You are on page 1of 11

Running Head: TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADER AT WORK

Transformational Leader at Work


Leadership Interview
Andrew Peacock
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Leadership and Technology EDUC 5205

Transformational Leader at Work

Student # 100565670
February 26, 2015

Introduction to Transformational Leadership


Leadership can be defined in a variety of ways depending on the situation and
context. In the Leadership and Technology class, students discussed, that certain

Transformational Leader at Work

attributes of leadership in schools are found amongst different types of leaders but
management and leadership are not the same. Bass (1985) proposes that there are four
major factors involved in transformational leadership: Idealized influence, Inspirational
motivation, Individual consideration and Intellectual stimulation. For this interview, I
decided to pick a person that is not in a management role but rather is leading others to
foster change through transformational leadership. In order for change to be
implemented, it is essential that a group or an individual takes on the responsibilities of
being the leader. Stone-Johnson (2014) suggests that individual and school level
leadership requires people to use their collective strengths and relational attributes to
promote transformation. Ackoff (1999) argues that transformational leaders make sure
they create productive working conditions for themselves and others, provide continuous
skill development, manage interactions, make sure people are intrinsically motivated,
design a workplace environment that has the structure for continuous change and
encourages people to learn new skills and adapt. For the aforementioned reasons and
based on what Rita does and how she does it, I believe she is a transformational leader
that deserves recognition. Please see appendix A for email interview (R. Wakim, personal
communication, February 22, 2015).
Context of Interview
For this phone and email interview, I decided to ask a teacher that is currently
involved in the 21century innovators club with her school board. Rita is a full time
elementary Core French and Health teacher at a publicly funded school located in
Toronto. In addition to her teaching roles, she also facilitates many extra curricular
activities at her school such as a union rep, volleyball coach, religion committee member,

Transformational Leader at Work

21-century innovators club member, Carnival organizer and the i-Pad administrator.
Though Rita did not consider herself a leader because she was not in a formal position of
leadership, she is a leader within her school community. I would consider Rita to be a
transformational leader as she gave numerous examples that align with this theory of
leadership. Rita made reference to trying to role model her use of technology for others
as she felt it was important to help people understand the value of using technology in her
school. She also talked about trying to inspire others to change their perceptions of
technology as she thought educators needed to be leaders of 21-century skills.
Linking Theory to Interview and Research
Idealized Influences
Idealized influence from Bass (1985) work explains that there needs to be a bond
between the leader and the followers. He suggests, that the individual must exhibit high
standards in what they do to be considered a transformational leader. Antonakis, &
House, (2014) suggest beyond transformational influence, effective leaders need to
ensure that the people they are working with are adapting to the external environment and
use their resources efficiently. Rita explained how in collaboration with her
administration, they tried to utilize the resources they had available to them to meet the
needs of the different learners. She made reference to how staff trusts her in making
decisions, as they feel she always has their best interest in mind. Ritas role modeling in
her lessons and around the school in extracurriculars demonstrates the influence she has
with others. She noted, since starting at her school more teachers have come to her for
help to embed technology into their lessons. She also told me how recently she was told
by a few of her colleagues that she brings out the best in them.

Transformational Leader at Work

Inspirational Motivation
During the interview, Rita explained that she continuously collaborates with her
colleagues and students. She emphasized the role of her teammates throughout and
mentioned that she really wants to inspire them to take ownership of the project. As a
transformational leader, she sets high expectations for herself, her colleagues and her
students and makes sure everyone can be successful. Even though she has high
expectations, her vision and her approach with people demonstrates her willingness to
support every learner. Kendrick (2011) indicates that inspirational motivation is doing the
right thing to help people move into the future by having a shared vision. When asked
about why she integrates technology into her lessons, she responded its the right thing
to do. Throughout the interview, Rita made it very clear that technology is the way of
the future and that all stakeholders in education need to support one another to challenge
the traditional styles of learning for example from a textbook.
Individual Consideration
During the interview, it was evident that Rita truly is a transformational leader
that considers individuals as she commented on taking people on a journey with her as
they took the risk of trying something new. As Bromley & Kirschner-Bromley (2007)
explain transformational leaders, try to stimulate and inspire the individual with charisma
to go beyond their self-interest and to act for the good of the organization. Her way of
setting direction is very supportive and non-threatening as she invites people to come
along with her and learn for the engagement of students in life long learning. As she
mentioned, her ultimate goal is to get all teachers using technology so that students can
be engaged in their learning. Rita also mentioned that she looks at the individual

Transformational Leader at Work

characteristics of her learners and tries to accommodate their needs. During the
interview, Rita talked about the different levels of peoples comfort and how she supports
the individuals. She gives colleagues suggestions on how they can integrate new
technologies into their lessons and watches them become part of the solution. Rita
emphasized that if we want people to learn to integrate technology we cannot force them
to use it but we can encourage them and show them new ways of making the technology
work for them.
Intellectual Stimulation
Rita has been referred to as the techy at her school but she has not let it change
her approach or style of learning with others. Intellectual stimulation challenges people
to see if there are better ways of addressing a problem. Since a person has done
something in the past in one way, it does not mean that that is the only or best way of
doing it. Transformational leaders recognize this and try to find better or more engaging
ways to address the issue. Rita spoke of how she uses technology with teachers and
students to engage them however, she does admit that at times she has failed. Pounder
(2014) suggests, there is room for learning from mistakes as it is part of the search for
creativity. Rita is always looking for innovative and creative solutions on how to engage
people in their learning. Most recently, she held a French caf where her leadership team
incorporated Apps into their activity. Students were able to engage with each other and
the teachers were provided with instant feedback, which allowed them to modify their
lesson as they were also learning through the process. At the end of the interview, Rita
made an interesting statement that shows her intellectual stimulation and willingness to

Transformational Leader at Work

learn. Rita asked if I had any suggestions for her to improve as she felt there was still
more for her to learn.
Consolidating the Learning
After the interview, I looked back at Ritas approach and her philosophy of
teaching and learning. As a transformative leader, she has given me insight to her
practice and has helped me understand the value of each person within a school. Rita
does not have to say much to make an impact however, she truly leads by example and
works alongside her team to transform their direction for the future. From this interview,
I will be using some of the strategies she has outlined to help transform my school. Rita is
always looking for new ways to incorporate technology into her life and is willing to
learn from anyone.

References

Transformational Leader at Work

Ackoff, R. L. (1999). Transformational leadership. Strategy & Leadership, 27(1), 20-25.


doi:10.1108/eb054626
Antonakis, J., & House, R. J. (2014). Instrumental leadership: Measurement and
extension of transformational-transactional leadership theory. The Leadership
Quarterly, 25(4), 746-771. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2014.04.005
Bass, B.M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectation. New York: Free
Press.
Bromley, H. R., & Kirschner-Bromley, V. A. (2007). Are you a transformational
leader? Physician Executive, 33(6), 54.
Kendrick, J. (2011). Transformational leadership. Professional Safety, 56(11), 14.
Pounder, J. (2014). Quality teaching through transformational classroom
leadership. Quality Assurance in Education, 22(3), 273-285. doi:10.1108/QAE12-2013-0048
Stone-Johnson, C. (2014). Responsible leadership. Educational Administration
Quarterly, 50(4), 645-674. doi:10.1177/0013161X13510004

Appendix A: Email interview with Rita


Tuesday, February 22, 2015 10:18 PM

Transformational Leader at Work

Question 1: What do you currently teach at your school?


R: I am currently the Core French teacher at my school and I have Grades 1-8. I also teach
Grades 1-4 Health.
Question 2: What role would you say you play at the school other than your teaching
duties?
R: Aside from teaching the French curriculum, I am also the TECT rep, Girls Int. and Junior
Volleyball coach, Int. W5H coach, Religion Committee member, Carnaval organizer, 21c school
lead with innovators club and iPad administrator. Really we are all one big team.
Question 3: What technology do you and your students have access to at your school?
How are these shared among the students?
R: Currently, our school has 20 HP laptops that have now been assigned as the technology for
junior grades. We've just received 19 iPads and 20 mini HP touch screen laptops. The
administrator and myself have looked at the needs of the staff and students in the school and
have decided that the iPads be used for the primary division and the mini HP laptops will be used
by Intermediates. Its great that I get to help make decisions as my team trusts me that I will take
care of them.
Question 4: What types of activities have you done using the technology available to you?
R: In Health, I had students bring in their devices to read through the privacy policies and go
through the different settings that would need to be changed in order to better protect themselves
online.
In French, students worked in groups to create a story and took photographs of themselves
acting out the story to be rearranged into a comic. For my juniors, we used GoAnimate to present
their story. Most recently, students had to present themselves and were given the choice to
present information about themselves and their families using any method they felt most
comfortable with. Several students decided to use technology.
At the end of the unit that I'm currently working on, we will be using the iPads to create a weather
report by using the green screen. With the current update in the FSL curriculum, the focus needs
to be on authentic situations and students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the
vocabulary and show that they can use the language learned to create this real-life scenario. I
have also set up a French website where parents can learn with their children and support their
education. I have found it to be a great way for all stakeholders in education to be part of the
learning. Having the technology allows me to make change within the school, as there is a need
to develop our educational practices to align with 21c learning. By using technology, it makes the
tasks more fun and gives me a much broader range of activities to try. Change is necessary and
I want to incorporate real world problems into my lessons, as it will motivate students to try
speaking in French.
Question 5: Why would you consider yourself a leader in integrating technology in your
lessons at your school?
R: At my school, many of the staff members are not yet comfortable in using technology in their
classrooms but since getting there I have see a large improvement. The use of a projector is now
being used by the majority of the staff whereas in the past they had their photocopies. I may be
considered the "leader" because I've tried to infuse technology into some of my lessons and also
in activities I've planned within the school. In addition to the regular use of a projector to show
videos that enhance the lesson, I have also had students bring in their own devices for interactive

Transformational Leader at Work

10

quizzes and review activities using apps such as Kahoot and Socrative. During our Carnaval
French Caf, we made a trivia game for students to play in groups which allowed us to engage a
gym full of students and it gave us feedback on parts of the presentation that students did not
understand. We were then able to adapt our lessons on the fly, lets be honest its way better than
a textbook that I had to learn with. I know I may have high expectations but I think this allowed
staff to see some of the possible ways they could use technology in their classrooms to make it
more interactive. Its the right thing to do and the staff have come to know me as "the techy" but I
don't necessarily think of myself as a "leader" as we are all equal teammates.
Question 6: How have you tried to involve or encourage staff in embracing the use of
technology to enhance their lessons? What challenges do you face?
R: I try my best to share what I know because we need to inspire others to feel as they are part of
the change movement, we cant just force things on people. I think for this reason a couple of my
friends recently told me that I bring out the best in them. For myself, I realize the importance of
using technology and therefore, I try to give my colleague and students opportunities to
demonstrate authentic tasks and how we can make technology work for us. We need to just
accept it and learn how to embed technology into all of our lessons. If we fail oh well at least we
know where to improve next time.
Whenever I have informal discussions with staff about what they might be doing in class or a
certain type of project they're assigning, I often brainstorm with them some ideas of how they can
approach these tasks, and often times, I will mention ways they can integrate technology. My
motivation for using technology comes from my desire to be a better teacher but I want teachers
to feel as they are key stakeholders in changing the culture of the school towards all students
wanting to learn. I've demonstrated some apps that can help with their lessons or in letting
students create final projects in new ways. It is important that people realize that we as
educators need to raise the standards for each other when there is a certain level of comfort. For
the few staff members who feel relatively comfortable with using and integrating technology, the
main challenge has been the reliability and availability of the technology. Sharing a small amount
of laptops for the whole school was an organizational nightmare and made many people reluctant
to even bother trying to use them. On top of organizational problems, technical problems were a
regular occurrence that often made it difficult for teachers to fully accomplish the task with their
students.
For the group of teachers who require more guidance and assistance, their main challenge is
seeing the relevance in using technology and finding the appropriate opportunities to integrate it
into their lessons. Many of them have never attended any professional development regarding
21st century learning or the use of technology in classrooms. They need time to familiarize
themselves with the technology and feel confident in their own abilities in its use.
I have found that many teachers who are more hesitant and reluctant in using technology are
often less likely to sign up for the PD about using tech. In my board, these workshops fill up very
fast and they don't happen often. In order to have the opportunity to attend, staff would have to be
actively looking and consistently monitoring the registration to get a spot.
Attending this PD is unlikely for most of the staff, so the task of presenting and explaining the
basics of the technological tool is placed on the shoulders of the teachers that do know how to
incorporate it in a meaningful way. Because of this, I often find myself working one on one with
these teachers to help them gain confidence in their abilities. Ultimately, not only does it help
themselves but it also pushes education in a new direction to really engage students and
teachers to be life long learners.
My main form of "encouragement" is demonstrating things I have done or sharing any new and
exciting apps or ideas that I might find on different PLNs.(Professional Learning Networks) When
I'm having discussions with my colleagues, I think they become more intrigued just by my
excitement and enthusiasm every time I find something fun and interesting to try. Educators need
to be cutting edge in terms of 21century skills.

Transformational Leader at Work

11

Question 7: How have they responded? Would you say your methods have been effective
or ineffective?
R: Overall, I find that the staff have responded positively to my "informal leadership." I hadn't
really considered my role as a "leader", but I can see how many of these informal conversations,
use of tech during school gatherings and assignments that I've done in my classes and with my
colleagues have lead to a more positive view towards integrating technology. Technology is here
to stay and I must help people realize the importance in using it. I have had several people
approach me for suggestions on how they could use the iPads. It is encouraging to see that they
are willing to take that first step in trying something new and because of this I will remain with
them to support their needs during this journey. Since there is a willingness to learn about 21c
lessons and use of technology, I think my methods have been effective in bringing about an
increased level of support and interest in the use of technology. Really at the end of the day my
goal is to get all teachers using technology so student are engaged in the learning of real world
problems.
By the way if you or any of your classmates have any suggestions on how to integrate technology
please me know.