Coaching & Leadership Development
The Secret to Great School Leadership: Relationships

The Secret to Great School Leadership: Relationships

There is all kinds of advice out there about what makes a good school leader, from certifications to strategies to taking the latest seminar. But what so many people miss out on is actually the most fundamental elements of good school leadership — having trusting relationships with people who back you up, both in school and out.   Endemically undersupported   If you’re like most Heads in our school system, you’re incredibly undersupported. There’s no one you can talk to who really gets your job and all the stresses that come with it, leaving you stuck with coping mechanisms and busy-ness to get you through the day — not a great set up for good leadership. When you do get the support you need through trusting relationships, everything changes. You can finally step into your vision, passion, and purpose; and you can make choices from both your head and your heart. What’s more, it’s the only way that you can truly transform a school. When you are getting the support you need, the whole climate of your school changes, becoming open, creative, and vibrant in a way that no manual or policy can create.   The eight steps to making this happen:   1. Recognise that vulnerability is courageous. In the “one mistake and you’re out” environment that education has become, it’s incredibly hard to be vulnerable! But it really is only through vulnerability that we grow as people, and it’s only when you grow that you can lead. 2. Actually follow through on that by asking for help when you need it. OK, so you’ve watched Brene Brown’s...
The Hidden Challenges of School Leadership (And How to Overcome Them)

The Hidden Challenges of School Leadership (And How to Overcome Them)

You read the books, studied the application criteria, and so impressed the interview panel with your strong responses that you’ve been appointed Head Teacher…   If you’re anything like most people, you were convinced that you’re going into this job with open eyes, prepared to face the challenges of school leadership … until you stepped foot into the school on that first day and get blindsided.   “Why didn’t anyone tell me about these hidden challenges before I took up the post?”   I hear this again and again from my clients — while they are amazingly prepared ‘on paper’ for raising and maintaining school standards, challenging under-performance, and guiding the school through its next OFSTED visit, Headship in practice is an entirely different matter.   What leadership programmes, and even other Heads won’t tell you is:   School development is intrinsically tied to emotional development — yours and that of others.   Emotional intelligence only has meaning when you’re in relationships with others, and even more so when these relationships test your emotions.   School leadership is a journey on which each and every day you have to learn how to respond consciously to the stresses of your role instead of simply reacting and putting out fires.   There are going to be times when you’ll feel like a stranger to yourself as you try to find new frames of reference for handling new circumstances, relationships, and challenges.   Admitting your own vulnerabilities when faced with the challenges of school leadership isn’t a form of weakness — it’s what will get you through.   What’s more, if you don’t...