Re-imagining Leadership: the state of education will advance only when we redefine what leadership means – Jamaica

Canute Thompson believes that the state of education will advance only when we redefine what leadership means – Leadership Re-Imagination, he calls it. Thompson hopes to establish a Caribbean Center for Leadership Re-Imagination and Governance at the University of the West Indies, and we recently asked him to explain the concept.

What exactly is Leadership Re-Imagination?

Leadership Re-Imagination is a discipline in alternative thinking. In this mode of thinking, the leader in affirming the existence of (and the capacity to create or facilitate the creation of) multiple ideas and intelligences, may respect, but is always prepared to critique the status quo. This critique is predicated on the belief that the organization or community can, through collective effort, arrive at a better place.

How does it work?

The critique is not only descriptive but solutions-oriented, and the responsibility of leadership is to draw on the multiplicity of ideas in order to solve the problems of the organization.   Re-Imaginative thinking contains a default setting that communicates that even previously imaginative ideas need to be revisited and critiqued so that the organization may create solutions that are appropriate for its current and future contexts.

What kind of leader will engage in Leadership Re-Imagination?

These leaders are committed to the conduct of servant-leadership In embracing servant-hood as the avenue through which leadership is most effectively expressed, the servant-leader embraces and gives expression to a number of core values, chief of which are: the facilitation of the creativity of others, mutual accountability, equity, ethics, power-sharing, collaboration, respect, justice, authenticity, integrity, self-transcendence, and a focus what he or she leaves, rather than what he or she receives.

What has changed in your area of influence as a result of your efforts?

The implementation of new communication practices, and the establishment of new leadership standards.

How can other educators implement what you’ve learned?

Read extensively on leadership theory and practice experience, and exercise the courage to implement radical measures.

What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome to ensure students are receiving a quality education?

Inadequate resources to support teaching and learning and, as a consequence, the fact that students are not adequately prepared to function in contemporary society.

What is your country/region doing right to support education?

Building partnerships, setting new standards for teaching, and establishing accountability systems.

What conditions must change in your country/region to better support education?

Weak parental support, social inequities and weak accountability systems all must change.

What is the best opportunity for innovation in education?

The use of open educational resources and Internet in the classroom.

What advice would you give a new teacher (or to anyone wanting to make a difference in education)?

Deepen your competencies in multiple modes of delivery.


About Canute S. Thompson

Canute Thompson is a leadership coach and management consultant specializing in leadership development and organizational transformation.  He has worked in several organizations in the public and private sector. He currently serves as an advisor to a number of publicly owned tertiary institutions as well as adjunct faculty at the University of the West Indies.  Thompson is currently working on his second book, an expansion on his earlier work, Towards Solutions: Fundamentals of Transformational Leadership in a Postmodern Era (2009).

Birthplace: Jamaica
Current residence: Jamaica
Education: B.A. in Theology and Social Science; Postgraduate Degree in Management Studies, M.A. in Ethics; Ph.D. in Education
Website I check every day: Harvard Business Review
Person who inspires me most: Nelson Mandela
Favorite childhood memory: Cricket games in which I did well
Next travel destination: China
Favorite book: The Road Less Travelled by Dr. M. Scott Peck
Favorite music: Charlie Pride’s and Kenny Rogers’ Country and Western

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One Response to Re-imagining Leadership: the state of education will advance only when we redefine what leadership means – Jamaica

  1. Alethia Williams says:

    interesting I am currently doing some more reading on it

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