Leading Change – Tapscott’s open leadership model for change

Don Tapscott (TED, 2012) outlines 4 principles of an open leadership model for the future for managing change.

– collaboration;
– transparency;
– sharing; and
– empowerment.

He describes our current society entering an ‘age of networked intelligence’ or group intelligence. Leadership in this type of model is present but there is not one leader, rather a momentum of thought.

How can these principles be applied to school libraries or teacher librarians??

Collaborating with classroom teachers, senior teachers, students and the wider school community when initiating change ensures that you engage with those around you with skills and experiences that can contribute to change. Creating a scenario of interdependence where you can use others to develop and progress is essential to creating change beyond your own capabilities only. An example of this is conferencing with teachers about developing collaborative units of work, or working with senior management, teachers and students to develop a new library design.

Being transparent means an open process to communicate and share information. Communicating goals and values, progress and setbacks breeds integrity in the change process and creates trust, a vital component to ensuring successful change (Browning, 2013. p15). Producing mission statements, library policy documents, library development plans, newsletter reports and end of year reports are a way of communicating clearly to the school community.

Sharing information refers to the practice of providing intellectual property for the use of others or to gain feedback. In practical terms this could involve providing copies of end of year reports to other schools to analyse and compare data or to copy a program or unit of work that has had an impact on student learning.

The concept of empowerment reminds us that by empowering those around us to be responsible for change or to have a role in the process of change gives everyone a sense of power and freedom, and a stake in the outcome. In this way there is a sense of inclusion and the result is more likely to successful. This could mean brainstorming ideas to improve lending rates, delegating tasks like improving the website or making displays more visible, to library staff and seeking feedback how to make things better.

Consider how this understanding of the 4 principles can support you in leading change at your school or in your school library?

Upon reflection I feel that the main message of this style of leadership is that being connected to your learning community is the key to successful change. Working closely with others, seeking valuable knowledge and experience, sharing your goals, ideas and vision and allowing others to fully see what you are hoping to achieve is essential. In this way all involved feel a sense of ownership and the final outcome is surely better as it is a culminating product or not just one leader but a collective.


TED. (2012, June 28). Don Tapscott. Four principles for the open world [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfqwHT3u1-8

Browing, Paul. Creating the conditions for transformational change. Australian Educational Leader; v.35 n.3 p.14-17; September 2013. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=200657;res=AEIPT


Seven steps of problem solving

Primary – Relief from face-to-face teaching for classroom teachers is often covered by the teacher librarian. This means that it is difficult to plan any collaborative teaching opportunities with the teachers. You are also concerned that the student learning in the library may not be contextually relevant to the learning in the classroom. How could you approach this problem?

Definition- Limited collaboration and planning opportunities between the classroom teacher and teacher librarian.

Data- Student learning in the library is not linked or related to classroom units of work and outcomes.

Cause analysis- No time allocated for teacher librarian and classroom teachers to cooperatively plan and discuss guided inquiry teaching and integration of information literacy

Solution planning and implementation- assign the teacher librarian to a particular grade or class for the whole year and organise a relief teacher to cover the teacher relief periods so the teacher librarian and classroom teacher can use that time to plan. this may only be necessary at the start of the year or term

Evaluation and Effects- Assess the students outcomes through formal and informal assessments and student/teacher informal feedback

Standardisation- progressively implement collaborative planning and guided inquiry to the whole school to ensure student learning is relevant to the library and classroom

Evaluation of process- evaluation of the process as a whole school during a staff meeting or allocate time during a student-free PD day to discuss successes and failures, or what can be improved

My initial thoughts on Leadership

I have started in the TL position this year, and as yet I realise I have been consumed by learning how to do my job and running an efficient library rather than analysing and reflecting upon my place as a leader in the library/school. Our school library has long been neglected and not recognised within our school as the centre of learning. I hope through this course I can sharpen my focus on what I can do to realign the school library as an important connector and learning generator, and how I can build myself into a more effective leader in the school community.

The Leadership Style Quiz results were no surprise to me. I prefer a participatory/democratic style of leadership where ideas, opinions and suggestions are welcomed and fully explored. I like working in a group and feel that in that way individual strengths can be exploited to achieve group goals. However, I must be honest and state I am aware that in the school setting at times I do allow myself to follow and feel comfortable having guidelines set for me. This is due to my lack of confidence in my abilities and experience, not for want of being in cruise mode. When I think of those whose leadership qualities I admire and would want to emulate the following Transformational Leadership characteristics come to mind:

*confidence and a clear vision
*ability to communicate their vision and steps to achieve it
*builds an atmosphere of trust and high expectations
*ability to build and nurture personal relationships
*inspires others through doing and achieving
*strong work and moral ethic
*willingness to listen and being approachable