How to lead when you’re not in charge

If you work in FE Colleges, especially at middle management levels, or you’re involved with further education in a local authority or through a charity, you want the young people you support to have the best experience they can possibly have, writes Debbie Sorkin, National Director of Systems Leadership.

To make this happen, you often need to work with lots of different people in different sectors. You will have your learners, their families and carers. You will have your own staff teams and colleagues across your organisation, line managers, and people at the top of the organisation. And you will have prospective employers, partners in Higher Education, the NHS, local authorities and other stakeholders. 

Getting everyone facing in the same direction can be hard. People will have different perspectives and priorities. Cultures and expectations can be different. You might not be the most senior person in the room. So you won’t have a lever you can pull to magically make ‘stuff’ happen. You need to influence other people.  And that assumes you can get your voice heard in the first place.

How you lead when you’re not in charge

There is a new programme from the Education and Training Foundation (ETF), designed to help you work and lead more effectively in these situations. The two-day module, taking place in London on 15 January and 17 March 2020, will help you to:

  • build better relationships across sectors and organisations                   

  • engage with stakeholders

  • strengthen your influence

  • change the way people think so that they change how they work

  • build a sense of shared purpose and ambition

  • motivate your teams to work with change

  • work in real collaboration and partnership.

The programme, already rolled out successfully for people working in SEND earlier this year, is based on tried and tested tools and techniques you can try out to help you start to work – and lead – differently, build relationships and trust, align your goals so that people start pulling in the same direction, and make some real progress in working across other departments, organisations and sectors.

It is also grounded in practice, so you can apply these approaches to real-time issues that you’re facing. This programme is for you if you are:

  • a middle or senior manager in an FE College

  • a middle or senior manager working with the FE sector in a local authority

  • working in an Independent sector training provider

  • working in a community organisation with an interest in vocational education

  • a middle or senior manager working in Specialist Education.

Further information

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