Hero or Hero Maker 

An extract from my #niedcamp keynote … I said a whole lot more but I’ll skip to the good bits. 

  Photo courtesy of Alistair Hamill 

It has been a long standing joke that I wear my pants over my trousers, like many superheroes gone before me. To be honest initially I enjoyed the compliment until I thought about how ridiculous it would look if I trooped into school dressed in such a manner. 

But it did make me think.

Roland Barth comments

‘The best principals are not heroes; they are hero makers’

I have reflected on this for some time. My background is in school improvement and curriculum support – I quite liked the idea that I had swooped in to assist someone’s educational disaster. Being a hero was fun, I was quite good at it. 

I felt I footed the bill, I had some true heroic qualities – I have great courage, I am extremely caring, I could demonstrate selflessness and could show patience – I thought I was truly the hero of the hour at times. 

In my first leadership post, I soon realised that I could not be the hero full time. Fire fighting the day to day issues is pretty exhausting as for wearing the pants over my trousers – I looked ridiculous! 

I quickly realised that I needed to look at the people around me to see who I could develop to become a potential leader and ultimately assist me to fight against another school day. 

In order to become a hero maker, I knew I had to make modifications. I had to be like a radiator and be a better role model.

Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others 

Jack Welch

  1. Lead by example – not only in management but by demonstrating that I understood my superhero power – teaching. Pedagogy shouldn’t be your kryptonite. Not knowing your craft makes you weak.
  2. Believe in teamwork. I love the leadership example of Sir Dave Brailsford and his belief in the concept of building successful teams. I shared this clip from investors in people about his five top tips for outperformance
  3. Mentor and coach my colleagues make them podium people.
  4. Motivate the staff by celebrating success and rewarding them when possible
  5. Relationships at all levels are vital to the hero maker. No one wants to work with someone who displays mushroom management qualities i.e they get covered in manure and when they have an idea if they mention it they risk getting their head chopped off! Promote colleagiality.
  6. Inspire others through my enthuasim – if you show you not care you will create that culture. Make the little things count. Remember you create the weather and influence the temperature in the staff room.
  7. Have a vision not for the here and now but for the future.
  8. Don’t forget the children and young people in your care are tomorrow’s heroes – in everything you do at school make them your focus. Your staff will see your moral purpose shines through if you put the kids first. 

Remember a hero says “go” and a hero maker says “let’s go”

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