The future leaders challenge

Is leadership greatness beyond our reach? Many would have us think so! But the great leaders are everyday people willing to put themselves forward, to do the everyday, day after day, in order to make a change.


But how many great leaders are out there, secretly loitering in the corridors or recesses of school classrooms that don’t perceive their own potential, or believe in their own ability? What are the barriers that hold people back?

At a recent women in leadership event, I discovered some startling facts about women in senior leadership roles. For a profession dominated by women, only 38% of them aspire to headship roles, and women in those roles earn significantly less than their male counterparts! Why is this, and is this why so few women become head teachers?

There are many barriers that prevent women stepping up:

  • The sandwich effect, looking after young children and / or caring for elderly parents
  • Risk associated with increasing accountability measures in schools
  • Lack of good, visible role models
  • Inflexible leadership progression routes and unclear succession planning
  • Blockades created by governors and stakeholder organisations

The list goes on, however the one barrier that sticks in my mind and it is not necessarily a gender issue but a common human flaw, is that we tend to support, encourage and champion talent that looks like us and who we can relate to! But that is not a sound basis for developing future leaders. These barriers should be challenged but in a way that generates thought-provoking discussion about cultivating leadership talent that will create schools that foster dynamic, resilient and prepared learners.

Jill Berry, a former head is one person challenging the barriers women face into leadership roles. Together on episode 22 of the Inspiration 4 Teachers Podcast Show Jill and I discuss how removing some of the leadership barriers can cultivate an environment where talent can flourish.


Episode take-aways:

  • How current leaders can create a talent environment where aspiring leaders are nurtured
  • Enriching professional development
  • Strategies for building relationships

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