Coaching & Leadership Development
The 5 Qualities of Successful Senior Leadership Teams

The 5 Qualities of Successful Senior Leadership Teams

  “Nothing Great was ever achieved alone!” Dennis Griffin   Senior leadership teams are central to the success of every school. No matter the size, no matter the make-up of the team; it is imperative that every team member not only buys into the school vision, but in addition actively works with others to enable the vision to be fulfilled.   Creating a climate in which this is achieved isn’t always easy.  Quite simply because,   “Organisations are more complex because they are made up of people who come with a range of attitudes and motivations, personal goals and ways of interacting with each other.”  Louise Stoll, Professor of Education at Bath University   Yet, despite the truth of Stoll’s  statement SLT’s have to find ways to overcome the complexity of differing attitudes, motivations and goals, so that their energies are consistently centred on working together for the common good.   From my own experience working with SLT’s those that are most effective in achieving the above, share these five qualities…   1) Shared purpose   These teams successfully lay aside ego. No team member elevates themselves above another. They are aware of one another’s strengths and areas for development and work successfully with both. The vision is important to all of them, not just the Head. They understand the role that they each play individually and collectively in seeing the vision fulfilled. As a result, a shared understanding of their ‘Why’ means that when challenges arise, they never lose their way.   Their shared sense of purpose ensures that the right decisions are made for the right reasons....
The NEU offer Headteachers Free Coaching Support

The NEU offer Headteachers Free Coaching Support

  It’s almost thirty years ago, when as a newly qualified teacher, I signed up to become a member of the NUT. Like many new teaching recruits, I signed up because I believed in the union’s values of equality, fairness and social justice.   These very same values are held by many Heads who still hold NUT (now NEU) membership. Yet we know with the deluge of change that has occurred over the past decade, many Heads now find themsleves struggling to hold onto their values and headship has subsequently become an increasingly difficult and lonesome task.   For many a Head, greater autonomy in decision making has led to increased levels of personal accountability and public scrutiny. A situation that has been compounded by the diminished capacity of LA’s, to offer care and support for school leaders.   As a result, there has been a marked demise in the care, trust and integrity with which Head teachers are treated.   Heads need Proper support   As the attrition rate for Head teachers leaving the profession continues to rise, it is clearly evident that new approaches need to be adopted for enabling Head teachers to rise above the challenges of their roles and maintain their ability to lead and inspire others.   It is our belief, that if things remain as they are, a passion for excellence, rigour and high standards will increasingly be seen as being mutually exclusive to compassion, humanity and hope. We do not believe that these values are distinct and separate from one another, but rather mutually supportive and symbiotic. Making the leadership load lighter to carry...
How the NEU are helping to transform School Leadership

How the NEU are helping to transform School Leadership

  There can be no doubt that many Head teachers lead their Learning communities with integrity, care, compassion and high expectations.   This is evident on an hourly basis in any school and education setting daily. Whilst expectations of our Head teachers, from Government departments are growing exponentially, the care, support and integrity with which Head teachers are often treated is sadly lacking.   Head teachers daily model compassion and concern for others. They deliver high degrees of challenge and expectation and achieve results based on the trust which they inspire in others. Yet there has been a stark contrast between the professional tone setting at school level with the rhetoric of education policy makers.   The tone has become increasingly autocratic and divisive. As such, there is now a desperate need to for a more compassionate approach to strategies for supporting the recruitment and retention of our Head teachers. Corporate executives have space for “lessons learned” and continuous improvement between projects. Head teachers need something similar.   To understand what this should look like, first we need to consider the support needs of Head teachers that the system is currently overlooking.   Developing an accurate understanding of the support needs of Head Teachers   Whether Heads are new in post or are well established and long serving, too often the predominate type of support that they receive is that which is concerned with meeting the strategic and operational aspects of the role. Their emotional needs are often neglected, and this is where support fails, because there are no clear systems and structures through which this can be achieved....

The Challenge & Promise of Authentic School Leadership

Recently, I’ve been considering one question that I believe is very important to our education system today… What does it mean to be an authentic school leader? My reflections on this question brought me to the work of author and authenticity expert, Brené Brown. Brown defines authenticity as “the choice to show up and be real, to be honest and let our true selves be seen”. Yet as many school leaders often find, and Brown points out, being authentic isn’t easy. It involves “choosing being real over being liked” and putting your True Self out to the world. Which can be both uncomfortable and at times incredibly daunting. However, whilst there is a risk, there’s also a lot to gain. Brown explains that this authenticity is also crucial for building trust, believing in oneself, facilitating better communication and cultivating genuine human connection. Features which, I believe are vital in our schools as we seek to nurture within our children a healthy sense of what it means to be human. But what does an Authentic School Leader look like, what qualities would you expect to see? Well I believe the core qualities that you will often find in an Authentic School Leader… 1. They are deeply connected to their passion and purpose   Authentic school leaders know themselves, what they stand for, what they want to achieve, and why they have chosen to take on the mantle of school leadership. They are deeply connected to their passion and purpose and this drives them every day. As a result, they are better able to articulate their school’s vision and staff are more able to...
The 3 Common Mistakes that School Leaders Make

The 3 Common Mistakes that School Leaders Make

  When you become a school leader, getting to grips with everything that the role is really asking of you can be hard work.   The psychological adjustments that need to be made in order for you to fully accept and succeed at what the role is asking of you can be akin to learning to walk again.   Just as, when you were a child learning to walk, you had to be supported by your loved ones to move from a place of unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence [Maslow’s Four Stages of Learning], as a school leader you have to be supported to move to this confident place of being too.   However, many school leaders are unaware of this fact and because of this, mistakes can be made which jeopardise the fulfilment of their vision.   In particular, there are three mistakes that school leaders commonly make which could be easily avoided….   Mistake # 1: Not asking for personal support   Without support, the experience for a school leader who is growing into their role is both lonely and limiting. Progress is slow and in extreme cases stunted; neither the individual nor those they lead are able to reach the level of maturity necessary for sustained personal effectiveness.   Every school leader’s journey begins, no matter how well concealed, at the point of unconscious incompetence and it is only with time, patience, understanding and a space that facilitates personal growth, that an individual can reach the point of unconscious competence.   To avoid this mistake find seek out help that supports both your personal and professional growth.   Mistake # 2: Not recognising that...