Home' Independence : Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 2009 Contents Independence Vol 34 No 2 Oct 09 63
LEADERSHIP & MANAGEMENT
'It was an eye opener for me.'
'I realised that the Principal's role can
be different from the deputy's -- it can
be more protected, with more time for
'I observed strategies for empowering
others to take responsibility, enabling
the Principal to do his own job and
stopping him from taking over theirs.'
'I wanted to see leadership and
management, but saw a lot more
leadership and realised that Heads
should be doing a lot more leadership.'
'I observed a very different balance
between role of Board and Principal in
driving the vision of the school from my
'I observed the importance of the "fit"
between the head and the culture of
'It was a very validating experience. It
confirmed that I could do the job, but
not the way my current Head does it --
it's different in different schools.'
'A key learning for me was that you
really need to enjoy the role to do it
properly. Without the passion and the
right fit, the role would be extremely
'It was an opportunity to see the
Head-bursar relationship in reality
and recognise the importance of this
'The importance of relationships (at
different levels) was really highlighted
'I saw a very different school context to
what I was accustomed to.'
• Developing clear goals for the visit and
a list of the activities they would like to
observe in order to achieve those goals.
An important part of the preparation
process undertaken by ISLC is to also
work with the experienced Heads before
they are shadowed. Heads assist in
the refinement of the procedures and
protocols which form an important basis
for the experience. These focus on issues
• Not intruding into the activity being
observed unless invited
• Clarifying observations respectfully
• Dressing appropriately for the context
• Providing feedback appropriately if
• Debriefing effectively with the Head
• Being genuinely present
• Demonstrating genuine commitment
to the process, which should include
being present for the Principal's entire
Confidentiality and anonymity
Program participants are reminded that
the host Principals have generously
offered their time and opened their
school to assist in developing leadership
capacity in the independent sector
and that therefore it is important that
confidentiality is observed at all times.
In addition to confidentiality, each Head
and aspiring Head is asked not to divulge
the identity of their partner. By agreeing
to this anonymity, most participants are
included in any challenging aspects of the
Head's day and are able to report back on
these and discuss any outstanding issues, to
the enormous benefit of the whole cohort.
Guiding principles for confidentiality
relating to the shadowing experience
• The names of the schools and
Principals observed are not shared
among the group
'A key learning for me is that I saw
potential in the quiet, unassuming
'Interaction with students was frequent
and the Head clearly 'knew' students.
The Head also took a senior tutor
group and I see this continuing link with
students as critical.'
'My key learning was the importance of
trusting the senior management team
to do their jobs and to challenge them
in a supportive way by asking questions
that require them to reflect on their
processes, decisions and thinking.'
'The Principal sees his work as a
blessing and that inspired me.'
'I learned that the benchmark of
excellence starts at the top.'
'I was very reassured to learn that
you can be completely human and
comfortable in your own skin and do
this role well. It is not necessary to
appear to be hard or ego driven.'
'Financial capacity enables many of the
possibilities that occur, but they still
need to be made to happen.'
'You need to have something other
than school that you are passionate
'A clear structure to the day creates a
capacity for the day to progress at a
relatively calm, albeit constant pace.'
'I learned that the role doesn't have to
be daunting if you employ good staff.'
'Use the PA effectively!'
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