#TESOL2018 Presentation – After the Restructure: Leadership Skills for Survivors

This year at #TESOL18, I will be co-presenting a practice-oriented session for IEP administrators leading change. Joining me is Britt Johnson from the University of Oregon’s American English Institute.

Early risers can join us Wednesday, March 28, 2018 from 7:00 AM to 7:45 AM in room N227a (McCormick Place, Lakeside Center)


Increasingly, program administrators must embrace change leadership when faced with abrupt industry transition. Borrowing from the fields of organizational management and positive organizational behavior, this presentation situates the challenges and opportunities leaders confront, from downsizing organizations to restructuring workload. Discussion includes practical strategies to prepare for transition and rebuild teams.


Language program administrators (LPAs) are facing unprecedented changes in the ESL industry, forcing them to adjust leadership styles and build new strategies. While leadership through a reorganization may be new territory for LPAs, it is a recurrent theme in the corporate world. Even then, the existing literature on managing organizational transition highlights the fact that leaders often lack employer support and adequate training to build resiliency in themselves and their teams after a reorganization (Mayton, 2011). That said, situating the workgroup dynamics at play alongside existing theoretical frameworks can help leaders understand their own thought processes and their teams’ observable behavior, as well as identify and employ strategies to build resiliency and cultivate thriving.

Using two case studies from IEP administrators who recently led their teams through significant reorganization, the presenters focus on specific strategies leaders can use to prepare teams for transition as well as those strategies which are crucial to support employee resiliency, individual thriving, and organizational recovery.

Specifically, this presentation borrows from the literature on resiliency and positive organizational behavior. The former highlights the fact that the organizations are emotional systems in balance, and that disruptions affect the entire system resulting in a strain, reaction, and coping cycle. This cycle occurs at both the personal and organizational levels, and, even though highly contextualized, can be moderated with control-oriented strategies, for example a focus on self-mastery, cautious loyalty, and an increase in management communication. Positive organizational behavior draws on shared knowledge, positive meaning, positive affective resources, and high-quality relational resources as elements that can repair trust and engender respect (Spreitzer et al., 2005). Through an applied framework, attendees will learn how to facilitate these key components through co-creation along with their leaders.