As a teacher, each day you’ll be leading, inspiring and motivating your students. Whether through planning lessons or assemblies, encouraging your pupils to learn or co-ordinating extra-curricular activities, leadership and people management skills will form a key part of your role.

Whatever your position or experience is, if you’re looking to advance your educational career and progress to a more senior position, it will help you if you build on your skills outside the classroom.

You may be aiming to become a senior teacher, a head of department, or even a head teacher. Whatever role you want, the type of leader that you will ultimately be will be unique to you. It will depend on your personality, teaching style, and the existing skills you have. But, there are multiple things which you can work on to really hone your leadership skills, and eventually put them to practice. So, here are three things to help you do this:

Find a mentor

A simple first step to improving your leadership skills is to ask someone, whose leadership style you admire or are interested in, to mentor you and help you build your skills. This could be someone within the education sector, for example your head of department or a member of the senior leadership team, or someone from outside of education who is also in a senior role. Any person who is able to lead a team, enforce successful policies, and deliver results whilst being respected by their team will be able to inspire you. You can then observe how they achieve this, and apply it to your own leadership style.

The first thing to do here is to establish a relationship, for example by asking for some initial advice, or asking them to observe how you teach or lead already, and provide feedback. It may also help you to set goals that you can work towards, and ask your mentor to provide constructive feedback. 

Work outside the classroom

To improve your leadership skills in the classroom, it’s important to proactively step outside of your daily classroom environment and get involved in wider school projects. By stepping outside of your day-to-day responsibilities, you can gain wider experience in leading, for example, by taking charge of running a school trip, or setting up a new after school club.

Whilst doing this, you’ll likely be working with other colleagues, building your experience of working in a team, whilst showing that you are committed to your role within the school. Plus, you’ll be able to network with influential members of departments. 

Improve your communication skills

No matter how good you are at leading, you’ll always be better if you can communicate your ideas and policies clearly and effectively. By definition, leaders aren’t shy and quiet, but neither do they have to be boisterous and demanding. Improving your communication skills is as much about actively listening to others as it is about improving both your verbal and non-verbal skills. This way, you’ll make yourself heard and make what you say coherent and persuasive. 

If you want to be listened to, trusted and respected by your team, ensure that you practise your style and take time out to understand your audience before you address them. This means listening to their concerns, understanding how they work and how they are likely to be motivated before you begin communicating demands or new ideas. 
If you'd like some more advice, get in touch with our specialist team today.