Learning to Lead #2 The language of leadership

Much of the focus of our second ASLDP session, was to do with the qualities of Leadership and particularly, the “language of leadership”.  I hadn’t considered that there might be a “language” for leadership.  Of course schools, like everything else, rely on effective communication to function properly, but how apparent IS the influence of leadership in the day to day running of the school?  What would happen if the there was a lack of fluency, as in the case of poor Manuel? How does one learn this language?  I’m guessing there isn’t a series of CD’s giving easily-repeated sentences mastered in 5 easy lessons.

Everyone in the ASLDP group gave their perspectives on what they felt language for leadership looked like in their own schools.  What were the key messages? How were they communicated? How can we measure how EFFECTIVELY they are communicated?  I noted the responses given and used them to create the word cloud below; An interesting set of answers reflecting a diverse set of approaches and priorities in the schools represented by our group.

I thought about the language of leadership used in my own schools since the new Head Teacher’s appointment around 3 years ago.  We become familiar with two key messages –   “World Class” and “The Main Thing is the Main Thing” The second one is reflected in our focus on teaching and learning (which I allude to here) but I was asked by others in the group how “World Class” might be defined or measured – how was this language of leadership actually impacting on my school?  This was a good question and I thought about the “3P’s” of Leadership in Education that we had been introduced to earlier in the session;

  • Principle (moral basis of the school)
  • Purpose (core business of the school)
  • People (social relationships in the school)

I was able to think of numerous examples of how Leadership had influenced all three of these areas; I won’t list them but it was hard to think of any change in my establishment over the last three years that didn’t fit into these categories and that wasn’t driven by the key messages we  had heard on a regular basis. I felt there was clear, measurable impact in each case. So perhaps a case of managed-well, rather than Manuel? (Sorry!)

We covered some interesting ground on the qualities of good leadership in tonight and I gained some useful personal perspectives from the DH leading the session.  The challenge of leading people towards shared principles and practices in your school seems to depend so much on your ability to communicate these things effectively. I think it’s done pretty well at my place – how clearly is the language of leadership written through your school?

Is the language of leadership at the core of your school?

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