Leadership Insights from Beyond the Sector

linda simpson

Linda Simpson, Programme Assessor, the Education and Training Foundation, reports on leadership from beyond the FE Sector event, 1 May 2014.


Have you ever felt like you’re experiencing “Groundhog Day” in your role as a leader or when observing other leaders around the sector? Do you find yourself so tied up with cuts in funding and other fire fighting that you find yourself relying on formulaic ways of leading? Are you trying to be a “heroic leader”, but feeling the pressure?

The Education and Training Foundation has been charged with looking at leadership from a fresh perspective and, as part of that challenge, commissioned three projects to explore whether leadership insights could be found from beyond the sector. Representatives from across the Education and Training sector gathered in London on 1st May 2014 to hear some new thinking through the outcomes of those projects, join in some productive debate and to contribute to shaping the way the Education and Training Foundation works with the sector on leadership.

So how do you lead in these complex, volatile and sometimes chaotic times? We heard from Professor Toby Greany (Institute of Education), Tristram Hughes (CFE) and Richard Wilson (OSCA and author of “Anti-hero: The Hidden Revolution in Leadership and Change”). Some of the emerging themes were around:

  • the need for leaders, in an increasingly complex sector, to consider the context in which they are leading as well as leadership styles
  • distributed leadership and the recognition that leadership activities happen widely across organisations
  • system leadership and working beyond your own context.
  • the need for a different kind of leadership which will thrive in a complex environment

A lively debate was also had about the issue of making changes to provide the sector with a strong leadership pipeline. This piece of research was presented by Marilyn Hawkins for the AoC and it highlighted the need to re-visit recruitment and selection practices as well as identifying more effective ways of targeting and supporting the next generation of leaders.

There are further opportunities for you to contribute to the debate about what a professional and career framework for leadership development could look like.  Kate Green, from the 157 group, told us about the launch of “The Leadership Conversation”. Virtual brainstorming is a great way to gather sector leadership thinking about development for the future. Why not be part of this exciting opportunity by emailing brainstorming@leadershipconversation.info with your name, organization name and email address and get your link to take part.

To find out more, presentations for the day can be found below

 http://www.slideshare.net/E_T_Foundation/etf-1st-may-cfe-presentation-final

http://www.slideshare.net/E_T_Foundation/1st-may-etf-seminar-final

http://www.slideshare.net/E_T_Foundation/etf-1st-may-io-e-presentation-final

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