Researchers have studied managerial derailment — or the dark side of leadership — for many years. The key derailment characteristics of bad managers are well documented and fall into three broad behavioral categories: (1) “moving away behaviors,” which create distance from others through hyper-emotionality, diminished communication, and skepticism that erodes trust; (2) “moving against behaviors,” which overpower and manipulate people while aggrandizing the self; and (3) “moving toward behaviors,” which include being ingratiating, overly conforming, and reluctant to take chances or stand up for one’s team. The popular media is full of examples of bad leaders in government, academia, and business with these characteristics.
Absentee leadership rarely comes up in today’s leadership or business literature, but research shows that it is the most common form of incompetent leadership.
Absentee leaders are people in leadership roles who are psychologically absent from them. They were promoted into management, and enjoy the privileges and rewards of a leadership role, but avoid meaningful involvement with their teams. Absentee leadership resembles the concept of rent-seeking in economics — taking value out of an organization without putting value in. As such, they represent a special case of laissez-faire leadership, but one that is distinguished by its destructiveness.
Having a boss who lets you do as you please may sound ideal, especially if you are being bullied and micromanaged by your current boss. However, a 2015 survey of 1,000 working adults showed that eight of the top nine complaints about leaders concerned behaviors that were absent; employees were most concerned about what their bosses didn’t do.
Research shows that being ignored by one’s boss is more alienating than being treated poorly. The impact of absentee leadership on job satisfaction outlasts the impact of both constructive and overtly destructive forms of leadership. Constructive leadership immediately improves job satisfaction, but the effects dwindle quickly. Destructive leadership immediately degrades job satisfaction, but the effects dissipate after about six months. In contrast, the impact of absentee leadership takes longer to appear, but it degrades subordinates’ job satisfaction for at least two years. It also is related to a number of other negative outcomes for employees, like role ambiguity, health complaints, and increased bullying from team members. Absentee leadership creates employee stress, which can lead to poor employee health outcomes and talent drain, which then impact an organization’s bottom line.
Because absentee leaders don’t actively make trouble, their negative impact on organizations can be difficult to detect, and when it is detected, it often is considered a low-priority problem. Thus, absentee leaders are often silent organization killers. Left unchecked, absentee leaders clog an organization’s succession arteries, blocking potentially more effective people from moving into important roles while adding little to productivity. Absentee leaders rarely engage in unforgivable bouts of bad behavior, and are rarely the subject of ethics investigations resulting from employee hotline calls. As a result, their negative effect on organizations accumulates over time, largely unchecked.
Constructive leadership creates high engagement and productivity, while destructive leadership kills engagement and productivity.
more on what makes “great leader” in this IMS blog
Recent research and clinical psychologists now suggest that some adolescents are engaging in a newer form of self-aggression — digital self-harm. They’re anonymously posting mean and derogatory comments about themselves on social media.
According to a survey published late last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health, teens are bullying themselves online as a way to manage feelings of sadness and self-hatred and to gain attention from their friends.
“We were alarmed to learn that 6 percent of the youth who participated in our study engaged in some form of digital self-harm,” says Sameer Hinduja, co-author of the study and a professor of criminology at Florida Atlantic University. He is also the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.
“Because teens’ online and offline worlds overlap, digital self-harm is a concern for some youth, making online self-harm an emerging area of research,” says, Susan Swearer, a professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln
Because the advent of social media has changed the way many teens form and experience relationships, normal adolescent feelings of insecurity, anxiety and loneliness can become magnified as they scroll through their peers’ social media reels. Hinduja says some teens cope with that distress by turning their angst on themselves online.
the Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education – CASTLE
If a school’s reputation and pride are built on decades or centuries of “this is how we’ve always done things here,” resistance from staff, parents, and alumni to significant changes may be fierce. In such institutions, heads of school may have to steer carefully between deeply ingrained habits and the need to modernize the information tools with which students and faculty work
Too often, when navigating faculty or parental resistance, school leaders and technology staff make reassurances that things will not have to change much in the classroom or that slow baby steps are OK. Unfortunately, this results in a different problem, which is that schools have now invested significant money, time, and energy into digital technologies but are using them sparingly and seeing little impact. In such schools, replicative uses of technology are quite common, but transformative uses that leverage the unique affordances of technology are quite rare.
many schools fail to proceed further because they don’t have a collective vision of what more transformative uses of technology might look like, nor do they have a shared understanding of and commitment to what it will take to get to such a place. As a result, faculty instruction and the learning experiences of students change little or not at all.
These schools have taken the time to involve all stakeholders—including students—in substantive conversations about what digital tools will allow them to do differently compared with previous analog practices. Their visions promote the potential of computing devices to facilitate all of those elements we now think of as essential 21st-century capacities: confidence, curiosity, enthusiasm, passion, critical thinking, problem-solving, and self-direction. Technology doesn’t simply support traditional teaching—it transforms it for deeper thinking and gives students more agency over their own learning.
Another prevalent issue preventing technology change in schools is fear—fear of change, of the unknown, of letting go of what we know best, of being learners again. But it’s also a fear of letting kids have wide access to the Internet with the possibility of cyberbullying, access to inappropriate material, and exposure to online predators or even excessive advertising. Fears, of course, need to be surfaced and addressed.
The fear drives some schools to ban cellphones, disallow students and faculty from using Facebook, and lock down Internet filters so tightly that useful websites are inaccessible. They prohibit the use of Twitter and YouTube, and they block blogs. Some educators see these types of responses as principled stands against the shortcomings and hassles of digital technologies. Others see them as rejections of the dehumanization of the education process by soulless machines. Often, however, it’s just schools clinging to the past and elevating what is comfortable or familiar over the potential of technology to help them better deliver on their school missions.
Heads of school don’t have to be skilled users themselves to be effective technology leaders, but they do have to exercise appropriate oversight and convey the message—repeatedly—that frequent, meaningful technology use in school is both important and expected. Nostalgia aside, there is no foreseeable future in which the primacy of printed text is not superseded by electronic text and multimedia. When nearly all information is digital or online, multi-modal and multimedia, accessed by mobile devices that fit in our pockets, the question should not be whether schools prepare students for a digital learning landscape, but rather how.
Many educators aren’t necessarily afraid of technology, but they are so accustomed to heavily teacher-directed classrooms that they are leery about giving up control—and can’t see the value in doing so.
Although most of us recognize that mobile computers connected to the Internet may be the most powerful learning devices yet invented—and that youth are learning in powerful ways at home with these technologies—allowing students to have greater autonomy and ownership of the learning process can still seem daunting and questionable.
The “beyond” is particularly important. When we give students some voice in and choice about what and how they learn, we honor basic human needs for autonomy, we enhance students’ interest and engagement, and we truly actualize our missions of preparing lifelong learners.
The goal of instructional transformation is to empower students, not to disempower teachers. While instructor unfamiliarity with digital technologies, inquiry- or problem-based teaching techniques, or deeper learning strategies may result in some initial discomfort, these challenges can be overcome with robust support.
A few workshops here and there rarely result in large-scale changes in implementation.
teacher-driven “unconferences” or “edcamps,” at which educators propose and facilitate discussion topics, can be powerful mechanisms for fostering professional dialogue and learning. Similarly, some schools offer voluntary “Tech Tuesdays” or “appy hours” to foster digital learning among interested faculty.
In addition to existing IT support, technology integration staff, or librarians/media specialists, some schools have student technology teams that are on call for assistance when needed.
A few middle schools and high schools go even further and assign teachers their own individual student technology mentors. These student-teacher pairings last all school year and comprise the first line of support for educators’ technology questions.
As teachers, heads of school, counselors, coaches, and librarians, we all now have the ability to participate in ongoing, virtual, global communities of practice.
Whether formal or informal, the focus of technology-related professional learning should be on student learning, not on the tools or devices. Independent school educators should always ask, “Technology for the purpose of what?” when considering the inclusion of digital technologies into learning activities. Technology never should be implemented just for technology’s sake.
Common Sense Media recently partnered with the Center for Humane Technology, which supports the development of ethical technological tools, to lay out a fierce call for regulation and awareness about the health issues surrounding tech addiction.
To support educators making such decisions, Common Sense Media is taking their “Truth about Tech” campaign to schools through an upgraded version of their current Digital Citizenship curriculum. The new updates will include more information on subjects such as:
Creating a healthy media balance and digital wellness;
Concerns about the rise of hate speech in schools, that go beyond talking about cyberbullying; and
Fake news, media literacy and curating your own content
What Does ‘Tech Addiction’ Mean?
In a recent NPR report, writer Anya Kamenetz, notes that clinicians are debating whether technology overuse is best categorized as a bad habit, a symptom of other mental struggles (such as depression or anxiety) or as an addiction.
Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the American Academy of Pediatrics, notes that though she’s seen solid evidence linking heavy media usage to problems with sleep and obesity, she hesitated to call the usage “addiction.”
Dr. Robert Lustig, an endocrinologist who studies hormones at the University of Southern California disagreed, noting that parents have to see the overuse of technology as an addiction.
3. Use parental controls. Check the safety controls on all of the Android and Apple devices that your family uses. On the iPhone, you can tap SETTINGS > GENERAL> RESTRICTIONS and you can create a password that allows you enable/disable apps and phone functions. On Android devices, you can turn on Google Play Parental Controls by going into the Google Play Store settings
4. Friend and follow your children on social media. Whether it’s musical.ly, Instagram or Twitter, chances are that your children use some form of social media. If you have not already, then create an account and get on their friends list.
5. Explore, share and celebrate.
6. Be a good digital role model.
7. Set ground rules and apply sanctions. Just like chore charts or family job lists, consider using a family social media or internet safety contract. These contracts establish ground rules for when devices are to be used; what they should and should not be doing on them; and to establish sanctions based on breaches of the family contract. A simple internet search for “family internet contract” or “family technology contract” will produce a wealth of available ideas and resources to help you implement rules and sanctions revolving around your family’s technology use. A good example of a social media contract for children can be found at imom.com/printable/social-media-contract-for-kids/.
Managing Your Digital Footprint
Your digital footprint, according to dictionary.com, is “one’s unique set of digital activities, actions, and communications that leave a data trace on the internet or on a computer or other digital device and can identify the particular user or device.” Digital footprints can be either passive or active. The passive digital footprint is created without your consent and is driven by the sites and apps that you visit. The data from a passive digital footprint could reveal one’s internet history, IP address, location and is all stored in files on your device without you knowing it. An active digital footprint is more easily managed by the user. Data from an active digital footprint shows social media postings, information sharing, online purchases and activity usage.
Search for yourself online
Check privacy settings.
Use strong passwords
Maintain your device.
Think before you post
Keep These Apps on Your Radar
Afterschool (minimum age 17) – The Afterschool App was rejected twice from the major app stores due to complaints from parents and educators. It is a well-known app that promotes cyberbullying, sexting, pornography and is filled with references to drugs and alcohol.
Blue Whale (minimum age 10) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. It is a suicide challenge app that attempts to prod children into killing themselves.
BurnBook (minimum age 18) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. It is a completely anonymous app for posting text, photos, and audio that promote rumors about other people. It is a notorious for cyberbullying
Calculator% (minimum age 4) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. This is one of hundreds of “secret” calculator apps. This app is designed to help students hide photos and videos that they do not want their parents to see. This app looks and functions like a calculator, but students enter a “.”, a 4-digit passcode, and then a “.” again.
KIK (minimum age 17) – This is a communications app that allows anyone to be contacted by anyone and it 100 percent bypasses the device’s contacts list.
Yik Yak (minimum age 18) – This app is a location-based (most commonly schools) bulletin board app. It works anonymously with anyone pretending to be anyone they want. Many schools across the country have encountered cyberbullying and cyberthreats originating from this app.
StreetChat (minimum age 14) – StreetChat is a photo-sharing board for middle school, high school and college-age students. Members do not need to be a student in the actual school and can impersonate students in schools across the country. It promotes cyberbullying through anonymous posts and private messaging.
ooVoo (minimum age 13) – IF YOU FIND THIS APP ON YOUR CHILD’S DEVICE, DELETE IT. ooVoo is one of the largest video and messages app. Parents should be aware that ooVoo is used by predators to contact underage children. The app can allow users to video chat with up to twelve people at one time.
Wishbone (girls) & Slingshot (boys) (minimum age 13) – Both are comparison apps that allow users to create polls, including ones that are not appropriate for children. Many of the users create polls to shame and cyberbully other children, plus there are inappropriate apps and videos that users are forced to watch via the app’s advertising engine.
Texas Teen May Be Victim in ‘Blue Whale Challenge’ That Encourages Suicide
Isaiah Gonzalez, 15, found hanging from his closet after an apparent suicide, as allegedly instructed by macabre online game
Nationally, the Associated Press reports that educators, law enforcement officers and parents have raised concerns about the challenge, though these two back-to-back deaths mark the first allegations in the United States about deaths directly linked to the online game. Internationally, suicides in Russia, Brazil, and half a dozen other countries have already been linked to the challenge.
The top ten priorities for strong and effective social media policies should be:
explaining the risks that can arise through the use of social media and the reasons why having a policy is necessary;
clarifying the permitted uses of social media during work hours and/or using the employer’s resources. This will include when employees are allowed to access social media at work (if at all), when such access is permitted – for example, during an employee’s lunch hour or while the employee is on a break, or at any time – and what will be considered to be excessive use;
confirming that the policy applies in respect of social media use by an employee outside of work hours where that use impacts on the employer or the workplace, including by an employee publishing comments which are referable (whether directly or indirectly) to the employer, its products, other employees, customers, partners, suppliers or competitors;
clarifying prohibited uses of social media, such as an employee engaging in online conduct which may constitute unlawful discrimination, defamation, bullying or harassment. There needs to be careful consideration of how this part of the policy links to an employer’s other existing policies covering those issues. Consideration can also be given to requiring employees to inform their employer when they become aware of any potential breach of the policy by another employee – unlike in other jurisdictions, this concept of “dobbing in” a colleague can be difficult to promote in Australian workplaces;
confirming that social media use must be consistent with an employee’s obligations to comply with all applicable laws, including to not make any comment that may be misleading or deceptive in trade or commerce (in breach of Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth)), and to not disclose any market sensitive information prior to disclosure by the employer (in breach of insider trading laws);
reminding employees of their obligations in respect of the employer’s confidential information and intellectual property, and privacy, copyright and plagiarism issues more generally;
where an employee is subject to a workplace investigation, in addition to requiring an employee to generally assist with that investigation, specifically directing an employee to preserve and not delete relevant social media content, and to provide their employer with reasonable access to that content for the purposes of the investigation;
specifically providing the employer the ability to direct an employee to remove or delete prohibited content;
expressly stating that breach of the policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment; and
directing an employee on how they can notify their online connections of their departure from their employer and their acceptance of a new role, and confirming that the inappropriate use of those social media connections can constitute a breach of any post-termination restrictions on soliciting clients.
Need Sample Social Media Policies? Here Are 7 to Inspire Yours
From MyFunCity to government-structured approach to “digital citizenship,” this is recent trend, which is seriously considered by educators as a must in the curricula. While habitually connected with technology classes, it is a much larger issue, which requires faculty attention across disciplines; it encompass digital and technology literacy, netiquette and online behavior (cyberbulling most frequently addressed), as well qualities and skills to be a functional and mindful citizen of a global world.
here is some general literature on digital citizenship:
Lenhart, A., Madden, M., Smith, A., Purcell, K., Zickuhr, K., Rainie, L., & Pew Internet & American Life, P. (2011). Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American Teens Navigate the New World of “Digital Citizenship”. Pew Internet & American Life Project, http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED537516
“According to research by Sumpto…as much as 77 percent of college students use Snapchat every day.
37 percent of the study respondents cited “creativity” as their main use of the app. “Keeping in touch” and “easier than texting” were reasons for 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively.”
Reasons young adults ages 18-26 use snapchat:
“I like sharing weird things I see when I’m out…When you get ugly selfies from someone, that’s how you know you’re good friends.”
“I only ever use it for funny pictures or to show what I’m doing to my friends, but I have people that use it as a replacement for texting.”
“Snapchat is the ultimate social media tool — users want to share their lives to anyone they choose to elicit possible feedback, but without the necessity of it being stored…Snapchat provides an easier answer to Facebook’s ‘What are you doing right now?’ I use it personally to stay in touch with friends and show people what I’m doing.”
Colleges are also starting to get on the bandwagon — Snapchat launched Our Campus Story in October 2014 to four schools.