A Good Leader Grows Other Leaders Know when to set the course and when to step back

I aspire to be a combination of servant, agile and coaching leader, it is a work in progress, and while I show elements of each of these, they continue to be something I strive towards, as I acknowledge I still have much to learn. I want to be seen as a visible and accessible leader, one who empowers others and one who cares about them as both people and professionals.

About 3 years ago, I identified this as a key idea relating to how I saw my role as a leader: "I really want to use my leadership role to help teachers become better, to actively improve their teaching and always strive to find the best way to do things so that they can help their learners move forward and make gains with their learning. So that everything I do helps to ensure better/improved/positive outcomes for students and teachers. This includes data, but also methodologies and beliefs about teaching and learning ( & the learners themselves), current/best practice, keeping informed professionally and actively pursuing this for themselves instead of only when directed/ to tick a box, improving mindsets about themselves and their students." So essentially, I'm driven by a desire to support educators to be best they can be so that learners have the opportunity to reach their potential.


I believe that part of good communication is taking the time to listen to and understand the perspective of the other person. At its core, I feel it is about understanding the whole person and accepting each individual for who they are - and this extends to every member of staff, every member of our parent and wider community, and of course, our learners. I seek to listen, ask questions and learn in order to understand.


Followers have influence over leaders behaviour and vice versa. A leader needs to foster a strong, motivated and positive followership - especially if growing others. With this in mind, as a leader, I believe it is important to be seen as honest, open and approachable so that people know you are someone they can trust. I also believe that pushback isn't a bad thing as it can help you to take a step back and look at something from a different perspective.

Nurture Strengths

I look for opportunities for others to use their strengths and talents to support other educators, as well as learners. I also have found that, as a leader, sometimes you help people to uncover or recognise strengths they didn't realise they had. A leader's role in this is to remove obstacles and create a safe environment in which they can thrive. I also see a part of this as supporting individuals in moving from a learner role to an expert role - so these strengths may not necessarily be ones they have always had.

Beliefs and Expectations

Believe in those you lead and, if necessary, help them to believe in themselves. It is important to have high but achievable expectations, but also vital as a leader to ensure that everyone has the necessary skills and resources to succeed.

Lead by Example

It is important to me to model what I expect from others. As a result, I believe that whatever I ask them to do, I also make sure to do myself. I won't ask others to take a risk if I'm not prepared to. It also includes being prepared to apologise and admit when I'm wrong.

Be a Life Long Learner

I think it is vital that a leader stay current and informed about what is happening in terms of, for example; research, best practice, current trends and the sociopolitical climate as it pertains to education. By doing so, it puts you in a good position to ensure the learners are getting the best educational opportunities they can and educators are supported to develop strong pedagogy underpinned by sound, up to date research.


#Educampnz Smackdown on Air - October 2014

Making different connections is a way to stay current, to look for opportunities and explore examples of best practice. It is another way of leading by example. It also gives me an opportunity to pay my learning forward & support others through their journeys.

Reflective Practioner

As a leader, I believe it is important that I am a reflective practitioner, one who recognises that there is always room for professional growth and development, and who demonstrates the attributes of a life long learner. I feel it is important to seek feedback, both the good and the bad, and even though it may be difficult to hear, I will always take it on board and look for ways to grow and learn from the perspectives of others.

Make a Difference

There are two things I keep to the forefront both as a teacher and as a leader;

First, is the story of the little boy and the beach full of star fish, which I have connected with since I started training as a teacher many years ago. The key event in the story is when the little boys grandfather asks why he threw a starfish back into the ocean, when there were so many stranded on the beach, it wasn't going to make a difference. The little boy replies, "It makes a difference for that one."

Second, a more recent addition is this quote: "...when one child fails to learn it may have a small impact on the school, but it represents 100% failure to the child and their family."

Hattie, Masters and Birch, 2016 p.17 Visible Learning Into Action

I believe in the importance of passing the light on to others, to motivate them to improve and grow their practice, and I find it is reciprocal - I grow and learn just as much from others as they do from me - if not more so. As a leader I can be both expert and apprentice.


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