Clay, Soldwedel and Many in Aligning School Districts as PLCs:

Loose and tight leadership is based on the premise that relying exclusively on either a tight "top-down" or a loose "bottom-up" leadership approach is not effective.  Fullan (2009) has said: "Top-down change doesn't work because it fails to garner ownership, commitment, or even clarity about the nature of the reform.  Bottom-up change -- so-called let a thousand flowers bloom -- does not produce success on any scale.  A thousands flowers do not bloom and those that do are not perennial."  The implication is that a balance between loose and tight provides an optimum leadership style.  Of course, getting that balance right is the challenge." (p. 24)
In the district I work at, I believe we value bottom-up ideas, however there's not enough time in the day (nor is it realistic) to seek input on every single decision.  I'm not naive enough to think I am a part of the ideal tight-loose leadership model in action, however I thought of a few examples that lead me to believe we're on the right track.

  • Requiring all teachers to be a part of a collaborative team
    • providing the teams with time to meet during the contract day twice per month.
    • asking teams to set a SMART goal for the year within the framework of our district and building goals
  • Requiring teams to create agendas and minutes every time they meet
    • providing teams with Google Docs so that agendas and minutes can be created on the fly, accessible to building and district administrators, rather than requiring extra paperwork to turn in.
    • providing self-paced Google Docs tutorials and help sessions.  
This is not an all-encompassing list.  I'm curious to learn from readers of this blog.  How is your building/district leadership exemplifying (or not) simultaneous loose and tight leadership?