Are we developing leaders for the 21st century?

leadershipQsDo we have an educational leadership crisis? Are we developing educational leaders – in our schools and in our universities – for a world that was? Or for a world that is to be? In her TED talk, Roselinde Torres shares her research around the questions – What makes a great leader in the 21st century? What are successful leaders doing? She discovered that 21st century leadership is defined by 3 questions (here focus was on leadership in general, not necessarily educational leadership):

  • Where are you looking to anticipate change? Great leaders see around corners. They anticipate change. They shape the future by connecting with people and experiences that help reveal the organization’s gaps and develop plans for action.
  • What is the diversity measure of your network? Great leaders move beyond their comfort zone and develop the  capacity to build relationships with people who are very different – politically, culturally, biologically, physically, socio-economically? Great leaders understand that having a diverse network is a source of solutions and pattern identification.
  • Are you courageous enough to abandon the past? Great leaders dare to be different. They take risks, and they have the emotional stamina to withstand being told their ideas are naive, reckless and even stupid.

If answering these three questions sheds light on the effectiveness of leadership in the 21st century, how are we doing in the field of educational leadership? How are educational leaders anticipating change? Or are we waiting for it to be sent to us from Harrisburg or Washington? How are we connecting and what are we learning from those connections? How is our diverse network helping us to anticipate change in the field of education? Are we prepared to abandon the past as many nodes in our diverse networks paint a radically different picture for the future of K12 education? Are our schools and universities developing school leaders for the 21st century?


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