Leaning into my values: a self-study

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Fraser, Fiona M.
The educational context is undergoing significant transformation and educational leaders are tasked with complex decision making. It is increasingly being recognized that educational leaders can benefit from engaging in reflective inquiry to enhance their capacity for adaptive expertise (Donohoe, 2019; Kaser & Halbert, 2009). This self-study explored the alignment of my leadership actions and my values, as well as the impact of my mindset on my leadership actions. A mixed methods approach included two rounds of data collection consisting of daily self-surveys and weekly reflective journaling. The findings indicated that my leadership actions are in alignment with my core values and identified the triggers for my fixed mindset. Five trends were identified: (1) I regularly enhanced connections with colleagues and students by amplifying the success of others and extending kindness through my actions. (2) I demonstrated deep and authentic listening, which relates to the necessity to listen to myself and to others. (3) I noticed the role that fear plays in limiting my leadership actions, especially in relation to situations where I felt less confident. (4) I recognized the need to be mindful of my own physical and mental wellbeing as being foundational to my effectiveness as an educational leader. (5) Finally, I accepted the need to recognize and acknowledge my ability to serve others in complex situations. The findings of this self-study were used to create action steps and reframing strategies to support my developing leadership identity. The identified strategies were based on personal goals, yet could be beneficial to other educators who wish to critically reflect on their practice and develop strategies to reframe their thinking and actions. Self-study provided the opportunity to explore my identity as a leader in relation to my leadership practice and my conclusions from this study provide insights about the reflective process of self-study.
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