Review by Jill Berry

8 Jan 2016, 6:00

Jill Berry’s top blogs of the week 4 January 2016

Educational leadership is something I’m particularly interested in; supporting aspiring and serving leaders has been a major part of my professional life since I finished full-time headship five years ago. For my first review column this year, I want to focus on leadership, and recommend a series of posts that might be useful, wherever you are on your leadership journey – even if you’re at the “I wouldn’t ever want a leadership role” stage. In my experience, what we want out of our career can change as time passes, so it’s wise never to say never.

Leading a winning team


Shaun Allison focuses on what makes a successful middle leader, though I would suggest that what he says is true of leaders at all levels; being a middle leader, senior leader or a head isn’t significantly different in nature, only in scope/scale.

It takes all sorts …

@kerryjordandaus via @staffrm

In this @staffrm post Kerry Jordan-Daus similarly explores the idea that “we are only as good or as great as our team and the combination of our collective efforts”, whether you lead a department, a section or a school.

10 things everyone should know about great school leaders


Mark Anderson describes the characteristics that, in his experience, great leaders share, including the recognition that they are not perfect and are always learning. It’s a great post to encourage you to reflect on how the leaders you have known rate, and how you measure up as a leader or a potential leader.

What might you add to Mark’s list?

For leadership, do you need a ladder or a compass?

@Bill_George via Huffington Post

Bill George outlines both the challenges and the opportunities of leadership, as we test and prove ourselves on our leadership journey: “Each leadership experience provides myriad opportunities for personal growth and to discover your true north.”

Visits & visitors: telling your leadership story


Stephen Tierney describes making a visit to another school, and hosting a visit, leading him to consider the importance of this question for school leaders: “What is/would be the story of the school you lead or hope to lead in the future?”

In praise of headteachers


Despite the title of the blog, ChocoTzar describes in her own inimitable way how heads can get it wrong; the choices we make and the way in which we lead says a great deal about us, as people as well as professionals. She asks: “Do you want to be a headteacher? Why not?” – which made me think of the question a serving head asked the delegates as a #womened hub event in the autumn: “If not you, then who?”

Course correction. The leadership path is never straight


Tom Sherrington reflects on what he is learning in the early stages of his second headship, and how incoming heads inherit a good deal, while they also start to carve out their own path. Along the way, they have to be prepared to adapt, while remaining true to their vision and core values.

Labour: House of Cards in the staffroom


Finally, Jonny Walker considers what we can learn from the developing leadership story in the current Labour party, and how this might relate to our own experience of staffroom politics and leadership in an educational context. I guarantee that this will make you smile AND make you thoughtful.

Very best wishes for 2016. Might this be the year when you begin to fulfil your own leadership potential?

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