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Leadership 1: Leading Authentically workbook


Leadership 1:
Leading Authentically

An online course from The Education Hub

This is the personal workbook of

Below is the work you did in the first part of the course:

Notes on the definition of leadership
Developing your leadership

Explore what you remember about this leader through at least one of the following methods:

  • Write a reflection describing this person and their leadership style.

For example, Mrs SS, the principal in my school, entered my New Entrants classroom at 7am and started rearranging it, without asking or telling me. I just arrived for the day to find her in the midst of rearranging it, and was told why things were better the way she had put them.


Without asking or telling

In the midst of rearranging my classroom

I’m told why things are better her way

  • Spidergram or wordcloud

Create a spidergram, with the name of this leader in the middle circle, and then draw out from this centre, using key words that summarise this leader. Collect words that describe how you felt with this leader or in a particular leadership interaction.

An alternative is to use a wordcloud. [Tip: start with the ‘Wordlist’ tab and click edit to start adding words.]

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  • Draw or create an image that captures your thinking about this leader. You might also cut out face and body parts from magazines or create a montage of pictures you find on an image search engine.

Mrs SS in playdough – an oversized nose and mouth with small eyes. Long over-reaching arms and a small heart.

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Reflection on complexity theory
Reflection on leadership styles

Think about which of the leadership styles that you read about here catch your interest and attention.

Below is the work you did in the second part of the course:

Notes from Leadership visions
Develop your leadership

In this activity, we would like you to engage in a reflective exercise designed to generate values that will help you create a vision for your personal leadership practice. You will need:

  1. Coloured post-it notes or small squares of coloured paper in various colours (large enough to write a word or two on)
  2. An A3 piece of paper
  3. Watercolours, pastels, or chalks
  • Using the reflective questions below, write one key word on each post-it note or coloured paper, aiming to come up with 5-10 words. You might generate several words in relation to each question. How would you like team members to feel about their work? How do you want people to feel after an interaction with you?
  • On your larger paper, place each coloured post-it/piece of paper at one side, and draw an arc in the same colour with the watercolours, pastels, or chalks. This might look like a rainbow, or you might choose another shape.
  • Now think about each of those words in more depth. What characteristics and behaviours in the leader leads people to feel like that? Write words along the arc that describe the actions and behaviours that leaders would need to engage in to create those impressions. For example, if you have written ‘empowered’ on one of your coloured squares, you might write words such as ‘trust people’, ‘avoid micro-management’, ‘sharing responsibility’, ‘individual projects’, ‘self-determination’ along the arc.
  • Take a photo of this work and post it in your Leaders’ PLC forum.
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  •  Finally look at the tool for planning and evaluating leadership style. Here we begin what will be a work-in-progress, revisited and continually added to with each part of the course. The aim is that at the end of the course you will have a really useful tool that can help you to evaluate and reflect on how well your leadership practice meets your leadership vision, and to identify ways in which you might adapt your practices to make them even more aligned with your vision. This week, please start on the first column, listing one important value in each box in the left-hand column. Try to choose four or five broad values that were most important to you from the above exercise.
Leadership value Links to leadership style Actions that uphold this value   
Reflection on visionary vs bureaucratic leadership style.

Rather than seeking to compare bureaucratic leadership with visionary leadership (and perhaps deciding to throw the former out!), complexity theory, with its focus on connecting many diverse ideas and seeing what emerges, invites us to consider in what ways it might be useful to include bureaucratic leadership alongside visionary leadership. What do you think?

Notes from Developing and communicating vision
Notes on communication strategies

Below is the work you did in the third part of the course:

Developing your leadership

In this activity, we ask you to use your imagination to create an image or metaphor of your leadership, and in particular, how the people, places, and things around you feed into and shape your leadership. This activity is designed to stimulate a reflective process which may support you to develop new insights to inform your ongoing leadership development.

  1. Go for a walk, which can be a great way to simulate meditation and reflection. As you walk, think about yourself as a leader, and then extend that image of yourself to include all the people, features of place, and things that feed into your leadership actions and behaviours. What influences you? And in what ways? Try to focus your reflection on determining what relationship there is between you as a leader and all the people and things that you work with.
  2. Think about a metaphor or image that best conveys the relationship you perceive between all the things that influence your leadership in your setting, and in turn, the influence that you have on them. Some ideas include rivers (that flow into one another, for example), braids that intertwine, or a waka [Māori canoe] with many paddles. 
  3. As you walk, try to collect some natural materials that you could use to create an ephemeral image (a temporary arrangement of materials in an aesthetically pleasing way). You might collect branches, twigs, petals, leaves, grasses, pebbles, and so on.
  4. When you return home, lay out your materials in a way that can represent your idea. Take a photo.
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Reflections on pūrākau and rhizome
Reflections on democratic leadership
Reflections on Communication within a democratic leadership style

In Kids’ Domain’s pūrākau image, for example, communication as communal sense-making might be seen as the interweaving of different threads of understanding as roots that lead into one trunk. Or, using the rhizome imagery, we might imagine each person’s communication as a rhizome, an entanglement of ideas, images, and words which would connect with the ideas, images, and words in the minds of listeners.

Below is the work you did in the fourth part of the course:

Develop your leadership

For this activity we want you to reflect on the team that you lead, and the current practice in your setting, using an appreciative inquiry lens. You will need:

  • Paper and pen
  • A digital camera or smartphone

The aim of this activity is to appreciatively inquire into your team and their practice in your early childhood setting.

  1. For each team member, challenge yourself to write at least one story or anecdote of practice you have observed that you saw as highly effective. What is good about this team member? Can you tell a story about a time when they were at their best?
  2. Walk around your early childhood setting, and take photos that represent your team’s strengths and achievements (not your personal strengths and achievements as a leader). This might include photos of displays and documentation, areas of play or provocations for learning, and interactions between teachers, between children, and between children and teachers.
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Beliefs about people
Leadership practice Implied beliefs about people 
Solving all the problems that team members bring to them
Detailing everyone’s responsibilities and duties in clearly described job descriptions
Focusing on ensuring everyone is fairly rewarded for their work
Having to see and approve everything
Spotting flaws and shortcomings, planning improvements, and correcting people’s faults
Highlighting and building on people’s strengths, determining and providing the supports that people need

As the activity above may have demonstrated, some of the more controlling and directive leadership actions imply less positive beliefs about people.

Notes from Relational leadership values in Pasifika leadership practice
Notes and reflections on servant leadership

Think about each of the staff members in your centre in turn.

Notes and reflections on affiliative leadership
Possible answer

Affiliate means to join, connect, attach, associate, partner. This leadership style is focused on ensuring strong connections between people to enable teams to better meet their goals.

Notes and reflections on relational leadership
Possible answer

This relational conceptualisation of leadership as a social construction that arises through relational processes is entirely compatible with complexity theory. A typology approach, by contrast, tends to view leaders as the primary source of leadership, which they contain, and express through their choice of leadership behaviour. From a relational leadership perspective, leadership becomes a practice within a system, rather than a trait.

Notes and reflections about Relational skills

I am attentive and present as this interaction unfolds

Now think back to your activity in Part 2, in which you created a rainbow of values for your leadership practice.

Below is the work you did in the fifth part of the course:

Develop your leadership

For this activity, you will need:

  • A cultural resource: this might be a scarf, a weaving, an artwork. It might even be a tool such as a kitchen implement, a fan, or a brush. Remember that pretty much any resource that has been purposed by humans for a social and cultural activity (and is not a personal invention, unique to yourself) counts as a cultural resource!
  • Strips or squares of paper, and a means of fastening these to the cultural resource you’ve chosen (ribbon, string, pins)

Use the reflective questions below to reflect upon the ideas and understandings about leadership that are prominent in your culture.

On each piece of paper, write one thing that leaders in your culture do, and the value that seems to underpin this. For example, you might write ‘direct tasks’ as a leadership action and ‘managing and controlling’ as the leadership value, on one piece of paper.

Attach each piece of paper to or around your cultural resource, and take a photo to upload to the Leaders’ PLC forum. In this week’s Leaders’ PLC meeting, you will be sharing this work with other leaders.

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Notes and reflections on The context of Māori and Pasifika leadership
Notes and reflections from Kaupapa Māori and leadership in early childhood education
Important values in Kaupapa Māori leadershipImportant leadership values in your culture

After determining what the reading indicates to be key values for kaupapa Māori leadership, take another look at your notes to the ‘Develop your leadership’ activity at the beginning of this part, and the values that you identified as important to leadership in your culture. Make a list of these values in the second text box above.

If you are Māori, compare your personal list of values with the formal list of kaupapa Māori values in the reading, and note the differences. This will be a comparison of your own iwi’s emphases as opposed to a generalised conception.

Reflections on collective notions of leadership
Notes from Kaupapa Māori values
Notes and reflections from Interpreting Māori values for leadership

Think about a leadership function that you have engaged in this week, or one that is important to you (for example, leading a staff meeting, contacting families about new enrolments, mentoring a team member, resolving a dispute, handling a complaint, and so on), and then pick one of the values you have identified for your personal leadership vision and which is written on your planning and evaluation tool. Now ask yourself:

You might come to see how enacting a value may involve quite different actions in different contexts.

Reflections on Spiritual and ancestral elements

Below is the work you did in the sixth part of the course:

Develop your leadership

In this activity we revisit your rainbow of values and work through one or two creative exercises (from an appreciative inquiry approach) to reflect upon and imagine these values in action, so that you can develop more awareness of the actions that enact your values, and increase your authenticity.

Now close your eyes and take some deep relaxing breaths to prepare for a visualisation. Imagine a day next week, in which, miraculously, you wake up fully able to be the leader you dream of being, completely at your best, equipped with all your strengths which have been fully developed to their capacity. You are able to enact all your values without compromise. Imagine waking up, and noticing that today things are different. Imagine your entire day, from preparing to go to work, to arriving at work, all the activities of the day, the journey home and the routines before bed.

Draw a picture of this version of yourself, or create a mind map or flow chart of this day and what happened. On the map or chart, or around the picture, write down the key actions and language that you used in this role.

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Share both your effective leadership anecdote and your picture, mind map, or flow chart of your imaginary best day with your Leaders’ PLC.

Later in our Leaders’ PLC, you will have a chance to receive feedback from another leader about the values that they identify in what you have produced through this exercise.

Finally, open your planning and evaluation tool, and in the third column, add to some of the actions you have identified through this exercise that enact each value.

Notes on Living espoused values
Notes on showing vulnerability

Think about how well you know yourself – your values, strengths, and weaknesses.

Notes on Relational transparency
  1. Self-disclosures
  2. Honesty
  3. Setting boundaries

Consider how transparent you are in revealing your personality at work.

Notes on Honesty and transparency
Reflections on authentic leadership

Remember there is no need to pick one, but to weave together a range of insights and practices from different leadership models as appropriate for you and your context. The models simply provide an easy way for us to talk about leadership.

Note that being authentic and true to yourself doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a new leadership style. With practice, new behaviours and language can become highly authentic, as long as they sit well with your values and beliefs. An authentic leader would, however, be very open and transparent about trying to learn a new leadership style, freely admitting and encouraging feedback from others on their errors in the learning process. They would be able to articulate the reasons for trying to develop their leadership practice in a particular direction, standing strong in their moral conviction for the values they enact in that practice.

Below is the work you did in the seventh part of the course:

Develop your leadership

In this activity we want you to reflect on a current or past situation in which you found it difficult to determine an appropriate ethical response. For example, this might be a situation in which a family member accused a teacher of a particular action, and the teacher claimed otherwise. Or it may be that a family member wanted teachers to encourage a child to be excluded from a particular kind of activity in the centre, and teachers felt uncomfortable with the child missing out on a learning opportunity. We will use these scenarios later in our Leaders’ PLC as a way of exploring ethical action and processes for determining an appropriate ethical response.

  1. Place a piece of paper in front of you horizontally, and divide it into two halves with a horizontal line across the middle.
  2. Write the scenario in the sequence in which it occurred, in the top half of the paper. At this stage do not write about any resolution you had, because we will be using this scenario to discuss possible solutions in the Leaders’ PLC. If you remember some of the language used by participants in the scenario, write this in speech bubbles coming off each event.
  3. Use the bottom half to explore the feelings and thoughts you had about each event in the sequence. You can use colour, images and marks if you like, to represent emotions for example.
  4. Bring this scenario to the next Leaders’ PLC meeting.
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Notes on Ethics
  1. Critical ethics: power and influence
  2. Ethics of care: relationships and context
  3. Social justice: equity
  4. Environmental: sustainability
Reflections on ways in is ethical leadership complex?

Consider the community you work in.

Notes on engaging in ethical decision-making

At a meeting, after discussing the ethical dilemma they have in regard to the mother wanting the teachers to keep information about a child’s dressing up activity secret from his father, the leader and teachers together decide on a range of possible solutions. They then examine the values associated with each. Using the values you have articulated for your leadership practice, which of these solutions would best fit your values?

  1. Putting the dresses away for some time.
  2. Distracting the child by providing some other dress-ups that are more gender-normative
  3. Talking with the father to listen to his perspective and explore the importance of being positive about diverse expressions of gender identity
  4. Holding a parents’ meeting or focusing a newsletter on gender diversity
  5. Writing a policy about respecting gender diversity and non-normative expressions of gender
  6. Developing a curriculum focus for all children about gender diversity and get family input into planning this project

Below is the work you did in the eight part of the course:

Reflections on personal time

Think about exercise, a healthy food break, or rest as a step towards better health; mindfulness, meditation, creativity, or journalling to improve mental well-being; a gratitude or kindness gesture to promote positivity; or socialising or interaction with others to improve social connectedness. Make a list, then choose two or three that you would like to start incorporating into your daily routine now. If you are not sure what to do, start by scheduling two ten-minute blocks of time everyday for your self-care, and choose a new activity to try each time. The most important thing is to make time in your schedule for these activities. You might find carving out time in your electronic diary useful, or you may set a daily alarm to remind you.

Develop your leadership

Across several parts of this course, you have been working to develop your awareness of your values for leadership, depicted on your ‘rainbow of values’. Across this course, we have been asking you to reflect on the ways in which different leadership styles are most relevant and meaningful to you in terms of your personal leadership values. Here we are going to initiate the use of the planning and evaluation tool we have been constructing as we have worked through the course for your ongoing professional journey. This tool should help you to be more intentional and reflective in your leadership practice, and can also be used to assess your development and plan how to improve.

Review the planning and evaluation tool.

Select a leadership activity that you would like to evaluate in terms of its alignment with your personal leadership vision. This might be an interaction with a team member, giving a tour of your setting to a new family, or leading the opening to a staff meeting, for example. Review your planning and evaluation tool before you begin this leadership task, so that you can be highly intentional about enacting your values as you perform the activity. Immediately after the activity, use the two blank columns at the right-hand side of the table to mark, firstly, whether you think you enacted that value (with a tick, cross, or a question mark perhaps), and then the next column to write a note about what happened in regard to that value. For example, you might note parts of the interaction that were highly successful, or what kind of response your actions engendered, or what you might do better next time.

Reflect on how useful you found your planning and evaluation tool.

Your personal planning and evaluation tool can be used for regular reference, so that you keep your intentions as a leader to the forefront of your practice, and maintain your intentional reflection on that practice.

If you have enjoyed the use of the visual arts as a tool for thinking and reflecting during this course, you might like to now create an image of you as the leader you aspire to be, and display this somewhere where it can help you recall your values and how you plan to enact them.

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Reflections on Continuous professional learning
Reflection on Leadership coaching

Have another look at your planning and evaluation tool to orient yourself to your leadership vision. Then think about a smaller skill or goal want to achieve or accomplish that is related to this vision. Divide a piece of paper into three parts, and draw or create three images:

  1. On the left hand side, draw how you see yourself now in relation to your goal
  2. On the right hand side, draw how you will see yourself after attaining your goal
  3. In the middle section, draw the challenges or obstacles you perceive to realising the goal. What kinds of things, and who, can help you to overcome these?
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This exercise helps you to set goals and to visualise success (as if it has already happened), which is a powerful tool for bringing your leadership dreams to life.

 Your planning and evaluation tool
Leadership ValueLinks to leadership
Actions that uphold this value
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