Situational Leadership Relating to Personalized Learning

I have always believed in Hersey and Blanchard’s “Situational Leadership” model.  This model of leadership believes that there is no “one size fits all” of leadership practice.  Rather, the leader must become adept at gauging what skill and maturity level their followers or colleagues have in each given situation and then utilize an appropriate style of leadership for that situation.  For example, if a leader gives an employee a responsibility for a certain role or task, the leader must know what style of leadership to exercise with that employee in that given situation.  If the employee is an expert in that role, has the knowledge and skills required to do the task, and is keenly interested in accomplishing this work, the leader needs to back off and turn the leadership role over to that employee in that given situation.  In other words, get out of the way so you don’t trip that person in their leadership opportunity.  However, that same employee may not be at the same skill and/or maturity level in a different role in a different situation.  The leader must then incorporate a different leadership style appropriate to that situation.  It may be more appropriate for the leader to act much more as a mentor to that employee helping and guiding them through this new situational role.  Continuing to use the same leadership with that individual as was used in the first situation described above could be akin to setting up the employee for failure in this situation.  Situational leadership, when properly implemented, can pay huge dividends.  The key to this type of leadership lies in the ability of the leader to establish relationships with their employees.  The relationship leads to an in-depth understanding of the followers skills and motivation.  The leader must then have the ability and desire to implement an appropriate leadership style for each work related situation.
Personalized Learning, as we understand it within our Sun West PeBL journey, is a learner-centred process that supports gradual and deliberate transfer of responsibility between educator and student.  Educators become “activators of learning”, creating a 21st century culture and providing access to the supports and resources that learners need to succeed.  Student voice and choice become drivers in determining the path towards achievement of personal and curricular goals.  As in Situational Leadership, the teacher must gauge when and how to personalize the learning for each of their students.  Once again, the establishment of strong relationships between teacher and students is key to activating that personalized journey for each student.  The teacher must determine what learning style works best for each student “and” must realize that the learning style may have to be altered given the situation and/or curricular outcome of a particular learning situation.  There will be times when the teacher will need to direct and teach certain concepts while at the same time realizing that there will be times when students need the flexibility and freedom to explore and innovate on their own.  There is no “one size fits all” in today’s 21st century classroom.

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