The first four weeks of CR510 have prompted this student to reflect on her years of teaching in the public school setting. Having experienced many similar complexities to the ones in the text, this student is sympathetic to the challenges facing those in the education system and is eager to find opportunities to offer a better solution for all involved. CR510 has strengthened this student's belief that a third party neutral can provide valuable benefits to educational systems at all levels.
Gorton and Alston (2012) pointed out in Chapter One that effective leaders “provide direction and meaning, generate and sustain trust, display an eagerness to take action, and spread hope”, through motivating and empowering others to reach the desired goals (pp. 7-9). Thus administrators must be skilled communicators, attentive and responsive listeners. Meanwhile they must also be able to build relationships with others, multitask, prioritize, delegate wisely, relate to, and motivate others. Reading that both the National Association of Elementary School Principals and the American Association of School Administrators have noted the importance of communication to the school system's success (p. 101), has affirmed for this student that the need for outside assistance with communication is indeed a serious concern for administrators.
Meanwhile the text, online discussion, and classroom discussion helped to distinguish the differences between authority, power, and influence. In the educational venue, authority and power both involve having the authorization to compel others to comply with decisions (Gorton & Alston, 2012, p. 74, 88); whereas influence primarily involves being able to persuade or shape decisions and behavior through “informal and nonauthoritative means” (p. 89). This student's experience has shown that conflict can occur when an individual questions whether a person truly has the authority to enforce or determine a cause of action. Furthermore, this student proposes that one should never underestimate the significance that power and influence have in various situations.
A light bulb went off, however, when the text drew attention to the fact that many conflicts in the educational system originate from the difference between formally outlined roles and the unspoken expectations that others have for those roles (Gorton & Alston, 2012, p. 129)....