Leadership Ladders

Good leadership at every level is critical for the success of all schools and all organisations. This is the conclusion of numerous educational and commercial studies. Often the term ‘leadership capacity’ of the organisation is used without clearly defining how it could be measured or improved. I have used the leadership ladders as both a method for measuring leadership capacity and as a mechanism for testing impact.

When I mention leadership at every level, it is the continuum of leadership skills I am referring to which range from a minimal ability of any employee to take responsibility for leading themselves and helping others complete their leadership role, right through to those who are highly skilled leaders of large organisations.

Leadership by Ladders !

On this site I attempt to take the biggest of problems and break them up into achievable steps.  This approach has been particularly effective in developing leadership.  The starting point, as always is to deconstruct the simplest case of leadership and then develop from this point building in additional skills and capabilities as appropriate.

Leadership at levels

Level 1Supporting the Team by Being Reliable and Keeping to Deadlines
LAll staff – Colleagues can rely on you to prioritise and manage your own workload so others are not having to chase and prompt.  You take responsibility for your role and can separate personal from professional conduct. Students – Can achieve this level through consistent reliability / employability.

Level 2. Being an Active Member of the Team
Staff – People rely on you for your positive professionalism including coaching others in the team to complete their own tasks on time so the whole team is successful. You know the Ethos of the school and actively protect and support it. Students – Bring together a team of qualified level 1 students to achieve goals.

Level 3. Using Your Initiative to Develop good Solutions to Problems
Staff – You close down negativity by focussing on what can be changed and coming up with solutions based on passion and vision you can own.  You are keen for your ideas to be used by others and keen to empower other staff to develop solutions of their own.  Staff will tend to seek you out as a source of support or expertise.
Level 4. Taking a Leading Role and a Responsibility for Coaching Others
People doing a job or project needing a team For this job, opportunity or temporary project you have been given the authority to direct others.  You systematically coach each member of your team up through levels 1 to 3 through balancing support and challenge.  (Expectation for a H grade or UPS1 teacher)
Level 5. Action Planning to Bring About Changes in the Practice of a Team
People accepting accountability for a team or project All middle leaders, UPS 2 or grade J staff will have such accountability but others can request to temporarily take on such a role to develop their leadership skills. Your main role is to coach others in your team to higher leadership levels whilst at the same time requiring them to change their practice then show that the changes you have achieved have led to improvement.  To give an idea of the scale, usually you will get at least one team member up to level 4 in the process.  
Level 6. Professional Knowledge that you use Wisely and Check for Impact
Experienced Middle Leaders, Senior Leaders You are a ‘power house’ within the organisation, regularly making changes happen which are based on sound research, promote the vision and direction of the organisation and are properly triangulated for impact.  You have earned the trust of the organisation because you are unfailingly professional in your approach, praise accurately and are committed to developing the leadership skills and practice of everyone.  Your wider reading and research mean that you seldom fall into a ‘snake oil’ trap.
Level 7. Full and delegated complex, multi-faceted responsibility
Able to utilise the skills of a wide range of people to consult effectively and implement ideas that challenge current practice for most staff.  Ensuring credit is effectively shared and apportioned away from themselves to those they are developing.  Equally ensuring blame is reduced through taking responsibility. If not yet a Headteacher you will have demonstrated the ability to deputise in all of the leadership roles of the Headteacher with excellent communication via email and face to face to ensure a combined vision, direction and passion.  Well-read and well informed foundations allowing you to accurately conduct whole school peer reviews.

Level 8,9 and 10.  Responsible action across numerous schools and teams
Bringing about measurable improvements across two or more organisations in a MAT or in a way which informs others in the MAT and empowers them to make similar improvements within their own context.  Systematically building the leadership capacity of all those you work with. Engaging in five year strategic planning so that every change that is brought about contributes logically to a larger scale vision.
Providing decisive, honest and critically accurate feedback to leaders.Strategically uses opportunities to bring on leaders at every level.Role model for child centred ethos.Management of multiple internal businesses within budget
Opportunities to speak regionally and nationally, or develop followings that bring about change based on sound research challenging bias or opinion, Spreads ethical leadership.

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