Why are all five components of leadership necessary for success in leading through change?

The five components of leadership are moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, knowledge creation and sharing, and coherence making (Fullan, 2001). These components are necessary for success in leading through change because each component supports the others. I believe that moral purpose is important in order to have positive workplace. Anyone who has worked in a negative or unsupportive workplace has experienced the emotional and physical drain it has on him or her. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as an administrative assistant for both large corporations and small businesses. There was a company in particular where it was extremely negative. Fortunately, the school that I currently work at has been a very positive experience for me. I think a positive school climate is extremely important because it impacts so many people. It’s not just teachers that are affected by the positivity or negativity. It affects students, support staff, parents, and administrators. In an article about the importance of creating a positive school culture, Habegger (2008) writes, “A positive school culture is the underlying reason why the other components of successful schools were able to flourish.” This makes me think of something one of my teachers used to say to our class, “A positive attitude can make what seems impossible possible.”

Of course, it is hard for people to embrace or even be willing try change that they don’t understand. I know that many teachers in my school are having a hard time understanding all the requirements of our new evaluation measures. In my experience, the most important component in leadership is relationship building. When people do not trust others, they will not be open to change. I feel that communication is an important component of relationship building. I read that “ineffective communication, including individuals’ inability or unwillingness to listen to what others have to say, is a sure way to confound problem solving, reduce trust, and magnify feelings of isolation among administrators, teachers, and support personnel” (Brewster & Railsback, 2003). Communication also ties into knowledge creation and sharing and coherence making.

Technology is always changing and that change is met with resistance by some and excitement by others. I have talked to teachers who flat out refuse to use any technology and the main reason I hear is that they don’t understand it and feel that they cannot learn how to use it. Change is scary and hard. Not everyone looks at technology as something thrilling and new. It can also be challenging for people who are enthusiastic about the change to always have to listen to and try to teach their unwilling colleagues. I think it helps to get the naysayers involved from the start. “For organization wide change to occur, the late majority and laggards (I prefer to call them reluctant adopters) must be actively involved in the change. We cannot leave it to the innovators and early adopters” (West, 2015). It is definitely a process and it will take time, but the time will have a huge payoff when change suggested by leaders is supported and successful.


Brewster, C., & Railsback, J. (2003, September). Building Trusting Relationships For School Improvement: Implications for Principals and Teachers. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory: http://educationnorthwest.org/sites/default/files/trust.pdf

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a Culture of Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Habegger, S. (2008, Sept/Oct). The Principal’s Role in Successful Schools: Creating a Positive School Culture. Retrieved October 14, 2015, from National Association of Elementary School Principals: https://www.naesp.org/resources/1/Principal/2008/S-O_p42.pdf

West, P. (2015, July 14). How do you get tech-resistant teachers to embrace change? Retrieved October 15, 2015, from eSchool News: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/07/14/embrace-change-792/2/


3 thoughts on “Why are all five components of leadership necessary for success in leading through change?

  1. I appreciate your honesty in sharing that teachers are very reluctant to change; I always find that so ironic because I believe teachers have an incredible role in shaping how students will learn and apply what they learn – knowledge creation and sharing as well as coherence making and application. Yes, teachers have an incredibly difficult challenge of working with little time and resources and increasingly diverse classrooms; but I hope teachers would embrace their roles as leaders in the classroom and their schools and be brave in trying new tools, methods, and ideas. After all, isn’t that what we ask students to do every single day of the school year? If we can’t model some of the courage in learning, that we expect from students, it seems we could take some time to reflect on our own motivations or moral purpose and challenge ourselves to assess whether we are upholding our responsibility to achieve that purpose.


    1. I completely agree with you. I think it depends on how much change is thrown at them at the same time. This year the first grade is being targeted in reading, so the district wanted us to start walk to read. They also started new teacher evaluations and SLO’s. I can see why some of our teacher’s are not jumping at the chance to embrace change. It’s easier if it is something you are interested in and have the time to explore at your own pace. I think you make a valid and important observation that we ask students to be brave in trying new things and as teachers, we need to do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely agree, a positive environment at the work place makes a huge difference. We have some teachers who are conflicting with administration and it is a very difficult thing to see. It makes it hard when the trust isn’t there. Those relationships are key to creating that positive environment. Without it things can fall apart very quickly. If you are not careful you can get pulled into the arguments where people are trying to get you onto their “side.” I try to keep it positive and will listen. Giving positive suggestions can turn the conversation around sometimes. I will listen, but I try not to get drawn into the drama.

    Liked by 1 person

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