Helping school leaders find the right fit in their next role

Mans face as jigsaw puzzle

Whatever we can do to support school leaders, we should. School leaders make a significant and positive difference in schools – just ask Professor John Hattie – and a poor fit (even of a highly skilled and highly experienced leader who is just in a place which needs something different) is enormously costly, both financially and emotionally, for all concerned.

The tragedy of a poor fit in leadership is that it can result in outstanding leaders deciding to leave school leadership…and in a world which is crying out for great educators to help the next generation do a better job than current and previous generations, then this is absolutely not what any of us want.

So when research comes along which helps school leaders – and boards – to make wise choices in their next step, then we should share it. Last year, the team at LSC Education questioned over 200 leaders in international schools around the world about what had worked (and what hadn’t) in recruitment processes for roles which they had since found to be a good (or poor) cultural fit for them, and the results of this research provide fascinating – and very practical – insights that can be of real use to aspiring and current leaders in international schools. 

International School Leadership Research Findings

Front cover of International School Leadership Research 2018 Report  Insights into personal priorities in choosing a role include the high level of importance attached to shared values, and also the difficulty in identifying these values unless there is significant exposure to school life during the recruitment process.

Unsurprisingly, salary figures low down the list of priorities that school leaders have in choosing a role – and what this should flag up to boards is that school leaders will not necessarily behave in the same way as employees in other lines of work with which board members may be familiar (and they certainly can’t just be bought and sold, despite being a much-in-demand commodity).

Above all, the importance emerges of self-awareness – on the part of boards about what their school actually stands for and does, and how they represent themselves and their plans for the future; and on the part of candidates, who need to work out what they really, really want, and what they are best suited for, and then look for the clues and signs that the role for which they are considering applying is actually the right one for them.

It has been heartening seeing more candidates seeking out and benefiting from LSC’s career coaching service, and some boards are already very reflective and thoughtful about their recruitment processes, which is extremely encouraging. There is significant work to be done on all fronts, however.

You can download the research report here.

And good luck! Together we can help ensure that the right leaders are in the right schools, making a positive impact. When they are, they will make the difference for young people who the world needs.

This blog was originally published on Dr Helen Wright’s website >

Image by Richard Reid from Pixabay

About the author

Dr Helen WrightDr Helen Wright is the author of Powerful Schools: how schools can be drivers of social and global mobility. A nationally and internationally respected educational leader and advisor with over 2 decades of practical experience in futures-focused school leadership. A determined advocate globally for the education and development of young people and school leaders.

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