A Transformational Leader

Dr. Vandana Gupta

Principal, EuroSchool North campus, Yelahanka, Bengaluru

The biggest dilemma today is to predict the needs of tomorrow and developing course ware to prepare the next generation for needs that are unknown. The challenge is to know what it will mean to be educated in future. Education, up to the present time, has largely been occupied with the art of correlating with past history and past achievement in all departments of human thought and with the attainments to date of human knowledge. It has been primarily backward-looking and not forward-looking. But the times have changed. We all know that many of the demands and expectations with which we entered the teaching profession no longer fit.

The new key words are: Twenty-first century learning ( which reflects fluidity, unpredictability and complexity), reflective practice, modern learning environments, building on self (Attitude), learn to remain relevant (Continuous learning),learn to live together(Social skills ),learn to be (existential), learn for contributing to society. Here’s where transformative leadership comes in.

The transformational leader does not simply run a school, merely keeping it afloat! Transformational leadership begins with a focus in leadership as the exercise of influence. While hierarchy may be useful to define accountabilities but it definitely does not define influence. Good leaders push for change but do so collaboratively and with the needs of the organization balanced by the needs of the individuals. They recognize that change will always be messy and their vision for the organization can change as the world changes.. Therefore constant adaptation of vision and innovation are key aspects of life.

Transformational leadership is about getting reflective. School leaders and teachers often rely on tried and true practices that may be comfortable, but ineffective. To truly transform a community we must question and sometimes abandon habits, beliefs, practices, and mindsets that no longer work.

Wishing, waiting and hoping are all ways of avoiding action!

“A shift in mindset empowers leaders to create change, not respond to change,” writes Eric Sheninger, author of Learning Transformed: 8 Keys to Designing Tomorrow’s Schools, Today

Leaders can start to pioneer change by reflecting upon and identifying their current practices and then considering how to challenge them to make room for new ideas and methods. They should create a culture of innovation and motivate teachers and students to continuously progress, ever aiming to create the best learning environment for students.

Leaders themselves should be willing to learn!

Here is where competency and capability come into play. Where competency is about delivering the present based on past performance: capability is about imaging the future and bringing it about. Competency is about control: capability is about learning & development. The capability to learn in itself will become the most important thing in future! Therefore transformational and reflective leadership is now required in schools. It’s for leaders to look for and also provide opportunities to its team for rethinking educational practices.

Dr. Vandana Gupta

Principal, EuroSchool North campus, Yelahanka, Bengaluru