Earlier this year I was asked to contribute my thoughts on what advice I would give a school leader by @JoyceMatthews_ whose e-book can be found here http://www.unschoolleaders.co.uk
“You and the land are one.” Perceval, Excalibur
It seems obvious, but it’s the holy grail of school culture. As a leader you determine the culture of your school. This isn’t about your policies or how well you can chair a meeting, it’s not about the number of power words in your mission statement; it is about who you are. As a school leader you are a role model for others. Everything you say and do is a lot more powerful than the piles of paperwork you produce. All those policies and administration tasks are important, but they are management tasks. Being a leader is about your vision and your personal impact on others.
If you make your focus putting the children first and have high expectations that is what your staff will see as important in your school. If you show that Ofsted, paperwork, petty politics or currying favour is your main priority by the way you behave it will become the main priority of others too. Think hard about your ideal school, what qualities would a leader in that school display? Then ask yourself the difficult question, do I have these qualities?
My belief is that a leader needs to have integrity, know what the main thing is and make sure it stays the main thing even in challenging times. A leader needs to be people focused, everyone in your organization is important no matter what their role, they need to feel valued, appreciated and inspired to do their best. A leader needs to be able to be wrong, show adaptability and flexibility; learn from your failures and share your challenges. This shows that your staff needn’t fear a witch hunt in a crisis, but will be expected to learn, adapt and grow. The last one may be difficult if you’re perfect.
That however is just my opinion, you need to decide the type of leader you want to be and try to be it every day. Your actions and attitudes impact on the lives of others; choose them carefully because once you’re in charge you are the school culture. You and the land are one.
Barry Dunn – @SeahamRE