Today, I am speaking at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow. I have been reflecting on leadership, and what makes an effective teacher-leader. In a word of never ending deadlines and a race to the bottom of exhaustion, how do we foster our own resilience, and the resilience of our learners?

Clarity is key. Being clear about what you are trying to achieve as a leader – the how, why and what questions is important. Yet, in a world of competing resources; priorities; and diminishing time, how do we achieve clarity?

I would argue that there is a need to take time to listen and trust your own judgement and inner voice. Yes, we must be evidence based in terms of what works; but we also must be attuned to our own innate wisdom. By unlocking this; we unlock what we all have in common – connection. It is important then, that you take time to connect with yourself and develop your own clarity of thinking from within.

Trusting Relationships

Education should have at it’s heart, solid, trusting relationships. By working in a relational way with our staff, pupils and our parents we solidify the connections between us. From there, we can challenge fixed mindset thinking and work in a way that helps everyone improve their practice and their own learning.

Jed Barlet From The West Wing – if only he had been our Leader for Troubled Times!

Leaders: Hold Your Nerve

There is much dubiety of what works as a leader in a school improvement context. However, now, more than ever, is the time to hold your nerve with interventions and strategic change – culture change takes time. Allow interventions and ideas to bed in, and encourage staff to take risks with their teaching and learning.

Remember, being a leader is not about being the big hero leader but demands tenacity and clarity of purpose. Being open to challenge and critique ourselves helps us improve.

You can download John Paul’s Presentation from the SLF today: SLF Presentation