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Key competencies in leadership

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Mary Anne Murphy links the key competencies with the skills and qualities of leadership. She challenges leaders to embody the key competencies with the same expectations we have for our students. This film relates to all school environments, although Mary Anne has some specific advice for rural schools too.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

In this interview, Mary Anne Murphy asks:

"One of the things that I think we need to be thinking about is that we are asking students to show the key competencies - how many of us as leaders are displaying those ourselves and asking that of our staff?"

Consider this statement in your own context. As a leader, where are you at now? How could you get to a place where your school environment was reflecting the key competencies at all levels?

Have you seen ...

School leadership and student outcomes: identifying what works and why best evidence synthesis
Alongside a synthesis of research and theory are examples of how principals and others in leadership can advance achievement and social outcomes for students, as well as some of the key dispositions, knowledge, and skills that leaders need to have. 


Today I'm going to talk to you about ‘trump’ing leadership with a view on how we can use the key competencies to support our work as leaders in the rural school context.

Viviane Robinson talks about Best Evidence Synthesis for leaders about some of the key dispositions and knowledge and skills that leaders need to have. I believe that the key competencies underpin and support the development of those dispositions.

One of the things that I think we need to be thinking about is that we are asking students to show the key competencies - how many of us as leaders are displaying those ourselves and asking that of our staff? If we think of the key competency of thinking I believe that there are four different ways we need to be thinking. First of all we need to be thinking strategically. I think you also need to be thinking outside the box. Taking on board the wonderful traditional values but looking forward into the future and making sure that the students don't lose out on anything that they need to be looking at, as 21st century learners. Another way we need to be thinking is collectively and collaboratively. This can be hard when you're in an isolated rural school and one of the things that we need to do is to break down those walls of fear of collaboration for fear of losing students. I believe that things like organising cross school writing moderation, e-learning professional learning, looking at ways that you can pool your funding, and have someone come in and facilitate some professional learning for you.

Viviane Robinson talks about open to learning conversations. So thinking about looking into the advocacy that she has within that, and using some of those tools within her work. Looking at things like Stephen Covey Jr talks about in a book of his 'The Speed of Trust' he looks at building relational trust and the ways that we can build that with the people in our school, students and community. It's not just about the school in a rural context, it's about the whole community and a generation of community, it's beyond that. We also need to be looking at how we can make links and form relations with other schools, particularly things like hooking up with the local high school.

We know education is full of acronyms and this can be quite daunting if you are a first time principal in a rural school. I think looking into using some of the networks and to looking into Ministry sites that can assist you with understanding how things work and operate, and also never being afraid to ask. There's no question that's dumb.

The managing self is huge one. We understand that the theory of the flow, you know, when we have a lack of stimulation, versus too much and high stress and workload. We need to be trying to maintain our balance and keeping ourselves in that flow. We need to be aware of how and when we start to move out on the fringes of that flow. So making sure that you have away time from the job. Also looking at managing yourself and forming the networks within your professional community. So that you can have communication with others through virtual online networks and even just things like doing some personal reading, and making yourself time for that as well. So the key competencies I believe are vital for us as leaders to be looking at and we really do need to be thinking about how we are showing those.

Published on: 29 Jun 2012