It’s exciting being a Senior Leader. Whatever people think about the hours, the time, the need to be in school in the holidays and the extra dedication, it’s thrilling too. It’s thrilling to be able to influence teachers and the classrooms of your school; it’s also a major responsibility and one that any leader takes seriously. How does one balance the workload of middle managers with their teaching? Being able to improve teaching means that everyone needs time to focus on it and with the amount of regular change and teachers being stretched in three ways at once, tutor, manager and teacher, it is hard to keep the focus.
Part of this is my personal style I think. Having read Debbie’s Blog here I share many of her traits. I am definitely too emotional. When I encounter an issue which is hard to deal with, I feel my personal gas flame flare. This isn’t always a bad thing! In the face of injustice or when a member of staff is ill and insisting on continuing to teach, it makes me get up and do something about it. In the world of leadership, however, I am well aware it is a drawback because you do need to keep a degree of objectivity and detachment to be effective. I am very (!) well aware that isn’t true for me.
The other issue that Debbie also deals with is that of being friendly. She says it in different and much more eloquently than I do, but I suffer from the same issue. I always want to know how someone is and then get on with the job. I pride myself on being open and accessible. On the one hand, this is great because it means that I always know the issues around me, and in the staff body. This really helps in terms of being able to manage and help staff morale as well as being able to address them. Under previous management at the school, issues weren’t open and so this is a strength, but, and it is a big but (reminds me of a song..), I know that this also means that I don’t think I push our standards enough. Just as in a classroom you have the teacher that you know understands you, but are you pushed as much as you are in the classroom down the corridor where you are slightly afraid? I know that I’m the kind one. I don’t ‘let people off’ but I don’t think that I push as much as I should do.
Having said that I model much of my leadership behaviour on some exemplary members of the SLT in my old school, including the Head. He didn’t push, or rather didn’t appear to, rather he was open and accessible and it was the SLT who put exacting deadlines and tasks in place. I think that in this case I am being open and accessible when I need to be more of the bulldog.
Hopefully, I can change this in my second year but it still has to be a balance. I don’t want to be personal or nasty – not at all, and I have seen that too! No, the ideal has to be exacting, perhaps, or challenging?
That’s two resolutions for the new year…