Saturday, 1 November 2008

My Leadership Influences

One person who has helped me most in my development...? That's hard.

I guess the question really means'development as a teacher' or maybe it means 'development as a school leader'...

Anyway before I started teaching, Gordon and Rosalyn discerned my desire to positively influence others and convinced me that I could have a greater impact on society by influencing a few people greatly as a teacher rather than many people a little bit as a pop star. Yes I did want to be a pop star.

Then in teaching, Robin gave me behaviour management skills and a better work ethic, Jo helped me understand the importance of PSHE to develop good learning behaviours and Carol showed me the importance of passion for what you believe in and the simple but much-overlooked skill of reading to stay up-to-date.

Chris taught me the importance of effective communication. From Yvonne I saw how vital it is to keep 'many plates spinning' and to see a job through (or 'complete the circle') as she would put it. From Penny I've gained a drive to reduce workload for colleagues, and from Martin I've learned the importance of efficient organisation and filing.

All of these qualities are great and if I could master them all and do them all as effectively as the people I've mentioned above I would become some kind of super-leader. However the person I hark back to the most is Jan who had a way of making people work for her that became them working for themselves. Of all the people I've worked under, she was the most positive - not some wishy-washy positivity with no impact, but a catching positivity that passed on infectiously from person to person raising levels of self-motivation in children, staff and parents.

So if I could get the best bits from everybody, I would, but if I had to pick one person to be like, it would be Jan.

What did she say?
she always turned a negative into a positive. She never spoke negatively about any children (she subscribed strongly to the ALPS approach and Daniel Goleman's emotional intelligence). She spoke with a smile and a gl;int in her eye, which meant to others that her words were genuine. Adults and children knew she cared and responded accordingly.

How did she behave?
She worked hard. As mentioned above her non-verbal communication spoke of an authenticity that I certainly have yet to achieve. She made the most of little interactions that happen. She lent me the book, 'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell, which changed my life.

What was special about the person?
In terms of impact she transformed a one-form entry school with falling rolls and numbers of about 150 to rising rolls and numbers growing to 200 and beyond - full classes have a really positive impact on a school. She worked hard, got her team self-motivated working for her, themselves and the school, was authentic and cared passionately about her work.

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