Teaching profession needs to look beyond “heroic myths” to develop next generation of leaders

Teaching profession needs to look beyond “heroic myths” to develop next generation of leaders

It’s time to cut through the “heroic myths” of great leadership, a trade union chief has warned on the eve of this year’s Inspiring Leadership Conference (ILC).

More than 1,500 education leaders will attend this year’s event, in Birmingham, organised by the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT), the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the CfBT education trust.

On the eve of the conference, where Schools Week is media partner, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the NAHT, has called for a fresh look at what makes a good leader.

He said: “The most effective leaders were honest even when it was difficult to be so. They worked hard, paid attention and got involved.

“They had, and kept, priorities. Many effective leaders got closely involved in what would be considered fairly routine ‘personnel’ decisions.

“They understood and cared about the needs of those they worked for. They were often good but not glib communicators, using their intellectual and emotional honesty to provide clarity.”

Mr Hobby, in a new blog published today, argues leadership is rarely about “blinding flashes of strategic insight” and says strategy is “made up in retrospect, as a narrative created to explain reactions, damage control and blind luck.” He added: “If we are to develop the next generation of leaders in our schools, and equip them well, we must look beyond the rhetoric, beyond the folklore and see with open eyes what leaders actually do. We need an evidence base which is grounded in more than assertion.

“This is a role for the profession, who are closer to reality, far more than policy makers.”

The conference starts today and runs until Friday.