Developing a collective profession
In the past people would compare teachers with doctors –this no longer makes sense.
Teaching has become a collective profession, there is real value in teachers collaborating together. Collective professions have three levels of capability, the first two are: those who are learning the profession – classroom teachers, and those who have mastered the work to a competent level and can help others become more effective through coaching/mentoring them and through building them into teams. I call this second group middle leaders.
The third level, senior leaders, assure the quality of the work, recruit and retain staff and ensure that the organisation is meeting the needs of its stakeholders – this is strategic work.
For some time now, senior leaders have been getting to grips with their level of work and have begun to really notice the need for capacity building of middle leaders.
What capacity building? Development of the ability to lead others in their own growth, to lead teams to achieve outcomes beyond each individual and – this is new – the ability to lead practice change both individually and as a group.
It is this latter ability that is the real key to the middle leader role. It is hard work to develop a data-based understanding of where current practices are today, work out where they need to be, and formulate a pathway to get there.
Hard but necessary. It is this that really makes the role and builds middle leader capacity.