It’s Monday so we’ll get right to the point. Leaders in the 21st Century must be:
1) Generative
2) Cage-busting
3) Systems-thinkers committed to continuous learning
Use this Leadership rubric to see where you are and to monitor your progress. You don’t need to be an administrator to use it.
Remember we are talking about a specific type of leadership that is predicated on the notion that schools need dramatic transformation to meet the realities of a new era. And we believe everyone involved in education can practice these leadership skills, not just those with a title.
We’ve synthesized several researchers and settled on three keys. The first is chiefly derived from the text Generative Leadership as well as Leadership and Self-Deception and the tools of the Foundation for Critical Thinking. The second from the text Cage-Busting Leadership and the third from Peter Senge’s body of work, namely Schools that Learn as well as Richard Dufour and Bob Marzano’s Leaders of Learning. We pulled common themes and the most important elements in creating the rubric.
Our children don’t have time for egos, excuses or stale ideas. Short-term fixes and limited thinking inhibit real change. Don’t be Charlie Brown in this cartoon:
We’ve created two charts based on the works above to compare and contrast old and new leadership. Do you have a story to share about either of these leadership contrasts?



  • Cautious, timid, plaintive leaders
  • Overestimate requirements and constraints
  • Assume factory-models as given (bell schedule, age-based grade levels, physical space)
  • Believe all budget cuts hurt classrooms; have limited thinking about how students can learn
  • Dynamic, creative, agile leaders
  • Push the limits and take full advantage of existing regulations
  • Think differently about time, talent, tools and money and try radical ways to achieve goals
  • Use existing budget in creative ways to maximize student learning

Traditional Leaders

Generative Leaders

  • Organize
  • Assign
  • Direct
  • Monitor
  • Correct
  • Verify
  • Maintain or restore order & structure
  • Ask imposing questions
  • Let ego be their guide
  • Question
  • Stimulate
  • Envision
  • Explore
  • Influence
  • Guide
  • Stimulate & tap intelligence & creativity
  • Ask generative questions
  • Check ego and are generous