The concept of leading from the middle appeals to me as this moves away from a leaders and followers mentality. Instead it is all about enlisting and engaging the support of my colleagues as we work towards the common goal of enhancing student outcomes. Haycock (2010) describes this type of leadership as group activity based on social influence. As TL I am positioned both physically and conceptually at the hub of the school and I can clearly see how the relationships I am building put me in a potentially influential position. Because my time, expertise and the physical space and resources which I manage are shared by all I am uniquely placed to be a leader in terms of instruction, collaboration, curriculum, technology and the use of information. I can model and encourage the characteristics of a lifelong learner to the entire school community over a long period of time. As TL I interact with students and all teachers regularly for as long as they are part of the school. I am not constrained by just teaching those students or working with those teachers for one year blocks.
Like any other form of leadership to effective lead from the middle requires specific competencies (Haycock, 2010). These involve an understanding of the context from which one is operating, the ability to communicate a vision and exemplary interpersonal skills and character traits. Haycock encourages TL’s to develop and demonstrate our competencies in collaboration and inquiry and influence others to develop their own strengths. I see that with this approach the TL could play the role of orchestrating team members individual strengths to powerfully improve student learning.
Haycock, K. (2010). Leadership from the Middle: Building Influence for Change. In Coatney,S. (Ed.), The many faces of school library leadership.(pp.1-12) Santa Barbara, Calif.: Libraries Unlimited.