My new head of school just started school on July 1, 2009. I just e-mailed him an explanation of Leadership Day 2009, and a link to the Twitter search engine so that he can learn more. I don’t know this man at all, though his reputation and initial actions speak well.
This means that if he wants to, he can find this website, and he can read this — and everything I’ve ever written, both good and bad, that’s on the Net.
It may sink me as a teacher, it may save me.
But as anyone who’s ever been part of a major organization knows, leadership isn’t just about the guy at the top. It’s also about the folks at the bottom helping move things forward.
So here’s my advice for the rest of us, the folks of influence but no power, online voice but little control. E-mail your administrators a brief note explaining Leadership Day 2009, and invite them to read the conversation. Give them access to the guidelines; point them at search.twitter.com or some other place where they can find a list of the materials. In a few days you can point them at Scott’s summary list, I’m guessing. You don’t have to include links to your own posts, but you should include links to the summaries from 2008 and 2007. Don’t tag any particular posts as worth reading; they have their biases and interests, just as we have ours. But let them know the conversation is taking place, and that they can be part of it.
It takes a certain bravery to stand up and invite someone to the digital conversation, particularly someone who may have hiring and firing power over you, and who may not approve of your ideas or someone else’s. But really, it’s the only thing that allows the conversation to progress. The people who have authority have to be invited to the conversation.
YOU, fellow bloggers, are the ones who must extend the invitation. Stop writing blog entries, and go write an e-mail. NOW.
And remember, Leadership Day 2009 is forever. It doesn’t matter if they read the e-mail or handwritten note today, tomorrow, next week or next year. The entries will still be here. They can still read the transcript, and encounter ideas they hadn’t thought of yet. But they still must know the conversation is there.
Don’t give in to fear. Go write to them. Now. Be a leader.