Leadership in Focus

A significant aspect of the School Leaders Organiser role is working with each of the school organisers to support both leaders and staff to create proactive approaches to system requirements or resolve any issues that are likely to build resentment or resistance.

The SSTUWA is clear in that it collectively promotes schools being managed and run collaboratively; the Agreement, Award, Act, Regulations and Department of Education (D of E) policies all require collaboration before implementation in all but a very few circumstances.

This is where schools can be assisted by the SSTUWA to build a harmonious, team-oriented approach, something that research consistently highlights as an imperative to the functioning of highly effective schools.

Leaders usually discover that the longer they are leaders, the use of positional power becomes a negative force and they quickly realise they need to enhance their personal skill set to include strategies and tactics to empower staff to ensure positive outcomes for all. Fullan, Cuttress and Kilcher in their article of 2005 “8 Forces for Leaders of Change” wrote:

“6. Focusing on leadership for change.

One of the most powerful lessons for change involves leadership. Here change knowledge consists of knowing what kind of leadership is best for leading productive change. High-flying, charismatic leaders look like powerful change agents but are actually bad for business because too much revolves around the individuals themselves.

Leadership, to be effective, must spread throughout the organization. Collins (2001) found that charismatic leaders were negatively associated with sustainability. Leaders of the so-called “great” organizations were characterized by “deep personal humility” and “intense professional will.” Collins talks about the importance of leadership that “builds enduring greatness” in the organization, rather than focusing on short-term results. The main mark of a school principal at the end of his or her tenure is not just that individual’s impact on student achievement, but rather how many leaders are left behind who can go even further….. Change knowledge, then, means seeking leaders who represent innovativeness — the capacity to develop leadership in others on an ongoing basis. We need to produce a critical mass of leaders who have change knowledge. Such leaders produce and feed on other leadership through the system. There is no other driver as essential as leadership for sustainable reform.”

Experienced leaders know that this is the hardest lesson to learn; they also know the better they become at empowering others to lead, the more effective their schools become.