The qualities of an effective middle leader as far as I can tell are endless, endless energy, the ability perhaps to see through all the demands that are administrative demands and keep focused on the core business which is teaching and learning and where the students are at.
Someone who is passionate and positive, someone who is genuinely excited about education, someone who is willing to lead change whilst also being open to the challenges that are involved in leading change but pushing through that anyway.
Think you’ve got to be open and honest. You’ve got to celebrate the successes of your students, of your staff and of yourself. And you’ve also got to be willing to look at the places and ask yourself the hard questions.
I think you need to be a good listener, I think you need to be a good communicator and not be afraid of robust discussion and debate. I think you need to try and be inclusive and consult widely.
I guess being able to keep the big picture concepts in mind is really important.
I think empathy with students and with the staff in their department, where they’re coming from. I think subject expertise is really important.
But I think we need to be bold. And I think we need to start small, manage the change very carefully, work with the positive, encourage the other staff in your department to have a go at something.
You have to sustain the direction despite the obstacles you may have hit along the way because it’s essential that you do that. Things are never going to be completely smooth sailing.
But most of all creativity. Ways you can see interesting solutions for tricky problems or just exciting ways of doing things and always wanting to roll your sleeves up and have a go at something different.
A good middle leader is someone who promotes self efficacy. Someone who actually wants to see people to take greater responsibility for their own learning.
I’d also say that you have to have a vision - you need to have a personal vision, you need to help the faculty develop a vision and you need to link it to schoolwide. You’re not an island and I think that’s very important and I think the curriculum teaches us that very clearly. Part of that vision is vision for what a student who goes through your faculty will come out at the end. What are those qualities that you want?
An effective middle leader has to be a good teacher. And they have to be - to be a good teacher means to be committed to improvement yourself. Becoming a middle leader it doesn’t mean you’ve reached your destination as a classroom practitioner.