Everything that I have ever learned about ‘what makes a good leader/manager’ is exactly the same as ‘what makes a good teacher’. Too often, those teachers that are not in promoted posts tend not to think of themselves as either leaders or managers – any teacher has to lead and direct the learning and development of hundreds of young people. In doing so, they have to manage resources and people, set aims and policies – in fact ALL of the things that we expect leaders and managers to do.
For me in reality in Scottish education, the difference between ‘leadership’ and ‘management’ is that we pay managers but not leaders – and there seems to be no requirement on managers to lead effectively.
Teachers are too often denied the opportunity to innovate and I think that this has not been helped by managers who think that they are the be-all and end-all.
When a colleague comes to me with an idea I think that I’m fairly consistent in asking them to run with it, evaluate it and learn from the experience. The worst thing that I could do is place in their way some of the barriers that I have too-often faced – neatly summed-up by Seth Godin:
Please don’t underestimate how powerful this sentence is.When you say this to a colleague, a new hire, a student or a freelancer, you’ve established a powerful norm, one that they will be hesitant to challenge.This might be exactly what you were hoping for, but if your goal is to encourage innovation, you blew it.
Put simply, how can we expect teachers to develop the four CfE capacities in our young people, if we do not develop these same capacities in our teachers?
The challenge is to see and open-up the potential in all of our human resources – teachers and pupils. For a lot of managers, this means having to face up to the fact that often, the best ideas come from someone else.