Why school leaders should learn from leaders outside of education

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One of my best professional learning experiences came a few weeks ago where I attended a conference that was not specifically for school leaders or teachers. It was refreshing to meet with leaders from government and public service, private enterprise and non-profit organisations. It was good to explore themes common to leadership in small, medium and large organsiations, and see that similar challenges and frustrations exist in other professions. What was even better, was to listen to how leaders approach problems in their respective fields and consider new and different ways of doing things.

I highly recommend that every school leader should step outside the education conference circuit, once in a while, and connect with other professions. Here are some suggested topics or themes that may benefit  school leaders connecting with others beyond the education domain:

  • Building organisational culture – including having difficult conversations
  • Developing teams and individuals
  • Decision-making processes
  • Problem-solving
  • Leading innovation
  • Strategic planning
  • Change management
  • Project management

For those of you interested in the conference that I attended, here’s the link: Association for Strategic Planning

Attending a conference where I did not know anyone was a little daunting but I was determined that this fear should not get in the way of important professional learning. The conference gave me some great insights, affirmed some personal beliefs, and provided some excellent ideas for self and school improvement. Most importantly, it was learning about other professions that was most enlightening; meeting some quite remarkable people who in fact were all trying to do the same thing – make a positive difference.

Published by Richard Bruford

Richard is currently Secondary School Principal of Suzhou Singapore International School, one of China's leading international schools. He leads workshops across the Asia-Pacific region for the International Baccalaureate in the areas of pedagogical leadership and approaches to teaching and learning. Richard consults with schools on the topics of school improvement and effective implementation and use of technology. With a background in public and independent school education in the UK and Australia, Richard is enjoying his international school adventure in China. He is passionate about developing and supporting educational leaders, as it is essential to improving all schools. Richard is a proud family man and feels lucky to be married to Kim and father of their son Austin. In his spare time Richard enjoys to swim, bike and run and is a now retired football player and coach (with occasional guest appearances)

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