What if we promoted risk-taking to our staff and students and modeled it openly as administrators?
This is the ‘what if’ statement that really jumped out at me from George Couros’ book, The Innovator’s Mindset. As an administrator, I really think that risk-taking has to be part of our job. How can we expect that anything will ever get done if we wait for someone else in our organization to do it?
This is one of the great challenges of leadership. Administrators must be accountable to the school boards who employ them. School boards are ultimately accountable to the public. This is very clear, but at the same time, I would argue that part of being accountable means taking the risks that are going to push the boundaries of educational practice.
If not the administrator in your school, who else is going to do this?
Taking risks can be a challenge. We work in systems where compliance to a whole set of regulations is expected. I recognize this and I take my responsibility seriously. But, at the same time, I think we are all called upon not to ‘wait’ for the next great innovation, but to play an active role in being part of that next new wave.
This does not mean you have to have to jump on every bandwagon that comes along, but it certainly means that you have to live out on the edge a bit and be willing to take the kind of risks that will create an atmosphere in your school where others will also feel free to innovate and create.
This can get you labelled as a ‘rogue’ from time to time, but at least you are out there trying to make a difference. The discomfort of being labelled will always pass, but the changes you initiate can have lasting benefits for your school community.
Just imagine. When teachers and students feel free to create and follow their dreams in a safe environment that accepts innovation what great things will happen? Things that you could never imagine if you spend all your time being in ‘control’.
I think more of us need to take that leap. I think it is part of our job. We were not put in these positions to remain complacent and comfortable.
So, start taking risks and see where this leads!