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From the podcast: Agile leadership in uncertain times

Frequent guest Diane Egbers joins Carole Dorn-Bell to discuss the importance of agile leadership in uncertain times, like the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Host Carole Dorn-Bell welcomes frequent podcast guest Diane Egbers of Leadership Excelleration to discuss agile leadership in uncertain times.

Diane starts by explaining what agile leadership looks like in education.

“In education, agile leadership is really the idea that in this tremendously interesting and tumultuous time of change that we’re all experiencing, that leaders need to be willing to move from certainty to clarity,” Diane says.

She explains that agility is important because major changes like what we’re experiencing now provide opportunities if we seek them. She says it’s important to see the positive changes that have happened in the past few months and to find ways to maintain, nurture and grow those changes.

“Districts can be agile and leverage agile leadership in a time like the change we’re experiencing now,” Diane says.

She says all the uncertainty we’re experiencing requires leaders to think about how to transition from volatility to a new vision.

Diane says that times like now require that leaders are also humble learners.

“We’re all in these new spaces,” Diane says. “Everybody is in this place that if we’re willing to be humble learners, we can really leverage the vision understanding clarity and agility that’s needed right now.”

Carole says that the tonality and semantics really matter during times like this.

Diane says that agile leadership is more important than ever during a crisis. Agility can make or break a leader in uncertain times.

“We can either operate from fear, or we can transition from fear to faith in ourselves and our ability to create a vision,” Diane says. “We have to have faith in our abilities more than ever.”

Agile leadership is all about not allowing fear to immobilize us.

Diane suggests that superintendents check out the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review and read “The Agile C-Suite.” She says it has great insight on how to change the culture of a school district to be more agile.

Carole asks in what sort of projects she is seeing good agile leadership in schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have such high-performing schools in Ohio, and they’re doing such amazing, creative and interesting things,” Diane says. She says schools are excelling especially around diversity and inclusion. They’re finding unique ways to approach the disparities that exist within school districts.

She says schools are also finding that remote learning is highlighting ways to allow students to be more self-directed.

“Leaders have to balance stability and agility,” Carole says. “How can they do that dynamically?”

Diane says there’s a dynamic balance of maintaining stability to allow leaders to be creative and innovative within projects. She says that mistakes should be a part of learning. It’s important to adjust as you test and learn.

Carole asks what district leaders should do next if they want to learn more.

Diane explains that they’re in the process of developing some online learning courses, one of which includes agile leadership for educators.

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Read the full We Love Schools podcast episode about the importance of agile leadership in uncertain times. 

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