Saturday, January 16, 2010

Insights from a self assessment completed in my Lamar Master's in Educational Leadership program.

The self assessment has been very enlightening. Having previously been involved in sales and sales management I am very familiar with “personality type selling” or relating to the “owls, bulls, tigers and lambs”(Clarke) in an appropriate manner as to discover the DBM (dominant buying motive) and selling to it and empathetically overcoming objections to “seal the deal.” This is ideally a win, win, win situation and is very similar to what cutting edge educational philosophical approaches are leaning towards today. In short I see very little difference in approach. Here is a brief look at my own self assessment assignments.
The TELSA was much more intensive and thought provoking than I ever thought. It has been enlightening as to areas of familiarity and those not so familiar. Reviewing my own assessment I understand that performing administrative duties and leading staff development are definite priorities. The assessment also revealed real concerns in the budgeting area. I am hopeful my business budgeting will correlate some in this regard. This however is an area where it pays to be better safe than sorry regarding best practices. Hint taken.
I had previously taken the Kiersey test several times before and found it very useful. Seventy two yes or no questions can tell a lot about a person. I found a slight change in my profile from three years ago but still I am a solid rationalist as are most educators. I just seem to be a bit more of a dreamer at times and I personally believe I trust my own instincts as every now and then I seem to have a sensory radar alarm go off that will force me to take head. The brief summary of motivational theory as it has drifted away from behaviorist thought and practice to more of a true cognitive approach really helped give me some perspective. I remember well in the late 80’s I was a bit stunned to note the results of a study from a sports psychology class. The study involved extrinsic rewards vs. intrinsic motivators. Professor Robert Weinberg hammered the point home to me that intrinsic motivation is far superior to extrinsic motivation yet often time extrinsic motivators have there place in the “big picture.” Attribution theory has a very simple and sound approach to motivation. “If it is to be it is up to me” is an old motivational sales quote I used to use that exemplifies this approach. I am less familiar with the cognitive dissonance theory. I have studied the cognitive dissonance theory but identify more closely with the expectancy theory and subsequent variables involved. I relate very well with the variables of Expectancy, Instrumentality, and Value as a coach. I realize I am most frustrated with those student/athletes that participate yet see little Value in their efforts. I have always adhered to the greatness of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and still take this into account in various situations today. I did not know that Alderfer pushed for teacher and student needs to be equally met. I think that is great and that more sensitivities to teacher needs is needed in today’s pressure packed society and work environment. Glasser also was new to me and is heroic in addressing the need for laughter.
I have never before completed a task vs. people profile. The outcome here greatly surprised me. My concern for people was a 10 and my concern for task was a 23. I have always thought myself to be more of a people person than this score might indicate.
My answers on the ethics self assessment were widely spread. The majority did fall under the category of organizational. There were answers in every category. This makes sense to me as rarely do I see things completely in black or white. I know that situations alter cases and that each case is unique. These ethical situations are a very difficult thing to truly simulate. As an educational leader I know it is imperative to lead honestly by example and to communicate clear expectations and personal faults or pet peeves. It does one no good to “know thyself” unless this personal knowledge is put to good use.
Understanding followers and their needs, knowledge, and the capacity to motivate are my top 3 attributes. My bottom 3 attributes are probably willingness to accept responsibility, task competence, and ascendance, dominance, and assertiveness. Growing in the areas of task competence and ascendance, dominance, and assertiveness should continue quite naturally with professional growth as I continue the path toward administrator certification. Willingness to accept responsibility is a category that will need some special emphasis. I must fully realize that it takes a real man to own up to his mistakes and it also makes it easier to move on to the next goal or team project.
My own conflict style analysis may be a little unique. My highest category was integrating (5) while my lowest category was negotiating (3). The remaining three categories were all even at 4. The explanation of the integrating style does make sense for me personally. I do tend to work hard to resolve issues or conflicts keeping both the goal and the people involved in mind. Integration is by far the best style overall for serious issues. Without concern for both the goal and the persons involved a truly sound resolution is difficult to obtain.
In completing the state and national standards assessment I found I had more experience than I previously thought due to the fact that our campus is utilizing a Professional Learning Community model of which I am the team leader for World History. Collaboration, consensus, common standard assessments are very familiar to me now. I found that I had little or no true campus leadership experience and some budgeting experience but not applicable to school specific situations. I am encouraged by these findings but I still see the great challenge that a school administrator has and the many different hats he or she wears.