Book Review: Stepping Into Senior Leadership

Stepping Into Senior Leadership by Jon Tait

At a glance
  • A practical pocket handbook filled with expert guidance, tips and advice for new and aspiring leaders
  • Written by a highly credible leader, Multi-Academy Trust Deputy CEO and Director of School Improvement
  • Invaluable tips for leading staff, pupils and parents
  • Find out what leading, organising and managing a school really involves
  • Thoughtful analysis and guidance rooted in reality

Can you cut the mustard as a senior leader?

Some people step into senior positions, some fall into them and others find themselves there by accident.

Whichever route you take, leadership gets a bad press and is a great thing to do but only with the right support.

A powerful source of support is Jon Tait’s new book, an easy-to-read resource filled with practical wisdom, personal insights and intelligent guidance that fosters healthy reflection.

Jon Tait 🎓 on Twitter: "Out tomorrow! 😊" / Twitter

This book will inspire and encourage leaders of all levels because it combines authentic experience and key insights from someone who has been on, and is still on, a leadership journey. This is a book of action, not rhetoric.

There are four parts to it containing 20 concise chapters that focus on a range of key areas such as preparing for senior leadership, transitioning from middle to senior leader, leading people and developing people.

Each chapter gets to the heart of the matter and provides a set of fascinating insights into what leading a school actually entails and just how diverse the job is.

The author begins by talking about selecting the right leadership pathway, plugging knowledge and skills gaps, picking the right school, planning applications and getting ready for interviews.

These then lead into understanding the contextual factors affecting leadership, how to ease into your new position and getting a firm grip on planning for school improvement.

Jon Tait

A number of chapters then explore what is surely the most critical part of being a leader: relationship management and how to build strong personal bonds. These discuss and nudge us to think carefully about leading change, having difficult conversations, holding others to account and getting the most out of meetings.

At the end of each chapter you will find a takeaway summary section with opportunities to stop, pause and reflect with ideas for further reading, suggestions for connecting with colleagues, personal reflection prompts and to do lists. These act like a practical companion for supporting, nurturing and encouraging you in your role so that you make continuous improvements.

The book ends with five chapters devoted to developing others and what we can do to develop ourselves including delivering innovative professional development and creating a climate of wellbeing, belonging and the conditions for growth.

Senior leadership isn’t for everyone and some wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. In the same way that football management doesn’t fit the boot of every football player, not every great classroom teacher wants to be Cinderella – the skills are completely different.

But if you do want to step up and have a pivotal influence on the school and its community and help others to become the best they can be then this fabulous guide will help you. It’s a high-quality professional development resource that for driving school improvement through a leadership lens.

Jon Tait’s book is wonderfully clear, engaging and practical with constructive guidance on every page. It acts like a cheerleader, coach and critical friend and is an immensely useful resource for any colleague keen to develop their leadership skills.

The verdict
  • Written in crystal clear prose, full of wisdom and insight
  • A friendly and accessible read with guidance based on day-to-day experience
  • Guides your vision, organisation, motivation and personal accountability
  • Demystifies the complex art of leadership and teaches you to handle ambiguity
  • Develops a bioteaming and swarming mindset
  • Inspires energy, encourages bravery and builds personal capacity
Upgrade if…

You are looking for a leadership resource that blends practical in-school experience with personal insights and tried-and-tested strategies for helping you achieve your goals and drive self-improvement.

Cost: Paperback £17.99, Ebook £16.19

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