As an instructional leader, I discovered over time that my personal leadership vision for doing what was best for all students in mathematics and science emerged from six reliable sources. Any time I was having doubts as to whether or not I was supporting the right kinds of vision actions or core values actions I would just check to see if there was similar support from these six types of sources.
Sources that inform my decision-making.
1) My own teaching experiences with what works and doesn’t work for improved student achievement.
2) My understanding of how research informs practice.
3) My belief that all people matter—adults and students.
4) The wisdom of my professional colleagues on the state and national professional level
5) The wisdom of my 2-3 most trusted colleagues and mentors.
6) The reality revealed by various data measures for student success.
These highly reliable sources served as a great help for me over the years. They were a way to “check-in” and see if my leadership actions were focused correctly and headed in the right direction. At any time I had some doubt or might be unsure as to the right decision, I would use this list as a way to seek input and advice before moving forward—especially if the decision was going to have high impact on the work behaviors of a lot of the adult stakeholders.
Disciplined vision leaders use sources they can trust as a way of monitoring and adjusting their personal beliefs. This is a critical element for knowing if the 3–5 “right things” in your personal vision are indeed worthy of your time and energy as well as the time and energy of those in your sphere of leadership influence. And they keep you from wandering too far off the professional learning community vision track.