As an experienced Head of IB Schools, I have been trained and authorised to facilitate the IB Leadership series of workshops (

Recently I was teaching for a Master’s of International Education Administration (for Endicott College, Masachussetts, USA) and I needed to reflect on leadership hints and tips. In selecting only five, I had to think hard, and be selective in what I believe was important for my leadership journey. These are not in any particular order, but currently they are my top 5. I plan to deliver leadership and management training in Shanghai in October with 30+ middle level leaders, and I plan to use these as a ‘discussion starter’. I am keen to find out what I learn through this activity, so stay tuned for the reflection through this blog.

Deidre’s Top Five

  1. Integrity Matters – being known to be a person of your word is a critical component in building trust with those you work with. “Wisdom is knowing the right path to take … integrity is taking it.”
  2. Like people – leading schools and working in education means that you are often surrounded by people, and to get the best out of people you have to get to know them. So, the ability to like people and be interested in them as an individual allows you to get to know them so that you can build relationships and create a safe environment for learning.
  3. Know thyself – Be honest with yourself to know who you are, warts and all, your strengths and your areas for growth. You can then build teams by seeking others who will complement your strengths and areas for growth. The best decisions emerge when you have diversity around the table during discussions, and everyone is working to their strengths.
  4. Nurture others – Everyone has potential but not everyone has the necessary access to opportunity. My responsibility as a leader is to ‘find ways to connect with my team and help them reach their potential’. (Steven Sowell) As leaders, we should provide opportunities and access for others.
  5. Be courageous – To do the right thing often means having the courage to do it. Be guided by doing what is required to benefit student learning, despite the consequences.

Each leader will have their own ‘top 5 tips’ and stories from their own leadership journeys and the above list is by no means exhaustive or prescriptive. If you are an aspiring school leader, take time out to truly reflect on who you are, your strengths, your areas for growth and the reasons why you want to be a leader in a school. I hope that you use our top tips as a springboard to reflect upon what your top 5 leadership tips would be, and that this is helpful.