At dusk I have taken my grandchildren to the camps of Melbourne’s grey-headed fruit bats. I wanted them to experience the exhilaration of standing underneath more than 30,000 bats as they circled above preparing to head out for the night’s feeding; a truly awesome sight and sound!
Here is a question though: Out of the 30,000 how do they decide which bat goes first?
I found out, and in doing so discovered that there is a dark side to grey-headed fruit bats!
Mature fruit bats, (let’s be blunt … those who have survived longer), take a seemingly well mannered “after you” position towards younger inexperienced bats. What the mature bats know is that there are predators waiting for them to leave and it doesn’t pay to be the first to head out! Eager for a feed, the younger bats take the lead and … the older, more experienced bats get to live another day.
Now some may not like me saying this, but I am going to say it anyway. I think that some school leaders are just like those older bats! How so?
When it comes to leadership around digital technology, there are those school leaders who just sit in their “trees” letting less experienced teachers ‘go first’. These less experienced teachers then either struggle along without much support or, even worse, are devoured by that predatory species that lurks in many a staff room, the Great-crested Naysayer.
How then do school leaders drive change, create and maintain a learning organisation? One way is to make sure we know how to lead in the digital age. This is where networking, connecting with other school leaders, is critical for Principals, others in school leadership, teachers, students and parents.
Effective leaders need to develop certain characteristics. If we were to observe a leader who successfully drives change, what BEHAVIOURS would characterise them? Would one of those behaviours be to characteristically say “you first” to their school community when it comes to digital technologies?
If you are a school leader and you are not taking the lead by, at the very least, role modelling the use of digital technologies yourself, aren’t you effectively saying, “you first”?