Changes in educational leadership, an effect of the pandemic

Educational leaders in this post-pandemic context require substantial development in their exercise of human rather than technical leadership. The responsible call from the mission they exercise must go through true values ​​of the essence of leadership, such as self-knowledge, ingenuity, love and heroism.

In recent months, in which we have lived the reality of the pandemic with its significant impacts, mostly painful —in all dimensions of the human, social and institutional context—, in some way we have felt called to ask ourselves transcendent questions facing the way of understanding life and assuming the responsibilities that concern the commitment and leadership that we exercise in the scenarios in which we move daily. There have been countless challenges that we have faced in order to respond adequately to the challenges and needs that this situation has left us, amidst the uncertainty.

From the education sector we are not strangers to this scenario. We are faced with a reality that requires us all, but particularly those who have the responsibility of the leadership of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), to find the appropriate, precise, visionary, concrete and adaptive management to the challenges in the search for a new post-pandemic educational model. The abrupt dislocation experienced by the educational sector in general, and higher education in particular, has led to a resizing, for example, the role of the teacher in the teaching-learning process under the alternation model, the continuity in the development of functions substantive, the work at home of the academic and administrative management collaborators with the support of technological resources, the behavior of the students in their learning process and its results, as well as the productivity of the academic processes, etc. All this has meant changes in the way of acting and requires other forms of innovative and creative leadership. A good HEI leader will see in this context the opportunity for self-calibration and how it has organizational implications.

In an environment of educational complexity, today more than ever changing, it is necessary that educational leadership, call themselves rectors or other members of the government of HEIs, as wise architects in the design of their works, appreciate from the being and doing; that is, from their mental attitude and from their daily behaviors, which requires leading in a modern and complex environment: the ability to innovate, be flexible and adaptable, set ambitious goals, think globally with a local perspective, act quickly and take risks , among others.

Life is full of multiple opportunities to exercise that leadership capacity that we all carry within, as a potential to develop not only in a specific work setting such as HEIs, but in everything we do during the day, already be it in the formative action of the family, in the same work context or when we learn from others. In this sense, the constant evaluation criteria of this exercise of the educational leader will be their own way of behaving and how they are exercised in team orientation.

Educational leaders in this post-pandemic context require substantial development in their exercise of human rather than technical leadership. The responsible call from the mission they exercise must go through true values ​​of the essence of leadership, such as self-knowledge, ingenuity, love and heroism. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, values ​​and having a vision of the world that surrounds us makes possible innovation and adaptation to a changing world, maintaining a positive attitude towards people, secure empathy and constant understanding of realities of their lives make it possible for the strengthening of these and of himself allows us to assume bold and memorable attitudes. What it is about is to express and promote, as educational leaders, safe behavior despite the changes in reality or in the world that occur over time. In the same way, the specific task is to help chart the course, to expose a vision of the future, sometimes distant and uncertain, and to design and execute the strategies of change to materialize the vision and, at the same time, to align the teams of work whose collaboration and cooperation are needed today more than ever, through assertive verbal communication and facts, so that the coalition that helps the validity of the strategies and of the same vision is achieved. In other words, educational leadership will determine the strategic course and demand clarity to find the right path, with the conviction that the path is there, overcoming any obstacle to achieve in this case the goal of educating for a world that challenges us. today and always.

* General Rector of Uniminuto

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