Quality technological leadership is very much aligned with effective leadership. The keys to success depend on being mission driven, employing the empowerment of others, communicating effectively, and cultivating a shared vision and purpose. A nuanced approach to staying on course and being open to change and developments are certainly plusses.
What then distinguishes technological leadership from a more traditional leader? Context perhaps?
With the rate of change in technology, a leader must be willing to embrace their own ignorance, not as something to hide, but as something that gives others expertise. A leader must attend to and leverage ground floor developments (such as students arriving at school with backpacks full of mobile ready devices) toward the goals of the organization, and as opportunities for the students, at a phenomenal pace. New tools, tricks, and gadgets flood the market annually, monthly, weekly, daily.
In this way, the technology leader must be willing to suspend being the sage on the stage and allow a game changer, who might not even be human, be a member of the team, so to speak. While at the same time not losing focus on the fact that tech is a tool to further mission not an ends of itself.
How then, does a ed tech leader lead others in a frontier land where norms have yet to be normalized, new boundaries are often illusions shattered by new horizons, and the difference between yesterday, today, and tomorrow is as stark as the difference between the iPod and the iPoo’d?
Herein I have no answers.
And perhaps that is where ed tech leadership and other leadership positions matter most — the ability to ask questions, embrace change, and be the leading learners who try new things, listen, attempt, fail, and reflect with an eye toward improvement. A leading does this in the open, as a model for others. In short, effective leadership is about transformative practice made public.
And in that way, effective tech leaders aren’t really all that different than other effective leaders. But they do have cooler toys.