Getting Beneath the Surface
Each leader brings a particular mindset to a situation. These assumptions, beliefs and values, also referred to as mental models, are the culmination of one’s previous experiences and the attempt to assimilate and accommodate new learning into a coherent vision. We may be either cognizant or unaware of our mental models which guide our behavior and in turn reshapes our mental models. This distillation and “meaning making” can be captured in the Ladder of Inference first developed by Chris Argyris and included in The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook (Senge et. al., 2004) later adapted for Systems Thinking Tools and Strategies (Waters Foundation).
People may find themselves in positions of leadership without fully understanding their ascendance or their relationship to the role and other people in the organization or system. John Maxwell describes the Five Levels of Leadership in terms of why people follow leaders. Early education leaders are wise to understand that leadership is often the combination of personal characteristics adaptively applied to particular contexts and relationships, and not all leadership is the same. (
- Systems Thinking in Education
- Habits of a Systems Thinker
- The Five Levels of Leadership (video, website)
- Iceberg Template
- Your Path to Leadership