Monday, April 7, 2008

Differentiated Leadership

We're all familiar with the term, "differentiated instruction," but what about "differentiated leadership"?

This morning in Nashville, Minnesota leadership consultant Jane Kise made the case for differentiated leadership based on eight personality types she and her business partner, Beth Russell, have identified eight personality preferences and 16 personality types that can be identified and used to adapt school leadership as well as classroom instruction. Here are the four she covered in the session today:
  • Extraversion or Intraversion: How are you energized? Do you gain energy through action and interaction, or though reflection and solitude?
  • Sensing or INtuition: How do you gather information? Do you gather information with your senses or through connections and hunches?
  • Thinking or feeling: How do you make decisions? Based on logic and principles or values?
  • Judging or Perceiving? How do you approach life? Do you plan your work and work your plan or do you stay open and let things happen?
These tendencies are "hardwired" into each of us, Kise said. While she conceded some of this sounds like a lot of common sense, she can also offer example after example of situations where the school principal lead by their own personality preferences, which put off teachers, parents or other administrators who had opposite preferences. Most teachers--especially elementary teachers--are "feeling" types, whereas most principals are "thinking" types. She put things in perspective when she likened it to Singapore math. Singapore math works for so many people (especially those who are math phobic) because it appeals to both thinkers and feelers. Said Kise:
Be a better leader by knowing your personality preferences and those of your staff and students. The successful leader knows what their style is and tries to look for the other side to balance things out."