The First 15 Lessons of Headship

Saturday February 10, 2018

Nothing prepares you for headship other than headship.

Based on our experience and observations, these are the first fifteen lessons that any new head learns.

And learns quickly.


  1. Essentially, leadership is the process of making it up as you go along and dealing with what happens next.

  2. Establishing a vision is important, not losing sight of it more so.

  3. Impose values, not rules.

  4. At the end of every inclusive, distributed and consultative process someone needs to make a decision and that person is you.

  5. ‘I’m sure they mixed the letters up’ - Imposter syndrome is a thing so you have to learn how to handle it

  6. ‘Is it me? It must be? It’s me isn’t it?’ - No, it's not you. It's them!

  7. It’s really lonely at the top.

  8. A good head makes things happen but a good deputy makes sure things happen.

  9. The gap between deputy and headship is a massive leap compared to step up from middle management to deputy.

  10. You not only have less time for bullshit, you can smell it at greater distances now.

  11. You better understand your troublesome kids when you meet their parents.

  12. Only other heads understand what you’re going through.

  13. You really appreciate praise and it often comes when you least expect it.

  14. Every day there is something that can only be filed under 'weird shit’!

  15. There isn’t a day that cannot be improved by a glass of Prosecco.

If you're a new head and any of this sounds familiar be reassured, you're not alone. Honest.


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