Authentic leadership in schools: it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.


Or more precisely it’s ‘why’ you’re doing it.

I’ve been reflecting on what makes good leaders, good leaders. It interests me that there are some things that good leaders and not so good leaders do that are the same. But there is a subtle difference; why they’re doing it.

I will take a simple example, being on duty at lunchtime.

I have seen leaders on duty who interact with students, move them on, ask them to stop throwing food, ask them how they are etc and my feeling is that they are doing it to a) be part of the school, b) because everyone in the school has to do duties and they’re no different (empathy) and c) to be with the students (some leaders have little or no teaching so this is the time they can converse with the students).

However there are some leaders who do the same duty BUT there is a feeling that the reasons for doing it aren’t the same. There is one main reason that they are doing it; so they can say they do it. In staff briefings they can drop in ‘ whilst I was on duty yesterday…’ Or ‘ when I was talking to Billy yesterday whilst on duty….’. Or maybe even to beat others with it ‘if I can do duty (and I’m busier than you) then so can you’.

I don’t know what it is but teachers can seem to smell out the motives of some leaders. You cannot ‘fake’ your intentions or your feelings. And to me that’s what makes an authentic leader; they do it because they want to, because it matters beyond their own gain, because they’re genuine.

And that’s what gets results.

One thought on “Authentic leadership in schools: it ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

  1. Pingback: ORRsome blog posts from the week that was Week 49 | high heels and high notes

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