21st Century Leadership is changing. To by salt, Deputy Chief Executive and strategic director for school leadership development, national college for school leadership development, National College for leadership of schools and children's services (UK), National College, The wise education summit that was recently held in Doha.
How is the notion of 21 st century leadership changing?
Increasing public aspirations and expectations coupled with the trend of granting greater autonomy to schools in many high performing education systems has translated to the fact that today the demands placed on individual leaders are much higher than before.
If our leaders, who we expect so much of and rely so much upon, are to remain effective and focused on the issues that matter, they must distribute their widening leadership responsibilities to those who have the necessary expertise. The most effective leaders of our time endeavour to build a high-performing team, rather than wear themselves down by trying to be the expert leader in each and every area. For example, in England, thousands of schools have recruited school business managers, trained experts who lead on ‘back office’ issues such as finance and human resources, enabling the head-teacher to focus on the school’s core work — providing high and consistent standards of teaching and learning. We know that giving leaders and schools greater autonomy and responsibility can result in higher standards, but we must ensure it is achieved in a way that doesn’t ultimately distract leaders from their core focus.
What do you think makes a global leader?
A global leader does not simply aspire to a level of performance considered sufficient at a local or even national level, but rather seeks to learn from and aspire to emulate the very best practice wherever it is taking place, irrespective of distance, geography or sovereign boundaries. Global leaders are indomitable in approach — they recognise that the learning journey and the quest to get even better never ends, even if their schools or organisations are outstanding. They also recognise that the opportunity to learn and improve increases if their outlook is wider.
Does change in leadership values imply discarding traditional values or embracing modern values or blending both?
We know that the very best leaders are driven by their commitment to improve children’s lives. The notion of leading in order to serve children stems back to the very foundations of all education systems and remains fundamental even today. The very best leaders inspire and motivate those they lead by communicating and modelling a strong sense of purpose through everything they do. They ensure that our often-complex modern education institutions succeed by aligning and prioritising work so that their staff are empowered to make the biggest difference in terms of achieving that sense of purpose.
For example, recent international research tells us that headteachers and principals work 60 hours a week on an average — irrespective of the country they work in. However, those in highperforming countries spent more of their time focusing on developing staff and made improving the standard of teaching and learning a core priority.