Schools have a variety of leadership positions and it is essential that those who fill the middle management positions are provided with leadership training to be able to carry out their role effectively in support of the school, its students and its staff.
In the leadership positions that I have took on in different schools, there was no leadership training or mentoring program. Often teachers were promoted into middle management positions such as Head of Year / Grade and Head of Department / Faculty because they were good teachers and appeared to collaborate well with others. There is a big difference, however, when a person is then ask to lead others, especially adults, set goals and build collaborative teams that work towards them.
By having formal training and mentoring for all teachers who are leadership positions, a school is able to strengthen through leaders being able to learn about the challenges of their work and how to be effective in dealing with them. Additionally, by having schools leaders receive training together, they have the opportunity to discuss common issues that they are faced with and find support in each other, which can build team morale.
So what should go into a leadership training program for school leaders? The list below is by no means exhaustive but it is a good starting point:
- Managing self and showing leadership in the workplace
- Building collaborative and effective teams
- Developing individual team members
- Conflict management and difficult conversations
- Developing priorities and goals
- Making and delivering a presentation
- Change management and continuous improvement
- Implementing and monitoring school requirements
- Problem solving and decision-making
- Using IT effectively as team leader
- Establishing professional networks
Please bear in mind that the above are general leadership topics that could be used in most organisations, not just schools. Leadership professional development could be delivered by capable leaders that already exist in your school or through various leadership / education consultants.