I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers. —~Ralph Nader~
I talked about ‘teachers as leaders’ the other day…..this is a topic I have researched extensively. As a facilitator for the National College’s last model of the Middle Leadership Development Programme (MLDP), I constantly evaluated our delivery and approach in helping to create school leaders.
Far too often I have seen leaders reticent to provide their teachers with leadership training or debate over whether particular teachers were ready for such training. The fact is that providing teachers with the tools and theory behind successful leadership cannot be a bad thing. All teachers are leaders on some level. At the very basic level, we are in the very prestigious position of ‘leading’ the children in our care. This could arguably be the most important and cardinal role of leadership there is. Leading children’s education, their learning, their morals, their futures…..one of the most important jobs there is. It goes back to what I keep saying about how monumental our impact is.
I don’t know if it is fear of equipping staff with too much information, but I cannot understand the reluctance for leadership skills to be pursued at all levels in education. Giving teachers an awareness of what effective leadership might look like in practice will enable them to reflect upon their own practice and in turn, consider ways in which they can improve. Clearly, leadership issues and circumstances will differ depending on roles, but tailoring development to specific positions in school will allow everyone to benefit by becoming more confident as teachers and ‘leaders of children.’ As they transition to subject leaders or senior management, the leadership training should be adapted as necessary to reflect the new leadership qualities and traits necessary to be effective in their post.
For a while now there has been lots of talk about distributive leadership being the most successful model for schools to pursue. However, many schools who suggest they are using such a model, in fact are not.
What does the structure of leadership look like in your school? Ideally what would distributive leadership look like in an effective model?