If you are new to a senior leadership position in a school, either from an expected promotion or unexpectedly due to resignations, what is expected of you?
School improvement planning straight out of the window?
The first thing to do is be clear in your own mind that being a leader is not something you do in isolation. So before you think about reimagining the vision you set for the school gather your team.
Leadership and Management are different but rely on each other.
Perhaps as an NQT you remember those dictator style headteachers?
Leadership is about setting a direction, a vision of the future (maybe only as far as next week in the current COVID climate) along with strategies for change to produce that vision.
Management involves planning and budgeting, organising staff, solving problems and providing control to deliver the vision. This is where the support of a great school business manager helps.
Management produces the capacity to achieve and leadership the context in which to work. At the moment, with teachers at the highest risk of burnout and breakdowns, giving them this context is like giving them a gift of Gold.
So, do not try to act on your own. Both the leadership and management of the school needs to be connected, as do all of the staff, governors and other stakeholders in your setting who are trying to deliver the vision and the day to day solutions. If you are not all in agreement about where you are going and why the delivery will be difficult and ineffective.
Who do heads outrank is the question of the moment in 2021.
Leaders are not born. They learn the skills, hone and practice them to be more effective. Managers are similarly skilled in some areas, less so in others. No one person does everything better than the team together. It’s critical you are the glue to this team today.
One final gift you as a leader need to consider today, how to make the job of your school staff safer, easier, less work heavy. Listening is a key leadership skill so tune in to what your staff are telling you today.