The «New» Foundations of Teacher Education – A Reader – Revised edition
Edited By Eleanor Blair
14. What Does Leadership Capacity Mean?
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What Does Leadership Capacity Really Mean?
Throughout this hemisphere, conferences, seminars, and academies are hosting events on leadership capacity. The Internet lists dozens of online courses about leadership capacity. Google reports more than 3 million hits under the title “leadership capacity.”
What is really meant by leadership capacity? The term has been around for some time. What is my leadership capacity? What is the leadership capacity of individual teachers, our principal, our political figures? This personal usage, while central to school improvement, does not offer a framework or schema to sustain school improvement. Since the publication of Building Leadership Capacity in Schools (ASCD, 1998), educators use the term “leadership capacity” as an organizational concept meaning broad-based, skillful participation in the work of leadership that leads to lasting school improvement.
First, let’s look closely at these terms.
Leadership—and therefore the work of leadership as used within the definition of leadership capacity—means reciprocal, purposeful learning together in community.
Reciprocity is essential to solving problems and working collaboratively. Purpose suggests values, focus, and momentum. Learning is mutually creating meaning and knowledge. Community is the essential environment for experiencing reciprocal, purposeful learning. These four ideas frame a definition of leadership in which all can see themselves reflected. It is the mirroring pool of a professional culture.
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