special education resources
education, leadership

NPQML: Leaders vs Managers

As part of my NPQML we had to complete the age old difference between leadership vs management task. These are my thoughts.  The leaders project video we watched

states that Manager is not seen as an aspirational job for those looking to develop their leadership role. Aaron Tait hints that it does not conjure up the image of the charismatic go-getter portrayed in media. My Job title was Key Stage Manager, with a lot of administrative tasks attached but in the role I lead a team of teachers and support staff who need a leader to inspire their practice and a manager to ensure statutory tasks are allocated and completed. Aspects of leadership are vital if we are to stop ticking boxes and begin improving our practice. Likewise improvement strategies without a managed framework will be less effective and may not be targeted at the right areas.
My definition of a leader is an inspirational force that determines momentum of a process.

A manager ensures support and direction are provided, allocated and used effectively.

I have tried to avoid the negative connotations the Aaron Tait initially says can be attached to the title. Although I don’t disagree with him on this. Unlike Aaron I think that a manager ensure the direction is maintained whilst the leader drives the team forward. This is probably a question of accountability which we did touch on during our face to face day. As managers usually have the authority of a title and given tasks they must therefore be accountable for the results, you may or may not agree. Leaders can arise from anywhere in a hierarchy, their authority reliant on their ability to inspire followers to meet a need or project, if that project fails whose fault is it? That of the manager tasked with, and usually paid to ensure its completion. Or the member of staff who led the team to an unsuccessful conclusion? If there is an ethos of support and innovation within the school the roles of manager and leader would be clearly defined.

School leaders are often those who have demonstrated vision and capability in particular areas, they are paid to lead certain areas. It is probably only those that are effective managers that progress, as both sets of skills and personality traits are needed. The importance of growth mindsets are often discussed in relation to school improvement. Are SLT open to these ideas and are staff allowed to embrace this desire for improvement?

I manage and lead in equal amounts switching between the two many times a day. I also work as part of a leadership team whose members have differing strengths to mine. A team whose members compliment each others skills and support those areas others are weaker in will be much more effective than a team whose strengths are all in leadership or all in management.