Monday, January 12, 2009

Module 8 Preface

These materials were prepared co‑operatively under the Training and Support Programme for School Headteachers in Africa in the 1990s. They were updated considerably in Guyana in 2000 and again in 2008 to meet the needs of the Guyanese educational context.

Governments in developing Commonwealth countries wishing to reproduce or adapt the materials in whole or in part in any language should inform the Commonwealth Secretariat which may be able to offer some assistance in doing so.

For further information, write to the Director of the Education Programme, Commonwealth Secretariat, London.


Education Programme
Human Resource Development Group
Marlborough House
Pall Mall
United Kingdom



National Centre for Educational Resource Development
3, Battery Road,

Prepared for publication by the MPU, NCERD
Originally designed and formatted by Geoffrey Wadsley.
Updated design and format by NCERD staff in partnership with

© Copyright Commonwealth Secretariat & Ministry of Education, NCERD Guyana 2009

Notes on Assessment
Please note that each of the unit contains two kinds of activities as follows:

1. Reflection – You will see these from time to time throughout the text. They are in white type and highlighted in black. E.g. Reflection. You are not required to submit your thoughts on these issues to your Master Trainer. You may make notes if you wish but they are your own personal reflections on the issues raised.
2. Activities – These are formal assessments which you will have to submit to your Master Trainer as part of your portfolio. You should number them in the same way as the units and carry out the activity as stated.

Module 8 The Leadership of Schools

We need to develop a working consensus about the purpose education should serve in Guyana. What is it that schools in Guyana ought to be doing in the context of nation-building, the challenges of globalisation and the demands of the twenty-first century? Whatever is our vision for education in Guyana most people will agree that we can only accomplish our goals if we have effective and committed leaders who respond well to change. To achieve success from challenging opportunities requires leaders who are skilled, confident, inspiring and prepared to learn, reflect, grow, develop and improve.

In the Guyanese context, therefore, outstanding leaders will be people who are committed to the new responsibilities demanded by the nation and who strive to improve the tone, culture and the outcomes of the learning and working environments in which Guyanese operate, not only in what they say but also through what they do and how they do it. Leaders in education must understand how wise decisions and sound plans are made. They must know how clear objectives are established and specific directions are issued. They must understand that change involves everyone and they must respond to the need for collaboration and teamwork. Whenever they work, they must be guided by the overall determination to optimise education success for all – students, teachers, community and country.

Developing accomplished leaders is a responsibility that has to be shared between the system and the individual. Therefore, the Ministry of Education through the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD) is committed to creating a comprehensive framework – the Education Management Certificate Programme – for leadership development that will enhance the skills of current and aspiring headteachers. This module – Leadership in Schools, is a key element of that programme.

This framework will assist you in understanding the expectations that the Ministry has of all its leaders. As a trainee on this Programme, you will already hold a position of responsibility. Take time to read and reflect on the contents of the module and apply it to your own situation. Investment in your own personal growth and development will not only enhance your professional career but also optimise the professional development of your staff and the intellectual development of students.

Individual study time: 27 hours

After working through this module, you should be able to:

§ understand the principles behind effective leadership, management and administration in schools
§ appreciate the main skills required of a leader
§ evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different leadership styles
§ articulate the need for leaders in Guyanese schools
§ understand the role of existing leaders in the development of future leaders
§ be aware of the required characteristics of leaders in schools in Guyana
§ be able to plan to become the head of a school
§ put into practice all you have learnt on this programme in leading a school
§ use your leadership skills in different areas of school life from middle to senior management
§ develop strategies for widening the leadership experience of your staff
§ identify the main characteristics of school leaders in general
§ create a strategy for identifying your own development needs and meeting them
§ demonstrate confidence to take up a leadership role

The module is divided into eight units.

Unit 1: Understanding leadership in schools 4 hours
In this unit, you will reflect on the core purpose of the school and differentiate between administration, management and leadership as applied to the school context. You will examine why leadership is particularly important for the development of schools and relate it to the different aspects of the headteacher role as studied in Modules 1 – 7.

Unit 2: The principles of educational leadership 3 hours
Here we will look at some of the skills required of a leader and review the advantages and disadvantages of some of the educational leadership styles already encountered, whilst giving you the opportunity to analyse your own leadership style and its effectiveness in your current post.

Unit 3: Leadership in Guyana’s schools 4 hours
We deal in this unit with the practical issues of leadership in Guyanese schools in particular, and what is required of the head, the senior leadership team and middle managers to enable them to create an effective and successful school.

Unit 4: Leading in your new school 3 hours
This unit analyses ways in which you might approach the often daunting task of taking over the leadership of a department or a school for the first time. It guides you through the development of strategies to be confident, effective and make a difference.

Unit 5: Developing leadership in others 3 hours
A significant role of a leader is to prepare others for the responsibilities of leadership and particularly for a time when we will no longer be around. This unit assists you in this task and outlines possible courses of action to ensure good succession for the next generation.

Unit 6: Identifying leadership characteristics 6 hours
There are certain characteristics of good leaders. In this unit we will help you to identify them, understand them and assist you in evaluating your own performance against these characteristics in relation to your current leadership role.

Unit 7: Your own leadership growth plan 3 hours
Having identified strengths and weaknesses in terms of your qualities, skills and aptitude for leadership, you will spend time creating an action plan to develop those areas that you feel you need to work on to become a successful leader.

Unit 8: Go forward and lead 1 hour
Having reached the end of the main modules of the Education Management Programme, this module will pull together all you have learnt to allow you to apply this knowledge and skills in a real life situation.

Modules 1 – 8: Education Management Programme SummaryThis last section will serve as an aide-memoire for all that you have learnt in following the 18 month programme to achieve the Education Management Certificate.

Understanding leadership in schools

Society is continually changing and schools have always tried to reflect these changes. Our responsibilities are increasing rapidly as, more and more, we have to assume responsibilities previously held by families, both in terms of education and value inculcation. Even though we may not agree readily with these new tasks, we must learn to do the job effectively. It means therefore that education must develop continually to meet the needs of these new challenges.

Leadership involves helping others to work towards common goals and purpose. Leaders must learn how to involve and motivate others and in so doing, there is a shared goal between leaders and followers and the leader is in tune with those being lead.

In addition, leadership is a combination of functions involving the sharing of tasks whilst at the same time building and maintaining the team of people who will carry them out. This is accomplished by helping to set and clearly define objectives and by co-operatively working towards them. The ability to lead is not necessarily an inherited trait and can certainly be learnt and developed through experience. A leader in one area may be ineffective in another area. In each area, an effective leader will demonstrate learned and practical skills in his / her ability to organise, to communicate and to self-evaluate.

Individual study time: 4 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit, you should be able to:

§ clarify your priorities relating to the core purpose of schools.
§ identify the differences between administration, management and leadership.
§ show how effective leadership is essential to the development of efficient and successful schools.
§ relate the need for proactive and dynamic leadership to all of the roles and responsibilities of the headteacher as identified in the earlier modules.
§ understand the relationship between leaders and followers and how a leader should be both.

The core purpose of schools
Picture a school, your school, any school. What do you see? What should you see? What is the difference between what you see and what you ought to see? We ask these questions because sometimes teachers and headteachers forget, in their daily lives of challenges, disputes and change management, the real reason why the school and its occupants exist. Yes, if asked the questions, we would always give the right answers. We are there for the children, to help them to learn and to live fulfilling lives.
However, we sometimes need to go deeper than that. In fact, as they say “actions speaker louder than words”, looking at what we do, can be a real test of whether we actually believe we are primarily there for the children.

Reflect for a short while on the reason why schools exist, given a few lines ago. Expand on it and give some thought as to whether you personally always act as though this is the prime reason for your existence in the school, whatever your current role.

You will no doubt agree that the children come first and that you will provide a child-centred education approach. However, do your actions and the way your school operates actually indicate that this is the case? You will need to analyse what you do very carefully. For example, how much time do you spend doing various activities? If you spend more time on administrative tasks in your office than you do coaching supervising, observing and advising teachers, then you cannot say that your approach is child-centred. We might call it administration-centred. Although certain aspects of administration are essential, they only support education and your role. They are not your role. Your responsibility is to provide a quality education for the children in an effective school. You cannot do this in your office filling in forms! That will have to be done outside of the school day.

The whole purpose of this module is to help you to understand the concept of leadership and, more importantly to locate it in appropriate action in your school. When you complete the following activity, be scrupulously honest with yourself. It will help you to face reality.

Activity 1.1.
You may have to approach this exercise differently depending on whether you are a head or have another leadership capacity in your school. Please discount in your calculations the time you spend teaching and only consider the time available to you in the school day, at the beginning, end and non-contact time, when you have a choice of what you do.

Keep a record book for a typical week and record the time you spend completing certain activities in chronological order. It might look this for a head:

7-30 Completion of Department of Education records 20 mins

7-50 Meet with Deputy to plan the day’s work 10 mins

8 -00 Monitor punctuality of teachers 15 mins

8-15 Speak with children as they arrive to school 15 mins

8-30 Deliver assembly 20 mins

8-50 Observe lesson of junior teacher 40 mins

Activity 1.2
Analyse the results of Activity 1.1. Perhaps you spent 9 hours in school each day over 5 days. Do not forget to count any time you spent working at home. Your week was, say, 45 hours. Divide your activities into categories. E.g. observation of lessons, talking with teachers, monitoring teachers, paperwork, social, interaction with children etc.

Now score each activity based on the following:

5 = Direct interaction with teachers relating to their performance in the classroom or the improvement of standards
4 = Direct interaction with children or their parents relating to their progress and general standards
3 = Production or analysis of performance-based assessment or statistics, planning or implementation of school development strategies
2 = Any other kind of interaction with teachers or children or tasks which do not directly relate to performance, standards or school effectiveness
1 = Completion of administrative tasks or social interaction with staff or children

On completion, calculate the amount of time and percentage of time that you spend on each of these activities. Where an activity does not fall into one of these categories, give the score based on 5 = activity which has a direct impact on pupil performance and standards and 1 = an activity which has little or no impact on pupil performance and standards.

If you are not a headteacher, you could do the activity as though it were an ideal week.

You will learn a lot from this analysis about yourself and your priorities. It would be easy to say “I do not have a choice in certain activities” and hold up your hands and feel that your week is being controlled by circumstances and other people. This may sometimes feel like the case but, in fact, your week is in your own hands. How you react to situations, how you operate under pressure and, particularly, how you delegate are all within your control. The most successful and innovative leaders understand this and do not allow circumstances to control them but organise and manage situations to meet their own priorities. This is a skill you need to develop very early on in your role as a leader.

As we are sure you will want us to comment on your results, we will offer the following as a guide only:

§ All of the activities 1 – 5 are important to form part of your week.
§ You should have a balance of activities which takes in involvement with people and operating with systems, strategies and administration.
§ Your main focus throughout the week should be on the high scoring tasks 3 – 5 and this should take up the highest percentage of your time.
§ You should be operating as a LEADER for at least 75% of your time.

You have no doubt confirmed in your own mind that schools are institutions which have the sole purpose of educating children and providing learning opportunities for them to reach their maximum potential. If you are offering anything less or you allow your teachers to have different or lower priorities, you are failing the children to a greater or lesser extent.

In conclusion, therefore, we must keep in the forefront of our minds “The child who sits on the chair” – the one for whom you are in the profession, who relies totally on you to be an effective leader and create a learning environment for him / her which is appropriate for his / her needs, stimulating and challenging. There are thousands like him / her, each with their own personalities, talents and needs. It is for us to meet those needs and be proactive in what we do, especially in terms of our responsibilities to ensure that others do the same.

Administration, management or leadership?
In Guyana, and, in effect, throughout the whole of the Americas, the running of a school has traditionally been referred to as administration and the person who runs it as an administrator.

Think for a moment about what is your definition of an administrator.

Everyone will have their own ideas about this. For some, it will include everything that a headteacher does. For others, the definition will be much narrower and will only include the carrying out of tasks which will enable an institution to function well, often paperwork and record keeping. The former is probably true in Guyana, but does it adequately reflect that aspects of a head’s role which has the biggest impact on the strategic direction of a school?

You could try looking on the internet and type into a search engine the words “define administrator”. You will find hundreds of definitions. Here are a few of them at one point in time:

A method of tending to or managing the affairs of a group of people (especially the group's business affairs)
The persons (or committees or departments etc.) who make up a body for the purpose of administering something
The word "administration" is derived from the Middle English word “administracioun”, which is in turn derived from the French “administration”, itself derived from the Latin “administration” -- a compounding of “ad” ("to") and “ministration" ("give service").
The act or process of administering, especially the management of a government or large institution.
The direction or oversight of any office, service
Management comprises planning, organising, resourcing, leading or directing, and controlling an organisation (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.

The last probably fits best with the Guyanese meaning but this is a definition of management. Note this Programme is called the “Education Management Certificate” and not the Education “Administration Certificate.” The definition which perhaps fits best with narrower view is that which derives from the Collins English Dictionary:

“An administrator is a person whose job involves helping to organise and supervise the way that an organsation or institution functions.”

If we are to analyse effectively the different roles of a head, we need to focus on grouping specific tasks. We will, therefore, use the last definition as the one which best describes that portion of a headteacher’s work.

Now, think what you understand by the term management.

We won’t make specific comments about this but, once again, will offer some definitions:

Someone who controls resources and expenditures
Management comprises planning, organising, resourcing, leading or directing, and controlling an organisation (a group of one or more people or entities) or effort for the purpose of accomplishing a goal.
A person whose job is to manage something, such as a business
A person responsible for purchasing, managing systems or managing institutions or businesses

Most of these definitions are about controlling and operating systems relating to resources, finances and businesses. So once again, we will use the Collins definition as follows:

“A manager is a person who is responsible for running part of or the whole of a business organisation. “

Again, we will use this definition because it best suits our purposes. However, one can manage or run an organisation without ever developing it, responding to change or making progress towards greater effectiveness and efficiency. So, we have to ask whether either of these roles, as defined, actually describe that part of the work of a headteacher which will have the biggest impact on pupil learning – the core purpose of a school. The role of administrator, as defined, is too narrow to have an impact and that of a manager is too wide to do so.

Therefore, what is the part of the managerial role which will affect vision, development, change and strategic planning in the best interests of the children’s education and welfare?

For this, we look at the title of this module and unit – Leadership in Schools. Let us apply the same process to the word “Leader”.

§ A person who rules or guides or inspires others
§ The ability to affect human behaviour so as to accomplish a mission designated by the leader
§ The ability "to get people to follow voluntarily”
§ The process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task
§ Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen
§ It consists of styles and behaviours, power, situational interaction, vision and values, charisma and intelligence

Activity 1.3
Using these definitions and any other that you can find of your own, make up your own definition of leadership which bests suits your understanding of it.

We will not comment on your definition as it is personal to you but, once again we will fall back on the dictionary definition:

“A leader of a group of people or an organisation is the person who is in control of it or in charge of it. “

In some ways, for our purposes, this definition is disappointing as it has too many similarities with that of a manager. So we turn to the definition of the role rather than the person who does it, and it becomes clearer:

Leadership refers to the qualities that make someone a good leader, or the methods a leader uses to do his or her job.

Now, we are getting closer to an understanding of what is required of a headteacher. It is not merely about the role but the qualities required to fulfil that role. There can be good and bad administrators, managers and leaders but, with specific, identified qualities, a leader will move from the mediocre to the exceptional. This is what is required of Guyana’s educational leaders – an outstanding aptitude to lead their schools through the 21st Century to allow Guyana’s children to have every advantage they deserve as Guyanese citizens who live in a world which will make demands on them if they are to survive.

So, it is for you to decide. Will you be an administrator, manager or leader and, If you opt for all three, in what proportions will you carry out the roles and responsibilities?

In our view, leadership is the most important of the three concepts. as it will have the biggest impact on the school, whereas management refers more to the operation of responsibilities once they have been decided and administration deals with tasks and duties which emanate from management.

The qualities of leadership
Let us now look at some of those qualities of a good leader that the definition refers to. Perhaps a better way of saying it might be the characteristics of leadership.

The leader:

Creates teams: People generally work better when working with others and have the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and share an array of experience.
Develops others: It is the responsibility of leaders to plan for a time when they will have moved on and others will take their place and to develop those around them to carry out their role effectively.

Has drive: A leader will have enthusiasm, energy and be competent at “getting things done”.
Is self-assured: Good leaders will be confident in all they do. This often is not a natural trait but comes with experience.

Creates a vision for the school: He / she will be able to articulate the direction of the school in the short and the long term.

Is accountable to all: Leaders will understand that they are answerable to those they serve, those they lead and those to whom they are responsible.

Is capable of influencing others: They will have the power to persuade others and sway them in an appropriate direction.

Thinks in the wider context of the school and beyond: To be effective, leaders will need to think beyond their own school and place it in the context of education generally in the region and in the country, ensuring that their actions are in the best interests of all.

Activity 1.4
Look again at the kind of leadership that we have described.
1) Are you able to add any others to this list?
2) How would you rate your own performance in each of these qualities of leadership? When doing this exercise, make sure that you provide examples of evidence that show you are competent in a particular area.

Many writers have identified an array of leadership characteristics and the ones here are not the only ones. We are sure you will have been able to add to the list. However, to rate your performance, you will perhaps need a perceptive and honest colleague to assist you. Whenever we judge our own performance, we can often be quite subjective. Discuss the evidence you have cited with a friend or colleague who knows your practice well.

We would hope that you would apply these characteristics in all that you do in your leadership role, whether working directly with people to coach them, providing written or verbal guidance or acting in a supervisory capacity. We must remember that the performance of teachers is a major factor in determining school effectiveness and learning outcomes. They play a pivotal role in enabling Guyana to realise its educational aspirations.

Education is the key to success in a nation and if we fail in education, we fail the nation. The quality of our educational leaders, therefore, is paramount in this process. Put another way, we should remember that children are practically “a clean slate” and they learn from the adults and children around them. What children see, hear and experience is what they learn and what they learn in school moulds the type of adults they become. So, what they see, hear, experience and learn in school must be nothing less than quality because what you give them during their formative years is what you get back from them as adults in society. Neglect this and you neglect society. Neglect leadership training and you neglect the major agents who are capable of educational reform. This is why we need to concentrate so much on our heads as leaders.

Proactive leadership
As we indicated earlier, it is not necessary for administrators or managers to make changes, develop others or even react to the situations in which they find themselves in. Although they are complex institutions, many schools in Guyana are static in their development. Many more react and simply adjust to the requirements of the day. The former may provide an adequate education for its pupils but will not meet all of their needs because they are diverse, complex and changing all the time. The latter may fair better but may be ill-prepared for the multifarious demands placed on schools in the 21st century.

A “reactive” leadership style is not really leadership. To meet the characteristics described above, a headteacher must be proactive in his / her approach to problem solving, conflict management and organising the change process.

Let us, first of all, look at how traditional organisations are structured. They tend to be organised in departments which may communicate well within themselves but be limited in inter-departmental interaction. As a result of this, there is little cross-fertilisation of ideas and learning is restricted. In short, the headteacher is forced to “push” his / her staff into new situations rather than leading them.

Now think for a moment about the extent that you, as an educational leader, operate by either “pushing” or “leading from the front”? What is the evidence for this?

You may recognise in yourself some of the characteristics described in the previous paragraph. If this is the case, do not be too concerned because it is probably the norm. However, we hope that you will wish to learn a new approach to how you tackle your day to day role in the school. Read on.

In previous modules, we have talked about the head as the lead professional. They will:

§ set high standards for themselves so that others will follow;
§ lead from the front and by example, never asking anyone to do what they are not prepared to do themselves, given the circumstances;
§ develop cross-functional teams to maximise the experience of all and involve everyone when required;
§ go beyond conventional thinking, “break out of the box” and be innovative in what they do;
§ have the humility to admit when they have made a mistake, not blaming others;
§ participate in others’ learning, facilitating it rather than directing it;
§ give people the credit they deserve, thus motivating them and keeping them on target;
§ create an environment where others can make mistakes and learn from them.

Someone once said “The great leaders are like the best orchestral conductors. They reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the players.” The job of a head is to reach beyond the challenges of the classroom to reach the magic in the teachers.

However, we as leaders in schools have a grave responsibility. What we do or don’t do affects everyone around us, especially the children. It is our duty to be professional and accountable to those who rely on us. None of them, let alone ourselves, deserves second best. As leaders, we have a great power for good or for bad and that power invested in us is not for self-gratification but for the service of others. We do not deserve the power by right but must earn it. That is the only way we will gain true respect. We earn power and influence by doing, following, leading and, most of all, being humble in what we do by respecting the rights, skills and knowledge of others.

Consider for a moment what, in an ideal world, would Senior Leaders be doing to demonstrate this kind of leadership? What are the barriers to doing it? (and the solutions).

You will find below just a few practical examples of the ways in which heads may be proactive in what they do.

Lead by example e.g. timekeeping and time management.
Visit classes on regular basis to ascertain the quality of learning an d teaching.
Provide practical advice and coach teachers on how to improve their classroom performance.
Minimise bureaucracy and prioritise tasks, always tackling the ones with the biggest impact on learning first.
Observe lessons and develop teaching strategies for teachers to follow.
Be knowledgeable about all aspects of school life.
Be accountable for all.
Show no compromise on your high expectations of teachers.
Plan thoroughly.

This is what we mean by proactive leadership. We urge you to become a proactive leader!

Leaders as followers
Finally, we will look briefly at the way leaders can enhance their performance by becoming good followers and accepting the knowledge and skills of those around them. Headteachers need to model what it looks like to be an effective follower and staff members will follow them accordingly. They need to be keenly aware of opportunities to learn from, and follow others as the situation dictates. In doing so, they need to understand, accept, respect and expect professionalism.

Here are some of the traits of effective followers:-

§ They are capable of managing themselves well with some direction and little supervision
§ They are committed and loyal to the school and what it stands for.
§ They accept work willingly when it is given to them.
§ They value appraisals and feedback from peers and supervisors.
§ They respect the authority of those who supervise them.
§ They seek specific directions rather than waiting for them.
§ They take responsibility for their own learning, development, growth and enrichment.
§ They are honest and show integrity in their work.
§ They confront wrongdoing and lack of professionalism in the school.

In this unit, we have looked at the main reasons why we have schools in Guyana in order to focus on the role of the leader and the concept of leadership and, in particular, the type of action that is associated with a good leader. We concentrated on the differences between administration, management and leadership and concluded that, although all have their place, leadership is the most important role and is essential to the development of efficient and successful schools. We examined the characteristics of effective leaders.

We looked particularly at the diverse approaches of the reactive and the proactive headteacher and concluded that it is essential for heads to be proactive in all that they do rather than simply waiting for the specific instructions of others. And finally, we brought to your attention the need for leaders to model how to follow and highlighted the main hallmarks of effective followers.

The Principles of Educational Leadership

The good leader is dynamic, yet flexible, recognising that the system in which he or she exists is continually changing and that he or she must adapt accordingly. As we pointed out in Unit One, the leader anticipates rather than merely reacts to problems and does so with a clearly defined set of aims and objectives and general philosophy. This is the proactive approach to leadership.

Consequently, such a leader will view change as a challenge rather than a treatment and will also admit when he or she is wrong and adapt as necessary.

Finally inherent in all of the above, good leaders will maintain a positive, supportive relationship with followers and will share with them the task of decision making. The development of leadership skills should take place without rigid hierarchical considerations. Students, for example, provide a great untapped resource and can be utilised as peer counsellors or for the positive peer pressure they can exert.

Classroom teachers display a great deal of informal leadership outside of their classrooms. Co-coordinating their numerous activities such as athletics and sport, prizegiving activities, PTA meetings and debating classes, all require leadership ability and the ongoing development of leadership potential. The potential of increased job satisfaction, personal growth and an improved school atmosphere are essential intrinsic values that accompany such leadership ventures

In this unit, we will look at some of the skills required of a leader and review the advantages and disadvantages of some of the educational leadership styles already encountered in earlier modules. We will start to link some of the leadership theory with actual practice, although this is the main subject of Unit Three. We will also give you the opportunity to analyse your own leadership style and its effectiveness in your current post.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit, you should be able to:

§ identify specific skills relating to practical leadership
§ relate those skills to your own practice in school
§ understand the advantages and disadvantages of a selection of leadership styles
§ begin to analyse your own effectiveness as a leader in your current post

Essential components of leadership
Leadership is being orientated on goals and a vision for the future and influencing others to work towards them. It’s often about getting people to do what they are not necessarily inclined to do even if they think it is right for them. It becomes, of course, preferable if they like it when they have achieved the goals. Leaders are not necessarily born into leadership but can learn the skills attributed to it - hence this programme. They will develop a high level of social skills: - communication, problem solving, social assertiveness and the ability to clarify and negotiate. Some leaders are dominant characters. This, in our view, is not a desirable trait as the essential characteristics of leaders are that they will involve others and develop them, rather than controlling or dictating to them.

To function as leaders, there must have an emotional appeal that instils in other people the desire and confidence to follow them. Leaders will be able to lead only when they can effectively influence people over extended periods of time. Our view of leadership development is that it requires the integration of theoretical information, which we have provided here, with the opportunity to practice the necessary skills and then to make the application in real-life situations. This is why so much emphasis is placed on the Practicum in this programme.

There are a number components that are essential for good leadership.

Some of these are:-

1) Formulation of a vision
2) Developing the plan – aims and objectives
3) Problem solving skills
4) Interpersonal skills
5) Team building skills
6) Motivating others
7) Conflict management
8) The management of change
9) Supervision skills
10) Evaluation skills

Activity 2.1
Of course, this is not a definitive list and you will be able to think of others. However, before we look at each one individually, try to answer the following:

1) In one short sentence, describe what you think is meant by each one.
2) Rate yourself on each one, using the following
§ This is a strength of mine
§ I am fairly good at this
§ This is an area I need to improve on
3) In the areas which you feel are a strength, give an example as evidence of what you have done.

We hope you have found some strengths especially now that you are in the last module of the programme. Your evidence must be genuine, substantial and frequent for you to say that it is a strength. We have expanded on each of the areas below and in the next unit will look more at the practical aspects of them in schools.

1) Formulation of a vision
In order to lead effectively, one must know where the school is going in the short and in the long term. Without this kind of vision, staff will just coast from one development to the next without any linkage or synergy. The vision is partly articulated in the Mission Statement and this is why it is so important that it is looked at regularly and updated as significant numbers of new staff arrive. Look back, at this point, to Module One, Unit One which deals with the development of a Mission Statement.

However, the mission statement alone is not sufficient to express the full implications of the direction a school will take, say, over the next five years. This must be conveyed to all staff, governors, parents and other stakeholders and is recorded, after significant consultation in the School Improvement Plan. This plan is not just about buildings and other resources but should mainly relate to the educational strategies of the school which will ultimately provide a more effective academic and social education for the children.

2) Developing the plan – aims and objectives
Any strategic plan is of little use without the detail. Such features as what will be done, by whom and by when are essential elements. You will have started by using the aims and objectives of the school to show how you will make the statements in the Mission Statement happen; in other words, the activities that will turn your words into action.

Activity 2.2
At this point, look at your School Improvement Plan and divide everything in it into three categories:-

§ That which will directly affect the quality of learning and teaching
§ That which will indirectly affect the quality of learning and teaching
§ That which will have little no impact on the quality of learning and teaching

We would hope that your plan is heavily weighted towards the first of these three statements. Examples of this might be – coaching of teachers, implementing assessment systems, observation of and discussion about lessons and developing new curricula. The second category is also essential but the amount of time you spend on it must be in proportion to its worth in raising achievement. It will include activities concerning pupil behaviour, pastoral care, working with parents, setting up reward systems, classroom display etc.

It could be argued that all activities in schools will have some impact on the children and the staff and thus their ability to perform well. The last category might include work on school buildings, community relations, staff and children’s Christmas parties and fundraising activities. However, we must be careful not to allow these activities to take up the majority of our time. Many are essential but must be delegated to others to do whilst you carry out your core function.

The best plans will have a time scale for each activity and will be carefully monitored throughout and evaluated for progress during the course of the plan and especially at the end before a new plan is written.

1) Problem-solving skills

“Give someone a solution to a problem; you serve him/her for a day. Teach them to problem solve, you serve them for a lifetime”

Learning problem-solving skills enables one to apply strategies to increase the effectiveness of an individual’s ability to solve real life problems. An effective leader relies heavily on problem-solving skills for programme improvement and innovation, organisational improvement, decision making and group dynamic concerns. Such skill, however, need to become second nature as they will be used frequently throughout every day to resolve minor issues such as several teachers not turning up for work without notice or major ones such as a flooded school building.

The General Problem Solving Model
Although we have dealt with this issue before in an earlier module, here is another, simple approach:

§ Question - In order to deal with a problem, first formulate a question that clarifies the issue.
§ Alternatives - Secondly, investigate a number of reasonable alternatives to answer the question. Consultation with others helps here.
§ Information - Thirdly, obtain data about each of the alternatives if it is available and there is time. Analyse the data.
§ Syntheses: - Fourthly, decide on the basis of the information, which alternative(s) gives the “best” answer to the question.
§ Conclusion - Lastly, take decisive action.

Of course, some problems do not allow you to go through this process consciously due to pressure of time. This is why it needs to become second nature.

4) Interpersonal Skills
Good interpersonal skills are essential in providing good leadership. Relationships need to be strong to allow followers to trust and have confidence in those they are following. Credibility is essential and this is displayed by the way we interact with the others that we work with as well as what we do. These skills are developed upon:-

A foundation of in-depth examination of ourselves
Growth and development in empathetic understanding or the ability to understand where others are coming from
The recognition of other’s problems and appropriate solutions and feedback
Setting high standards for ourselves and modelling them.
Creating a non blame culture
Developing ways of speaking and an ability to listen, hear what is being said and reacting appropriately

The first step in developing the interpersonal skills needed to be an effective leader is an understanding of oneself. An objective self-analysis, followed by an attempt to change the negative aspects, will create a solid foundation for the development of this essential skill. You can start by noting not only how others interrelate and their reactions to each other, whether negative or positive, but also how others interact with you. Note any negative feelings you create in others and ask yourself why this may be the case. It does not mean to say that you will need to change the content of your message but perhaps how you communicate it. It should be noted that personal stocktaking is a fundamental part of everyone’s growth and by understanding self, relations with others will be enhanced.

A good leader must have good insight into the feelings of all those affected by his or her leadership. This is when empathy is shown by a leader and he / she communicates on a deeper level and understands the other person more completely.

Apart from good communication skills, those who are good with people are usually

consistent in their actions;
open in their dealing with others;
willing to admit making mistakes;
able to adopt a leadership style consistent with their personality;
willing to take risks;
accountable for their actions;
willing to listen;

Reflect for a while on whether you have good relationships with your staff and whether they follow your leadership willingly and openly. To what extent do you feel this is part of your personality and the interpersonal skills you have developed? If you feel relationships could be better, consider what you might do to improve them.

5) Team building skills
As we said earlier, leaders will have a particular vision or goal. In order to be effective, part of the mission should be to see that the vision or goal is adopted by others. Teamwork is essential for this. A team could be described as an energetic group of people who are committed to achieving common goals, who work well together, enjoy doing so and who produce high quality results.

The use of team building techniques in an organisation has several advantages:-

§ Members will identify better with the goals of the organisation and concerned about its success if they participate in making decisions about goals and how to reach them.
Being a team member creates a feeling of greater control; it reduces the fear of the leader’s arbitrary use of power.

When group members participate in problem-solving, they learn a great deal about the technical complexities of the group’s task; they learn from each other, as well as from the leader.
Participation provides opportunities for the members to satisfy many higher-level needs
A team helps break down status differentials between the members and the leaders, fostering more open and honest communication.
Higher quality decisions often result from the combined resources of the work group.

6) Motivating Others
Motivation is directly influenced by factors that are both internal and external to the individual. A person who is acting in a leadership capacity will understand that there are certain internal motivational factors that are impossible to change. For example, a teacher’s personal circumstances may have a negative impact on his /her motivation in school. Poverty, poor housing, family commitments can all sap the energy of an individual. A teacher may not be predisposed personally to being positive and a pessimistic view of the circumstances in which one finds oneself can be demotivating.

There are however, a great variety of external motivational factors over which the leader has some control. These should and indeed must be used to ensure we get the best out of our teachers and keep them on track, keeping them focussed and having a feeling of worth. For us the ability to pay them more is not an option but there are many strategies which can be used which have no cost implications. Here are a few of them:-

§ Public or private recognition for those who do their jobs well and who go above and beyond
§ Encouragement and support for those who may be struggling with the task
§ Empathy with the situation they find themselves in
§ Ensuring you interact with every teacher professionally and personally very regularly.

You may need to keep a record to remind yourself who you have seen
§ Visiting classrooms and leaving a positive note of something well done on the teacher’s desk.
§ Recognition of the part a teacher plays in school or pupil improvement
§ Fund raising activities to provide rewards for staff or perhaps a meal at the end of the year or the start of a staff development session
§ Provide quality professional development workshops
§ Set aside time during each staff meeting or arrange a special professional development session so teachers can share with their peers the main ideas they learned from each session they attended
§ Provide fun and educational activities for teachers to do in their classrooms
§ Give positive feedback on lesson preparation and notes of lessons
§ Send cards to teachers to welcome them back after an illness, celebrate a birthday or another important event, or recognize a special achievement.
§ Select a "Teacher of the Month."
§ Make a spot on your weekly newsletter or communications book for a special thank-you or congratulations to individuals or the entire team.

Have you ever tried any of these or something similar?

7) Conflict management
This is closely related to problem solving only on an interpersonal level. We devoted a whole unit to this topic in Module Three, Unit 8 and we ask you to make a short revision of this section.

8) The management of change

This is directly linked with school improvement planning. Although we would not advocate change for change sake, the process of education and the needs of children change rapidly and schools must adapt to their needs. The essential aspect of this is that change should not be random and reactive. As leaders, we need to plan for change, to ensure that we are in control and that we do not have to cope with too much at any given time. Perhaps, at this stage, you should glance again at the section on Proactive Leadership in the latter part of the last unit and Unit 8, Module 2.

9) Supervision skills
Supervision is a necessary component of effective leadership behaviour.

We offer you here three supervisory styles - the non-directive style, the collaborative style and the directive style.

The non-directive supervisor believes that teachers are capable of analysing and solving their own educational problems
Self assessment with supervision as guide

The collaborative supervisor negotiates with teachers the plan of action for the improvement of classroom standards
Mutual contract decided upon by supervisor and teacher

The directive supervisor feels the best way is to make standards clear and show teachers how to attain these standards
Delineated standards unilaterally determined by supervisor

The skill is to identify which of these three styles is most suitable for each teacher as a single style for all will be inappropriate depending on experience and motivation. We must point out, however, that it is essential; that the head sets the standards, although this will most effectively be done in cooperation with the staff. Supervisory skills, if utilised properly, can lead to positive growth in the teacher and in the supervisor.

Supervision does not have to be “top down”. This can be collectively as well as individually implemented.

10) Evaluation skills
We devoted the whole of Module Six – Monitoring School Effectiveness, on this and we would ask you to look again at the key points made there.

Participative leadership
Much of the daily life of a headteacher is about making decisions, whether as a result of problem solving, how to support a teacher or something as fundamental as the choice of a textbook. This is best achieved through participative leadership. In Module One, Unit Two, we looked at styles of leadership and management. You will recall that there are various types of leadership styles and these are listed below.


In the first module, we outlined the characteristics of each style. Now we intend to develop the theme by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each style of leadership.

Democratic Style

Every one has an input in policy making
Staff members have a sense of belonging
Builds self confidence of staff
Develops good staff relationships
Collective planning / team work
Delegation of duties
Established communication network
Empowerment of all members
Allows for full participation
Motivates people to work
Encourages attendance from pupils
Improved performance of teachers and pupils
Efficiency in management will be improved
Supervision will be conducted in a firm but friendly manner
Minimal conflict
Task completed on deadlines
Makes use of available skills and thoughts
Systematic approach to all tasks activities
Freedom of thoughtMore commitment from teachers

Time consuming
Chaos, confusion and conflicts
Staff may be insubordinate
Inappropriate decisions can be made
Factions in the school / clashes
Teachers can try to control the leadership team
Teachers shirking responsibilities
Animosity through too much freedom
Open way for power seekers
Longer time to implement plans
Abuse of privilege by staff members
Teacher override privilege
Distrust in one another
Parents influencing teachers
Encourages cliquism
Not all opinions of members are genuine and accepted
Members become withdrawn and become de-motivated
Ineffective communication

Autocratic Style
Less time consuming
Leadership control
Disciplined / strict leadership
Achieves set targets
Imposition on members to get things done
Getting much work done in less time
Self confidence
Must be knowledgeable, plan ahead
Takes all responsibilities for school
Head dictates, other follow.
No time wasting
In emergencies decisions made on spot
Tasks are done to one’s satisfactionResponsibilities forced on teachers

Lack of staff participation
Unsound decisions are sometimes made.
No shared vision
Resentment is developed
Disliked by staff members
Keeping information to oneself
Decisions not made by consensus
Staff afraid to communicate
Stifles creativity in people
Less support from community
Poor relationships
Resentment among staff
Division of staffPoor team work

Laissez-faire style
Freedom of expression and activities
Gives a sense of responsibility
Use of initiative to get things done
No work to ruleEveryone wants their ideas to be considered

Time wasting and conflict
Poor leadership control
Poor performance / standard of work
Ineffective institution
No set standards
Chaotic situation

Contingency style
Efficiency in dealing with all matters
Good staff relationships
Good communicationIs prepared for all emergencies

Abuse of certain privileges
Allows for favouritism
Can disturb school plans

Transactional Style
Role model leadership
Provides opportunities for the delegation of duties / responsibilities
Opportunities for staff to use their creative talents and initiativeEmergence of avenues for professional growth

In compromising there are no winners / losers
Opportunities for cliquism
Could lead to leadership deficienciesDoes not provide opportunities for the development of all staff
You will note that all have advantages and disadvantages. However, competent headteachers would use a variety of styles for different circumstances. The skill is to be able to choose the one that best suits the situational needs.

Activity 2.3
We have deliberately limited the number of advantages and disadvantages for the last three styles.
1) Look at them again and try to add to the list.
2) Identify the style which is the one you use the most, that is, your dominant style.
3) Write down a description of a situation that you feel would be circumstances when you would use each style.

We will allow your Master Trainer to comment on what you have written as everyone will have looked at it from a different angle. If you find yourself using the same style all of the time, you should ask yourself if it is successful in all circumstances or whether you need to develop your range. You will find more advice on circumstances to use certain styles in Module One, Unit Two.

Whereas in Unit One we looked at leadership in relationship to schools, in this unit we have examined more closely the general skills which are required to be an effective leader and related them to your own practice in school. In some cases we gave you examples of what you could do in school to become accomplished in the desired skills. We added to the work of an earlier module by considering the effectiveness of a variety of styles and, at various points in the unit, asked you to start evaluating your own leadership performance.

Leadership in Guyana’s Schools

A fundamental component in an organisation such as a school is the requirement for an intelligent, flexible and responsive leadership. Such leadership is both essential and highly critical in the modernisation and development of the Guyanese nation in an era of broad, rapid, and all-encompassing change.

In a developing country such as Guyana, the demands on leaders continue to increase. The expectations of leaders are different in many aspects than in developed countries and take on new forms. In this given context, it is imperative that we develop as many leaders in as many sectors and levels of Guyanese society as humanly possible.

Whilst we talk of society as a whole, leadership training starts in school by providing opportunities for individual children and groups of students to practice their influence on others in a controlled way. This is why school councils, prefect systems and pupil government in general are so important to the development of our future leaders. It is clear, when we look at the current Guyanese leadership that most emanate from certain schools where individuality, independence and confidence building were and still are part of the hidden curriculum and an expectation for all. If we are to provide equal opportunities for all and avoid an elitist society, we must ensure that the good practices in these few schools are spread across the board to all.

Individual study time: 4 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit, you should be able to:

§ understand the essential characteristics that Guyana wants to inculcate in its leaders.
§ understand better the practical issues of leadership in Guyanese schools.
§ respond positively to the demands on yourself as a potential leader to train and become acquainted with leadership practice.
§ show, with clarity, what is required of the head, the senior leadership team and middle managers in training their staff for leadership.
§ relate these requirements to the imperative to create an effective and successful school.
§ appreciate the role of leaders external to the school and within the educational system in developing Guyana’s leaders.

Leadership in Guyana
We believe that leadership in Guyana ought to be:

shared throughout the organisation;
developed in a wide cross-section of staff (broad based);
focused more on teams than on individuals;
dependent more on process than on individual style;
delivered increasingly through facilitating, coaching, and mentoring;
reliant upon up-to-date information, data analysis and strategic planning;
characterised by system thinking;
adaptable to different situations.

Activity 3.1
Using the information above, analyse briefly the following:
1) The extent to which you focus on these issues when carrying out your current role in school
2) If you are not a head, the degree to which your school leadership is focused on these areas
3) The extent to which the whole region or even the educational system in Guyana is focused on this approach.
4) The extent to which you, throughout your career, have been included in teams, decision making, been provided with relevant information, been trained and encouraged to be inventive, flexible and adaptable.

Only you can answer these questions but you may find it helpful to discuss what you have written with other colleagues or trainees as they may have a very different perspective. You may have a more valid point of view when you evaluate the region and the system in general as you are more likely to be more objective about others’ work and contribution than you own subjective point of view about where you work.

In the last question we have highlighted the features of this way of operating as the theory in the earlier section can sometimes be difficult to assess. Nonetheless, as always, you should support your answers with concrete evidence of how, when where and by whom, otherwise your assessment may be worthless. If you have not done this, review your answer and add to it.

To survive, thrive and succeed, organisations must constantly prepare for their future leadership needs. They must successfully identify the new skills, knowledge and behaviour that are required to achieve immediate and long-term goals. To do so requires a continuous investment in life-long learning and leadership development at the individual, and organisational levels. This is why when you signed up for this programme you made a commitment to pass on your new skills and develop others around you in the same way.

Give some thought for a moment about what you have done to pass on to others the skills learnt in the seven modules so far of this programme. If your answer is limited, consider what you might do from this point onwards.

Characteristics of Leaders in Guyana

We want leaders in Guyanese schools to demonstrate:

visionary pragmatism (the ability to take a practical approach and relate it to their vision for the school)
the ability to recognise the positive potential of people, situations, and organisations
the capacity to inspire and support others in achieving extraordinary results
the breadth of vision to have a local, regional, and national perspective
the courage to take necessary and calculated risks in order to achieve the vision
the beliefs and skills to make the vision a reality
the capability of leading by example

In the context of educational reform and development, leadership in Guyana is essential because:

§ learning is the foundation of development.
§ research in education shows that there is a positive correlation between effective leadership in schools and student success.
§ future success and sustainability of quality education depends upon it.
§ successful maintenance and sustainability of a healthy, high-performance organisation is directly related to the Ministry’s ability to build and provide strong leadership in all areas at all levels.
§ public education is becoming increasingly challenging
§ the rapidity of change and the increasing number of difficult: issues requires leaders that work together at all levels of the organisation to achieve common goals

Leaders need to work in cooperative and collaborative ways with those they work with and partners in the community.

§ A shared vision for leadership in the public system of education is essential for the attainment and sustainability of quality education.
§ Individual, team, and organisational learning must become core values that are linked to the overarching mission statement of the Ministry of Education.
§ Learning that is purposeful and intentional will allow adaptation to changing contexts.
§ Learning as groups and teams develop collective knowledge, improves organisational performance, and creates the momentum that facilities change.
§ Organisational support and encouragement are essential components in the development of leadership.
§ Opportunities to focus on effective training within a supportive context create changes in the culture of learning.
§ The development of leaders requires long-term investments and must be carefully planned.

Our frequent reference to a shared vision amongst each of the stakeholders is not accidental.

Activity 3.2
It is said that good headteachers will take responsibility for their own leaning and development. In the context of a developing country, this may sometimes be difficult due to lack of resources and available resource persons. Therefore, to what extent do you feel that the above characteristics of leaders in Guyana need to be developed centrally by the Ministry of Education and the Region, or by the individual headteachers themselves? Remember, of course that this is an MOE programme and therefore the responsibility here is shared.

One might say that, in the context of career growth and development, an individual must make the decision about the path they wish to take and the commitment to life-long learning that they are prepared to give. However, the daily life of a senior leader is busy enough without having to design ongoing programmes for themselves through research. It is, therefore a shared responsibility throughout for the Ministry and the departments of education to develop their staff at their own cost. The part of the individual heads is to be prepared to participate willingly. Most countries take this approach and it is no different in Guyana.

However, just like all teachers, headteachers require not only pre-service training (preparation for headship such as this programme) but also continuous development opportunities provided by the leadership of the Ministry and organisations such as NCERD. It is, of course, the responsibility of the government to provide adequate resources for this training.

Responsibility for leadership training
The responsibility for the development of leadership can be summarised in various ways. One such summary follows:

1) Potential Leaders
§ Exercise individual responsibilities for personal performance, learning career development (identifying strengths and weaknesses and working towards self improvement)
§ Maintain positive attitudes and improve leadership competencies
§ Engage in professional dialogue with colleagues, mentors, supervisors and others
§ Gain insights through reflection
§ Know yourself and bridge your learning gaps
§ Seek feedback from multiple sources
§ Engage in self-directed learning
§ Take advantage of appropriate professional development programmes
§ Seek assignments that will yield new skills and information
§ Participate in learning networks and become involved in professional organisations
§ Create short and long- term development plans
§ Create and maintain portfolios that illustrate incremental growth in leadership
§ Be prepared to work with others in teams to create a shared sense of purpose.

2) School Leadership Teams
§ Know the strengths and weaknesses of all of your staff
§ Develop a skills profile of the staff
§ Be aware of the qualifications and previous training of all staff
§ Insist that staff take responsibility for their own professional development
§ Encourage staff to maintain a training portfolio containing all of their professional development credentials and identification of training needs
§ Remind staff frequently that they may be the future leaders and they should start to prepare
§ Provide leadership opportunities within the school for staff to practice skills in a safe and non-threatening environment
§ Recognise the role of all teachers as leaders of the pupils and train them in appropriate strategies
§ Provide quality staff development opportunities on leadership. This course is available in all schools and can be used as resource materials to assist you
§ Do not allow yourself to feel threatened by staff who develop their competencies.

3) Middle leaders
§ Be aware that your close relationship with teachers will encourage them to emulate you. What they copy must be a good example
§ Concentrate on the role of teachers leading children
§ Do not allow your friendship with teachers to affect your professional responsibilities as a leader of the team.

4) Regional Education Officer and District Education Officers
§ Participate on training team leaders by example – show trust and appreciation
§ Act as mentors, role models, and facilitators
§ Encourage all members of staff to develop leadership potential
§ Create a work culture that empowers members of staff and provides for growth
§ Identify staff who may be interested in future leadership roles
§ Encourage and support participation in training opportunities
§ Make time and resources available for leadership development
§ Set high standards and hold leaders accountable
§ Provide constructive feedback, encouragement and follow-up support

5) The Ministry of Education
§ Provide the framework for learning
§ Require annual growth plans for all leaders and potential leaders
§ Ensure that appropriate resources are available
§ Accelerate the development of leadership capabilities to build a learning organisation
§ Define a process to identify future leaders
§ Develop a communication strategy
§ Provide a means for coordinating and tracking leadership development
§ Monitor quality and consistency of programmes
§ Make development of subordinates part of supervisory evolution
§ Identify, support and promote best practice and innovation
§ Capitalise on internal expertise
§ Champion professional growth

As you can see, it really is a shared responsibility to develop our current and future leaders. It is one that cannot be shirked or progress will not be made towards the ultimate educational goals of the nation.

Activity 3.3
We are sure that you will have noticed that many of these responsibilities for developing leadership in Guyana are easily interchangeable and apply to all groups. We might describe these as generic responsibilities or ones which will fit all situations.

1) Look again at the five lists above and identify those responsibilities which should be carried out by all
2) Having identified these generic responsibilities, you will have to include yourself. Rate your performance in each of these from 5 – 1 with 1 being low and 5 being high.

If you are a leader at present, at whatever level, you should have identified all of the points above (with the exception of the provision of resources over which you may have no control) as possible action for the development of yourself as a leader and those in your care – the point being that we have a responsibility for ourselves and for others. You might want to share your answers with another trainee.

In this unit we have moved the focus to the needs of the Guyanese educational system, from the theory to its application in schools. We have required you to understand the essential characteristics that Guyana wants to develop in its leaders and to put some of this into practice by analysing your own performance in these areas.

We have identified a number of groups, whose responsibility it is to develop the future leaders of Guyana. These range from yourself as a potential leader (or perhaps you already are one) through each of the various levels in the school though to those externally responsible for schools in the regions and the Ministry of Education. In each case we have related these requirements to the imperative to create effective and successful schools.

Leading in your new school

This unit could perhaps be one of the most important for you in the whole Programme. We are going to ask you to imagine (or perhaps it is reality) that you have been appointed to a school in a leadership role and you are seeking to make preparations for the time when you are “in charge”. We will look at leadership at different levels from a middle manager’s viewpoint to senior management and headteacher. Whatever your role at the moment, each of these perspectives will be valuable for you.

If you are a middle leader such as a level head, head of department or a senior teacher who is not in a senior leadership team, it is possible that the management of other staff is a new experience for you and you may be daunted by the prospect and worried whether you will cope and “get it right”. In these sections we will take you through the steps so that your first weeks and months will be successful. It will be useful for you to read the sections for senior leaders and the headteacher because, no doubt, some day you will be in that position and you can empathise with them.

If you are joining an established senior leadership team, your responsibilities will be great and your accountability for what you do considerably increased. Although you may not be the headteacher, you will need to support him or her. That is your principle role and it must be carried out seriously. Reading the sections on middle management and the headteacher will help you to understand the leadership role from their point of view.

Finally, you may have been appointed to the school as a headteacher. The school may be well established and successful or run down and needing much improvement. It may have been in operation for a long time or you may be fortunate to become the head of a brand new school. In fact, your promotion may very well be in your current school. Each of these will be a challenge and will be different requiring a different approach. We will look at each of these situations and try to assist you through the process. Of course, we can do no more than point out some of the “do’s and don’t” – some of the essential activities and also the pitfalls. However, it is not this unit that will give you all the information you need but this whole programme. Keep it by you as you progress through the various stages of leadership and use it regularly as a reference guide.

Individual study time: 3 hours

Learning outcomes
After working through this unit, you should be able to:

§ rationalise your emotions about your new job.
§ understand the effects you will have on others.
§ feel more confident about being a middle leader, member of a senior leadership team or headteacher.
§ develop strategies for getting to know and understanding your staff.
§ make an impression in the first few weeks.
§ understand better the importance of good relationships with your supervisor and other staff.
§ use your own experience to date and that of other staff to your best advantage.
§ be clear about the advice we give you on what you must and must not do

Our comments, observation and advice in this unit are based on many years of experience of working with teachers at all levels, who take on a new role. Not everything will be applicable to everyone as there are so many combinations of situations, levels of school and background information. So, what we offer will be general in nature, with opportunities, through the activities, to make it more personal and suited to your own circumstances. For the purpose of this module we are going to assume that this is the first time you have taken up a leadership role at this level (whatever it may be).

So, you have a new job?
This is where you use your imagination or perhaps your new job is a reality. Let us assume that the job you have been appointed to is one level higher than that in which you are currently employed; or you may imagine that you have been appointed to the job to which you aspire in your next post.

For you, this will be a significant promotion with a considerable increase in responsibilities (and let’s hope – salary). This improvement in your status as a teacher will bring with it certain emotions, which you will have to deal with.

Activity 4.1
In this role-play of a new post........

1) Firstly decide what your new job will be, where it will be and what will the responsibilities be that are different from your current work.
2) Secondly, describe how you feel and how you will deal with those emotions
3) Lastly, articulate any anxieties you may have about your new post and why you think those worries exist?

For the purpose of this exercise, we hope that you have chosen a job with significant challenge in which you will be able to use the skills you have developed throughout this programme.

You may find that you experience negative and positive emotions simultaneously. Congratulations from family and well-wishers may be offset by the fear of the unknown. This will depend very much on your personality – whether you are a pessimistic or optimistic person and whether you take things in their stride or worry about them. One of the skills of a leader is to be able to deal with your own emotions, particularly negative ones. Now would be a good time to start.

No matter how much we try to imagine something new, we rarely are accurate in our assessment and it is only “getting started” that will give us a feel for our new role. The ability to face your anxieties at this stage and to deal with them will stand you in good stead for the future as you will certainly face many more. The skill is to turn them into positive energy, deal with them and create a plan to move on.

So, how do you think you might feel? Do you recognise any of the following?


§ positive about the future
§ curious about what it will be like
§ elated from congratulations of colleagues and well-wishers
§ pleased with your performance
§ feeling the promotion was well deserved after your hard work
§ keen to get started
§ pleased to be leaving your current post
§ happy to be working with new colleagues
§ looking forward to the preparationready for a challenge


§ anxious about what it will be like
§ worried about whether you have made a mistake
§ concerned about the preparation
§ apprehensive about whether you are up to the job
§ hesitant about meeting new colleagues
§ uneasy about the greater workload
§ concerned that the challenge will be too much
§ wondering if you will like your new employersafraid that your new colleagues may not like you

Firstly, it is only natural to feel some of these. In fact, we would be worried if you did not. Be aware that it is likely that many of these feelings will persist well into the job. You will need to capitalise on the positive and banish the negative if you are to succeed. Whatever you feelings, it is best to confront them by writing them down, saying why you feel like that and, if it is negative, find a solution. Look at the section on problem solving and interpersonal relationships. This will be good practice.

What will others be feeling about you?
This is something that often people do not think about. Conversely, some people become obsessed by it once they have started the job and make many mistakes trying to be the friend rather than the leader / manager. Do not fall into this common trap. You will need to find ways of separating the personal from the professional. Both are possible within one relationship but they are different facets of it.

Bear in mind that others will also be apprehensive about your presence especially if you are to be their supervisor and the higher up the promotional ladder you go, the more likely this will be the case. They will want to know how your presence will affect them. Many may be thinking on the following lines:

§ Will I like him / her?
§ Will s(he) be competent?
§ Will I have to work harder?
§ Will s(he) be reasonable?
§ I hope s(he) won’t notice my weaknesses.
§ Will there be greater expectations of me?
§ I am happy for the change.
§ Will there be many changes?
§ I am quite comfortable at the moment. I don’t need anyone to make my life more difficult.
§ S(he) must be better than the last person, or maybe s(he) will be worse!

The fact is that you cannot know what they are thinking and so you should dismiss it, unless it affects you personally by what they say. Part of the role of a leader is that others will talk about you. It is not likely that everyone will like you, agree with you or be happy about the changes you make. Nevertheless, you have a job to do. If most are satisfied, you should be satisfied. If most are dissatisfied, you nearly always need to make changes in your approach but not necessarily your actions, if you are convinced they are right. For example, in a school where most teachers are regularly late, you will not compromise on your expectations but you might spend some time getting the teachers to understand why punctuality is in the best interests of the children.

Ultimately, persons will talk about you in the staffroom. This is normal and goes with the job. It can help sometimes though if you have someone who will warn you when there is unrest.

Activity 4.2
As a new Head of Department, your friend and colleague who you have been friendly with for years and who is in your department, takes advantage of the situation and regularly fails to hand in Notes of Lessons despite your reminders. She tells you that you can overlook it because you are friends and go back a long way.

1) How would you handle this?
2) Would you be prepared to lose the friendship?

This is where the good inter-personal skills come into play. It would be unprofessional of you to allow the personal to interfere with the professional because the children would suffer. You must insist that the work must be done (in the nicest possible way) and be prepared to lose the friendship (but hopefully not!). Please face the facts that if she takes advantage of you like this, she is neither professional nor a true friend.

Middle leaders
This is often a challenging situation because usually you have been promoted from the ranks either in your own school or another and your relationships with other colleagues have already been formed and established. When promotion is in your own school, those relationships will change within the school but, if they extend beyond the school gate, you will have to work on keeping them the same if that’s what you want.

The biggest challenge for the new middle leader is to establish a professional rapport with colleagues that is going to gain you respect both professionally and personally. Although the latter is not essential, the former certainly is. Perhaps for the first time, you will be giving instructions, making demands and coaching teachers and you must be confident in doing so. We cannot stress enough here, the importance of self preparation and being knowledgeable about what you say, do and expect others to do.

You will need to be clear about your role and your expectations of the teachers you lead. Whilst you would not want to be overbearing about your demands in the first few days, you might want to “drip-feed” them over a period of time but make it clear at the beginning that there will be reasonable expectations and they will be held accountable to you for what they do. This is the theory but you would not want to say it to them like that or you would antagonise them.

Think for a moment how you would get this message across in your first meeting with them without offending or unduly worrying them.

Firstly, you would carefully prepare what you are going to say - not a script or you will appear lacking in confidence but the main points. Secondly, you would put yourself in their position and hear yourself speak the words. What would be your reaction? If you would feel uncomfortable, you may need to modify what you say. Lastly, you would deliver your message at the meeting but you would give everyone the opportunity to comment and ask questions so that they would go away feeling they had been consulted rather than directed.

Alternatively, you might use the opportunity for some training. You could ask them some pertinent questions and direct their thoughts towards the points you wish to make. When it is their idea, they are much more likely to accept it. Later, you would be able to say “Last month we agreed that……)

Senior leadership team
Almost all that we have written about middle leaders also applies to new members of a senior leadership team. Since the move to decentralise the MOE, senior leadership teams have been expected to take on a greater role in the management of schools. Led, by the headteacher who is ultimately responsible for the school, the SLT will make joint decisions about its future and policy. As part of this, you will have a grave responsibility to the children and to the headteacher and must not take your role lightly.

As a new member of the SLT you will have many eyes on you because your influence as part of the leadership of the school may help to change its direction. You will need, therefore, to ensure that you are a good role model because what you do, others will emulate. This is not just about professional behaviour such as dress, attendance and punctuality but also about your ability to perform in the classroom and do the best by the children. You will want to avoid criticism and give a good impression when you take up the post. Attention to detail, such as lesson preparation, delivery and evaluation are essential.

You may be joining a newly established team or one which has just been formed. The former is more difficult because professional relationships will have already been created. You will therefore want to spend some time listening and working out how you fit into this new situation. Make this clear to the rest of the team. You do not need to jump in with an opinion on every topic but will take your time to understand the group dynamics and what your new role will be. When eventually you have “put the pieces of the jigsaw together” you will make a much stronger contribution because you will understand the way others think and act in certain circumstances. However, do not allow this “getting to know” process to go on too long.

It is quite possible that teachers and children will either consciously or subconsciously try to test you and your reactions to certain situations. It will help to have a clear knowledge of the contents of this programme. This will give you a head start. If you have specific responsibilities, ensure you re-read the modules and units pertaining to that responsibility. Dealing with the children ought not to be an issue, as we are sure that you will have the skills already or you wouldn’t have been offered this post. When dealing with the staff, it is a good idea to have evaluated your relationships and actions in your previous post. You will, like everyone, have had successes and areas where you feel you need to improve. Use this as an opportunity to start working on the latter.

Just as in the previous two sections, almost all applies except that you are now in charge of the whole school and do not have the luxury to sit back and observe too much as your leadership will start in the first hour of the first day!

Preparation prior to taking up the post is essential. You will have a “honeymoon” period when some considerate individuals will keep issues away from you at first, will not seek too many opinions of you in the first few weeks and will allow you to settle in. Others, however, may bombard you from the first day, seeking your response and action, ahead of others, in areas that are “close to their heart” and which they feel you will be able to deal with. They will want to influence you to suit their own needs. The most common forms of influence are juxtaposed to each other. There are those who will seek change and those who will seek to avoid it. Until you have done a thorough analysis of the situation, it is best not to fall into the trap of making promises but defer your judgements on all matters until you have the evidence you need to make informed decisions.

The “honeymoon” period will end of course. We do not need to tell you how you will know this has happened. You will know!

Having said that you are likely to be in great demand from the start, this does not mean that you should feel pressured to make ill-informed decisions. You should try to separate those day-to-day issues that require immediate attention and those for which you have a little more time. Depending on the size of your school, you may wish to rely heavily in the first few weeks on your SLT and delegate certain decisions to them whilst you become more accustomed to the way things work in the school. They will appreciate your trust in them and they will have a better understanding of the current needs of the school.

However, one area that you cannot delegate is the obligation for you to make clear your expectations of the staff as soon as you get the opportunity. Look again at the comments section for middle leaders for further advice in this area. It is important to prepare, be very clear about them and to have a prepared answer to any question or comments that might be made.

Activity 4.3
You are chairing your first staff meeting as head, and having observed that punctuality amongst some teachers is very poor, you make it clear that this will no longer be tolerated because of the affect it is having on the children’s education and other staff.

1) What will be your response when a group of teachers challenge you about the rain, the unreliability of the bus service and the need to get their own children to school on time?
2) How will you placate those teachers, who in the same meeting, who are always on time who complain that the lateness of some staff is having a negative impact on their lessons?

In our view, such a discussion is not appropriate for an open staff meeting. As head, you should point out that, although you understand that, in a few limited circumstances, teachers may be late, they also have a contract and are being paid to do a job of work which requires their presence at a certain time. You would tell them that you would monitor the punctuality of individual teachers and would see them personally to discuss the issues and how they can be resolved.

The teachers who arrive on time could be used to the benefit of your argument. They are making it clear that the behaviour of their colleagues is unacceptable. You would allow them to speak.

The following advice applies to the first few weeks of a leadership post whatever the level.

The context of your new school
Of course, circumstances will affect the way you operate. If you are promoted to a new school, you have a clean slate in which to operate. All of the systems that you set up will be new and you will probably have little time to put them into place. You must be prepared for trial and error and you will probably lean much more heavily on your colleagues as you will not be able to do everything yourself. Nevertheless, you cannot do everything at once and you must prioritise. Again, it is essential to differentiate between that which is day-to-day and that which can wait. Failure to do this will mean poor systems and resource management. It is better that your teachers have chalk, chalkboards and exercise books than a fully developed assessment scheme in the first week.

Being promoted in your own school could have its complications. Whilst some may feel you are deserving of the post, others, who may feel they are also worthy of it, may feel resentful. You cannot be responsible for their feelings and must work towards gaining their confidence and support. It is better to talk these matters through with the persons concerned than allowing resentment to develop. In this way you will be able to better support them to achieve the promotional goals they aspire to. On the other hand, people are less likely to think that change will happen with someone they know. Remember that if change needs to take place, you must ensure it does.

Getting to know your staff
Our advice here depends on the circumstances of your appointment, how much time you have to prepare and whether you have access to your new school ahead of your first day. The sooner you are able to get to know the staff for whom you are responsible, the better. Ideally, you would meet with them all individually prior to your appointment with a series of questions which would be the same for everyone. Alternatively, if time does not allow or you cannot be released from your current post for visits to the new school, you would do this as a group and possibly soon after you have taken up the post.

Think for a few moments about the types of questions you might ask of all the staff.

For the most part you would practise your listening skills rather than commenting on everything they say. It is a good idea to take notes and you should point out that you will be doing this. You will need to tell them that what they tell you will be completely confidential and is for your own use to get a picture of the school / department. You would encourage them to be frank with you with no repercussions. Here are some questions you might consider.

1) What do you feel are the strengths of the school?
2) What do you consider are the weaknesses of the school?
3) If you were headteacher / senior teacher/ HOD / level head, what would be your priorities for development?
4) Comment on standards within the school / department etc,
5) What are the barriers to progress in the school / department etc?
6) State two or three strategies that you feel would raise achievement in the school / department.

When you have seen everyone individually or in groups, you may wish to feed back to the staff as a whole the common themes without, of course, referring to any individual comments. This will provide useful evidence for what needs to be developed as well as that which needs to be sustained. Be clear with staff also that you are seeing the school / department with different eyes as an outsider. You will not have the opportunity to be able to do this beyond the first few months once you become accustomed to the school.

Having an impact in the first few weeks
You may wish to remind yourself of the characteristics of leaders that we stated earlier in this module in order to guide your actions as you become more familiar with your post. It is possible that you may be taking over from a highly efficient and charismatic leader or you may be bringing a new efficiency to the job. Whatever the circumstances, you will need to make your own mark and ensure that others know that it is now you who is in charge. One way of doing this is to set up some systems or initiate short term changes which will be a sign of your authority which will not make persons feel threatened by huge change. In other words, you would be taking a step by step approach to development and would make the first steps early on.

Your relationship with your line manager or supervisor
This will depend on the post you have been offered, whether head, SLT or middle manager. As head, your immediate line manager / supervisor will be the REDO / PEO through the DEO in the department of education; or it will be the Governing Board through the chairperson of the board. As a middle or senior manager your supervisor will be either the head or a member of the SLT. Whichever is the case, a sound relationship is important if they are to give you constructive criticism, support you and ultimately assist you in your work. The onus is on that person to make you feel comfortable in your new role. However, that does not always happen and you may have to develop the relationship yourself. Without being asked, make sure they are kept fully informed of your activities, your intentions for development as well as your strategies to improve school effectiveness. It is a good idea to give them written reports from time to time as well as copies of any documents you produce. You should work hard to build up a business-like and professional relationship but, where that is difficult, you may need to discuss the matter with the head, or the REDO if you are the head.

Your relationship with other staff
It is always best to become introspective in these circumstances. In other words, try to see yourself as others see you. This will give you an insight into their reaction to you both professionally and personally. Do not be too concerned if, from some people, the relationship feels cold at first. It often takes time for a person to feel comfortable with a new leader as they are worried about how this new person’s wishes will impinge on their own work. Conversely, you may find that some persons may be overly friendly and are clearly trying to gain favour from you for their own purposes. Both of these situations are normal and will be less of an issue as teachers become more familiar with your way of working.

At this point we will remind you of what we said in Unit 2 of this module relating to the earning of respect from others.

“As leaders, we have a great power for good or for bad and that power invested in us is not for self-gratification but for the service of others. We do not deserve the power by right but must earn it. That is the only way we will gain true respect. We earn power and influence by doing, following, leading and, most of all, being humble in what we do by respecting the rights, skills and knowledge of others.”

Using your experience to good effect
You would not have been offered this post if you did not have the qualifications and experience to do the job. Your time in your previous school(s) will have given you a wealth of experience of how things might be done differently. You will want to use this experience to make improvements in your new school / department. Whilst this is understandable, we need to remember that:

“Change is a process and not an event”

Appropriate consultation and teamwork is essential if it is to be accepted and embraced by all. Therefore, to impose change, without going through this process, would be unwise. Any changes need to be appropriate for the school and not imposed because another school operated in that way. Hence, the last thing anyone wants to hear from a new leader / manager is “In my last school we…” “We had a better way of doing it in my last post.” That is not to say that you will not use your experience but you will be tactful about how you introduce it. Perhaps a better approach would be “You told me that we were having difficulty with…….Maybe we could try to ……. and see if it works.” By approaching the matter differently, you will appear helpful, knowledgeable and innovative rather than trying to impose other ways of doing things on reluctant people.

Considering the post you have imagined that you have been offered, consider a few of the systems and practices that you feel would be helpful to your new school. How would you introduce them in a tactful way?

Every school is different and you will have a lot to offer. However, what is important is that you prioritise what you do in terms of the maximum effect on improving teaching and learning and the outcomes for school effectiveness.

We strongly advise at this point that you look again at Module 2, Unit 8, The Management of Change.

Using the experience of others
At this point, you will recall the various sections of this module which outline your responsibilities as a leader. The greatest of these is your duty towards others and to recognise their skills and knowledge and how it might compliment your own expertise. Planning for succession for a time when we will no longer be around is an important obligation. We must, therefore, ensure that we accept the skills of others and seek to use them in our planning and consultation. So many heads follow the maxim “If you want a job to be done well, then you must do it yourself”. This is often true but it will do your colleagues no favours. If they are to develop their skills, they must be allowed to practise them in a controlled, supported, no-blame environment.

In essence, you must learn to trust the abilities of others and, through appropriate delegation and consultation, use their knowledge and skills, listen to their advice and show them that they have a valuable contribution to make. This theme was developed considerably in Module One, Unit Five

Dos and don’ts
In conclusion, we will summarise some of the recommendations we have offered in the following chart:

What you ought to do

§ Prepare well
§ Deal with your emotions and anxieties
§ Be confident and decisive
§ Have a contingency plan for when you are challenged
§ Take time to explain changes
§ Set out your expectations early
§ Be knowledgeable
§ Hold staff accountable
§ Be a good role model
§ Have an attention to detail especially in learning and teaching issues
§ Do more listening than speaking at first
§ Evaluate your relationships and actions in your previous posts
§ Delegate
§ Prioritise your actions
§ Get to know your staffMake an impact in the first few weeks

What you should not do

§ Put friendship before leadership
§ Allow the personal to unduly influence the professional
§ Doubt your abilities
§ Be afraid your colleagues will not like you
§ Make promises too early
§ Try to do everything at once
§ Act without consultation
§ Do everything yourself
§ Consider your experience to be better than others
§ Feel that you will do things yourself to do them well
§ Feel pressured to make ill-informed decisions
§ Give way to pressure groups
§ Consider change to be an event and not a processConstantly refer to your previous school

We are sure that you will be able to think of many others and perhaps you could add some to the list at this point.

In this unit we have asked you to use your imagination and consider the implications for you of a new leadership post. You have been exposed to the various emotions and thoughts that you might have before taking up the post. We have looked at the effects that your appointment may have on others and their reaction to you and how you might ease for them the transition from one manager to another. Our aim was to help you to feel more confident about being a middle leader, member of a senior leadership team or headteacher.

We looked at some practical issues such as developing strategies for getting to know and understand your staff and how to make an impact in the first few weeks without making persons feel threatened by any changes you may wish to make. Finally we discussed the way you might use your own experience to date and that of other staff to your best advantage.