Coaching & Leadership Development
Why Heads Need to Learn to Share

Why Heads Need to Learn to Share

    A while back, I attended a well-being conference for school leaders. An OFSTED inspector was one of the guest speakers. As the school leaders who were present aired their feelings about OFSTED and whether it was really fit for purpose, this inspector’s demeanour changed.   Initially, he confidently told the audience what he believed they should be thinking and feeling about OFSTED. But he became nervous and agitated when the audience asked him to listen to their actual thoughts and feelings.   It seemed that he was uncomfortable with the level of emotion in the room, and to have acknowledged that depth of feeling would have left him exposed and vulnerable. It is my belief that if he had dropped his guard – if only for a moment – he would have shown a more human side to OFSTED, which is what the delegates were desperate to see. Like all of us, they just wanted to be listened to.   The consequences of emotional insensitivity   When our emotional needs are not met, just as in the scenario above, we feel dehumanised and alone. We feel as though out humanity has been pushed to one side. The ability to feel, laugh, to cry to hurt can all be seen as a hinderance to one’s ability to lead effectively.   Sadly, for many Heads, spaces where they can feel, laugh, and cry are few and far between. As a result, many lead from a place of inner dissonance. Their basic emotional needs to feel accepted, appreciated, believed in, respected, listened to, valued and supported are ignored. Many suffer...
The 3 Disciplines of Great School Leaders

The 3 Disciplines of Great School Leaders

  Our schools will always need great leaders. Individuals who possess deep levels of courage, tenacity and integrity and are willing to take on the often very heavy mantle of school leadership.   With a continuing decline in the number of teachers putting themselves forward for leadership roles, we need to take a long hard look at what can be done to maintain the commitment of those who have taken a step up the ladder.   Strategies need to be considered that address the person within the role and “evoke the inner life of activities that cultivate their capacity to lead with greater consciousness, self-awareness and integrity” (Parker J Palmer)   When such strategies are in place, an individuals’ capacity for being ‘great’ is increased are they are able to maintain an upward trajectory towards self-actualisation. This trajectory is maintained through the development of three key disciplines that are integral to the way in which they lead themselves and others.   Discipline 1: They ask questions of themselves   Great school leaders know that it is not enough to ask questions of others in their endeavour to create good and outstanding schools. They know that they must also ask questions of themselves. The questions that they know others would not dare to ask of them, but nevertheless they know that they must dare to ask of themselves.   They know they must ask questions about their hidden fears, their limitations, their biases and their emotional responses to the challenges of the role. They face up to asking these questions because they know that in doing so, they will find...
3 Reasons Why School Leadership Teams Fail

3 Reasons Why School Leadership Teams Fail

  All leaders play a central role in developing strategies for bringing out the best in others. How they lead and manage has a direct impact on whether the climate they create is one in which all individuals are able to flourish.   As a Headteacher, you will know the benefits of having a strong SLT. When you have a strong SLT, magic just seems to happen. Things get done, problems are surmounted, because collaboration, mutual respect, openness and understanding means individuals work to the best of their abilities to achieve the best possible outcomes for everyone.   However, sadly there are occasionally things that get in the way of teams performing at their best. Three of the most common relate to the lack of clarity individuals have about;   1. The SLT Vision and purpose 2. Their Role 3. How to maintain successful working relationships   1. Lack of Clarity about the SLT Vision and Purpose   To achieve success, an SLT needs to know its role and purpose in achieving the school’s overall vision.  All SLT members need to have laser-like clarity about the function of the SLT and the role they play as individuals and as a team in steering the ship towards its end goal.   All members need to have a shared understanding of the teams:   – Values – what the SLT stands for and what behaviours will keep them in alignment with their values – Direction – where it’s going – Purpose – why it’s going there – Approach – how this purpose can and should be reached   SLT’s are more likely to be...