M4_1 International coordinator as a leader of change in school

•    Leadership competencies of an international coordinator
•    Leadership and vision
•    Leadership styles

Short description of activity

This is the first section of the wider module ‘Leadership; it is therefore an introduction to the section and based mainly around a presentation. To introduce the leadership module there is an activity to illustrate how people are predisposed to pushing back to change:

Don’t push lead
In this physical paired group physical activity as introduced on ppt slide 2 ‘Don’t push Lead’ attached
•    People need to stand facing each other in pairs.
•    Each partner identifies themselves as other A or B.
•    Partners raise their two hands and touch each others palms.
•    A is then asked to push B
•    No instruction is given to B
•    After a while the roles are reversed and B pushes A
•    The participants return to their chairs and a discussion is held to understand what happens when as individuals we are pushed.
Most participants will have pushed back/ resisted when pushed by their partner.
Leadership is the same – when pushed (to change) people tend to push back no matter how valid the request to change is.
Question – how do we change and lead people with out pushing them?

Irresistible vision
The second activity PPT slide 3 ‘Irresistible Vision’ is to illustrate using an elastic band how people are attracted to the dominant image.
Using the two dots on the PPT as if they were nails in a wall – the top dot is the vision and the bottom dot (nail) is the current reality.  The elastic band represents a human being, relaxed and content until a vision is announced, change is required; where upon the elastic band (individual) feels stretched.
If the nail of vision is robust, resolute and firm the elastic band (individual) will be propelled towards the vision.  If however the current reality nail is more vivid and fixed – the vision is weak and unconvincing – the elastic band will be attracted to stay with the current reality and resist change.
Note the bigger the gap between the two ‘nails’ the greater the tension in the elastic band (individual) but also the greater the energy to power the change.

Two pictures one action
Cognitive dissonance as introduced in PPT slide 4 is the psychological concept that you can’t have two beliefs about the same thing and give both beliefs equal value.
The leader’s job is to create dissonance in the minds of those who are being led and resolve this dissonance by making the vision more compelling and attractive than the current reality.
Without dissonance there is no need to change.
Leaders have to therefore first create dissonance.
Get participants to draw two pictures of a situation in their life – from a rockery to a divorce – a situation in their life or work that they are working on.
In the first picture DRAW everything you can to do with the situation – every detail, identify gaps in understanding, good things about the present situation, people’s feeling in the present situation, everything you can think of to make this picture completely illustrate everything you know about the situation (spend 5 mins on this)
In the second picture – get participants to imagine themselves into the future – to a time when everything about this matter (above) is completely resolved and sorted. Get them to be as optimistic and free as they can be in imagining a perfect resolution to the issue.
On completion of both pictures are participants to identify the more compelling picture – current reality or vision.
Learning point. We go in the direction of the dominant vision – if the former picture is more compelling then the situation is unlikely to change much in the foreseeable future – at least if it depends upon the participant to change matters.  If however the second picture is more compelling it would be safe to assume that the participant is leading on and intent upon changing the situation for the better.

At the end of the rainbow
Get participants to stare at the dot on the movie clip M4_1_2_Rainbow illusion test (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fc2Z3QgVq8) behind this colourful picture PPT slide 6
•    After approx 20 seconds the picture will change
•    Ask participants if the new picture of a waterfall is in colour or black and white
•    Most participants will think the picture is in colour.
Learning point.
The brain having been confused by the strange picture surrounding the dot has tried to make sense of all the incoming information.
There appears to be a rainbow around the dot… but it is not a proper rainbow.
The brain is busy thinking about rainbow colours when the picture changes
The brain carries on thinking about colours and ‘sees’ the colours on the waterfall – even though they are not there – at all.
As leaders – talking up the vision for our followers – we need to remember that once we stop communicating the vision they go back to seeing what they want to see, what they have always seen.

A bucket of balls
Using the animated PPT slide 7 – the commentary goes along the lines of …
The brain is made up of beliefs, beliefs that we have allowed to form as a result of thinking about something over and over again
Like balls (=thoughts) in a bucket (=brain)
If you are given a set of thoughts(blue balls) your brain becomes full of blue balls and when asked a question you answer ‘blue’
Leaders need to change the beliefs inside followers’ heads so that people can then answer differently.

It’s a bit like websites being ‘hit’. The more hits a website gets the further up the rankings it goes and it becomes ‘true’
How do we get the new ideas/ vision to get more and more hits so that the vision becomes ‘true’

Main learning outcomes

•    Understand that great effective leadership utilises people’s desire to change and doesn’t require pushing people.
•    Understand the need for compelling vision that is more vivid and attractive than the current reality.
•    Understand the challenge and the opportunity caused by bigger bolder visions, that stretch people more and in so doing create grater energy to achieve/resist the change
•    Understand that leadership requires efficacy and that leadership is possible – ‘they are good enough if I as the leader am clever enough
•    Understand that leaders make change happen by burning the present platform and reinforcing the vision.


Presentation (PPT): M4_1_1_Leadership
Video: M4_1_2_Rainbow illusion test (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fc2Z3QgVq8)
Elastic band
Tow bits of equal sized paper for the drawings


25 minutes


These activities are best addressed to the whole group with individuals providing ideas and examples of the relevance of these examples and metaphors in their own lives.

Please refer to the video attached – generate your own personal examples to illustrate the points being made.

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