Leadership Development Series -Take the Lead

Have you ever wondered what might be the hopes and fears of people who may be considering a role in leadership? As leaders this is a question we should consider as we open opportunities for leadership roles in our communities. The first activity in the Leadership Development Series 1 (LDS 1), looks specifically at this question. Whilst the sample size, twenty participants over two years, might be considered small, the results from both groups have been identical. Surprisingly, the top hope and fear are the same, confidence. Confidence has many layers. For example, if we look at confidence as a hope, participants hope that LDS will give them the confidence to speak in front of others; to make decisions; to manage relationships; to have difficult conversations or to see feedback as a positive. Therefore, when asked what they are most concerned about, a consistent theme was a lack of confidence.

I believe that a lack of confidence can also reflect a lack of opportunity. If people are not given the opportunity to lead, then potentially a lack of confidence, is actually a fear of the unknown.

At the heart of the LDS is the Leadership Project. The project runs for the length of the series, and in some cases beyond. Each project, which is designed and implemented by the participant, must fulfill the following criteria.

  1. The project is a “passion”
  2. The project must relate to their role within the community
  3. The project will lead to enhanced outcomes for our students

In preparation for leading a project, we consider what characteristics are most admired in leaders.

The work of Kouzes and Posner over a thirty-year period showed that people want leaders who are honest, forward looking, inspiring and competent. Whilst we focus on these four characteristics, it is honesty (trust) that we spend the most time on.

take the lead image

Dr. Paul Browning the author of A Compelling Leadership reminds us that;

“To be trusted, you have to extend yourself by being available by volunteering information, by sharing personal experiences, and by making connections with their experiences and their aspirations.”

Between each LDS session I meet with each participant individually. In the first meeting between LDS 1 and 2 we discuss potential leadership projects. In this discussion we look at how we might start to build connections with potential team members, and how we extend ourselves and present confidently to those they might lead. I firmly believe that each person has a characteristic or skill that is a strength. This becomes an important tool in the early stages of leading a project.

This year our Leadership projects are:

  1. Develop GRIN Math’s strategies
  2. Part time staff guide
  3. Peer reading with EAL students
  4. Review the Rite Journey Program
  5. EAL program for CCW
  6. Resilience Project for Year 7
  7. Digital projects in Year 7/8
  8. Maths Flipped Learning
  9. VCAL resources for our community
  10. Yr. 7 Caritas annual event

As you can see, these projects are rich and expansive covering many different aspects within our community. Projects importantly incorporate other staff. From my observations, and discussions with staff, it is clear that deeper connections are being made as a result of the leadership projects. The ten LDS participants have moved into a space where they are “taking the lead”.

3 thoughts on “Leadership Development Series -Take the Lead

  1. Anne Doody

    Hi Darren, love your project! Leaders being very aware of their own strengths, and their awareness of others’ perspectives and emotional states in relation to any changes or expectations can be key to the effectiveness of their leadership. Regards, Anne Doody


  2. Genevieve O'Reilly

    Confidence is something the confident take for granted. Sounds like you’re having a good crack at building those capacities the underpin confidence. I’d like to hear more about your Maths projects.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s