The extraordinary ordinary

The extraordinary ordinary
What comes to mind when we think of an exceptional leader, or an exceptional school? There are many ways in which a leader or a school might be exceptional, but a characteristic they often share is that they do not consider themselves to be anything special. High-performing schools in the SSAT Leading Edge network very frequently say “We don’t do anything particularly different here.” Similarly, in discussions with the exceptional leaders who are speaking at this year’s Women in Leadership and Education event, several conversation have opened with “are you sure I’m right for this?”

Women in Leadership

It seems that many exceptional leaders think that whatever a great leader is, they don’t quite fit the bill. Whilst we often talk about different leadership types, perhaps there is a tendency to equate inspirational leadership with being highly assertive, unwaveringly confident, standing on a stage or indeed wanting to stand on a stage.

Of course some leaders are unusually brave, or charismatic, but these idealised perceptions bypass the fundamental messiness of leadership. Even the very best leaders get things wrong. Exceptional leaders doubt themselves, find things difficult and question whether they are up for the job, just like everyone else. ‘Ordinary’ people frequently achieve extraordinary things – indeed often through being relatable, honest and willing to admit that they don’t have all of the answers.

In schools, the extraordinary is often constructed in small steps amongst the everyday. Care and attention gradually builds the confidence of young people; careful coaching develops leaders who will shape the future and attention to detail ensures that no child goes unnoticed. In the day-to-day business, these things may feel ordinary, but they change lives.

Our forthcoming Women in Leadership and Education event encourages people to bring themselves to leadership, challenging preconceptions about what exceptional leadership can and should be. We hope that you’ll join the conversation.

Women in Leadership and Education

Leadership progression in education is not a level playing field. Whether deliberately or unwittingly, women, and particularly women from ethnic minorities are frequently disadvantaged.

Join us on 18 June 2024 and get ready to be inspired.

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