice features too! - chericem1 chericem1

Google Notebook – Lets you copy snippets from online articles, or create your own running notebook on the topics of your choice online. The notebooks can be kept private or shared, making them a great place for leaders to take notes during meetings and share them with others. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Reader - After creating a free account, students can use this service to keep track of the webpages to which they have "subscribed" (for free and very easily) using RSS technology. Leaders can "subscribe" to colleagues' blogs and easily keep track of who has posted new content. - chericem1 chericem1

Google Scholar – Returns only scholarly articles and books, tells you how many people have cited them, and links you to related articles - chericem1 chericem1 - Allows you to create free quizzes, polls, and surveys that you can use on your blog, etc. Great for soliciting opinions from those you serve. - chericem1 chericem1

Jumpcut - Allows you to edit digital video for free online. Great for leaders who don't have access to anything but the internet at home! - chericem1 chericem1

Keep Toolkit - A free, online project planning template that allows users to input images, text, and video into different "boxes" to create a shareable "project portfolio." Easy way for leaders to package information to share with others, to help teachers think about continuous improvement, or to help teachers think more holistically about student assessment. - chericem1 chericem1

Media Convert - A free, slick little online tool that will let you identify a media file on your desktop or at a particular URL and convert it to the format of your choice simply by filling in a simple form. No registration required. Great for leaders who have difficulty opening files from others. - chericem1 chericem1

Meebo - Lets you manage chat/IM from multiple services all in one window. Also lets you create a customizable chat widget to add to your blog. - chericem1 chericem1

Meeting Wizard - A free, online tool that allows you to negotiate a date for an event, send out invitations, collect responses, and send reminders . . . all automatically! Extremely helpful for leaders working with large groups of people. - chericem1 chericem1

Motivator - Create your own motivational posters for free with a digital photo and a few clicks. Download them, e-mail them, print them, or upload them to Flickr. You can also order print copies. - chericem1 chericem1

Protopage - Ever wonder what a Web 2.0 webpage will look like? Well, here's the answer! Register for free to get your own page, then customize the content by clicking on any of the tabs and altering their contents. Make as much as you like public or private. Like someone else's content? Simply click import and watch it all get added to your page! An easy way for leaders to keep information organized for themselves and others. - chericem1 chericem1

Scribd - Allows you to upload documents to share with others - Use premade themes to create slideshows from your photos that you can embed in your blog or website.[[|]]

Skype – Free software that allows you to talk to anyone in the world (up to 4 people at once) through your computer for free with a cheap headset mic (like the telemarketers wear) as long as the other person also has the software. Great for group conversations about projects. You can also call landlines or cell phones, but there is a charge for that

Swicki - Free software that allows you to create a search engine on your site that will evolve the results over time to better serve users based on their click patterns.

Swivel - Lets you explore, compare, and share data

The Amazing You Tube Tools Collection - A collection of tools to help those interested in using/publishing materials to You Tube.

Tubes - Allows users to drag and drop content (audio files, bookmarks, documents, e-mail contact lists, spreadsheets, videos) into a "tube" that can then be accessed by all those who have been invited to share it. Invitees can also upload content to the tube, making project collaboration easier. The latest versions of content in the tube synch up when the user is online. Click on the Download link to see a 30-second demo.[[|]]

Websites as Graphs - Lets you visualize the content of a website (in terms of images, tables, text, etc.) graphically. Useful for evaluating websites in terms of content and design issues.

Wikispaces - Allows you to set up collaborative work spaces where multiple people can collaborate. Allows uploading of documents, files, images, and multimedia in addition to basic text, and includes discussion boards for every page, editing histories, revert options, RSS subscriptions, and the ability to review recent changes.

Yugma - Free Web 2.0 videoconferencing software. (Read more about Tim Lauer's experiences with it here: