Leadership Development and Personal Effectiveness

“If you want to be a great leader, you have to be a real human being. You must recognise the true meaning of life before you can become a great leader. You must understand yourself first”. (Senge, 2004)

Boyatzis’ Theory of Self-Directed Learning is useful for leaders in discovering who they really are and who they want to be. This is something I have been working on for a while – I feel I know what my strengths and gaps as a leader are, and I am consciously trying to use my strong points to develop my weaker areas. 


“Being true to myself means being true to my own originality, and that is something only I can articulate and discover. In articulating it, I am also defining myself”.

(Taylor, 1991)

I can only really be myself; I will never like having challenging conversations. Fact. I just need to get out of my comfort zone a little…


My Ideal Self  – words I’d like to hear in my retirement speech…




My Real Self – what am I really about?

the real me

My Learning Agenda – How do I build on my strengths and reduce the gaps between my ideal and real self?

real self

I’m happy with the person that I am both in my work and home life but there is always room for improvement – better never stops!

Leadership Development

I am in the fortunate position of working alongside a Headteacher who has confidence in me, challenges me and most importantly trusts me. We support, coach and question one another and this allows for deep learning experiences for both of us.

Experimenting with new behaviour

Although I continually reflect on my actions I feel I would benefit from logging these reflections to support my development and this blog will enable me to do this on the go. (Thanks to the wordpress app and my beloved iPad!)

If I am truly honest with myself, I don’t like getting feedback from others. I take things too personally and don’t like the idea of failure. Throughout NPQH I am going to ask a range of colleagues to give me honest, open feedback as I know this will help me to develop further.

Learning Through Authentic Relationships

“A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole”.

(Tutu, 2000)

This quote underpins the importance of networked relationships…

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Colleagues at work
  • Other school leaders (The world of Twitter)
  • Mentors/Coaches
  • Advisors and consultants

In my personal experience, all of these relationships have supported my leadership and personal development. My presence on Twitter allows me draw upon a rich repertoire of helpful, like-minded and experienced individuals throughout the world. These virtual relationships have development my leadership skills, challenged my thinking and expanded my understanding of education in the UK and further afield.


It’s helpful to think of these relationships as an orrery.


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About mrsdonaldson

I am a Primary Deputy Headteacher in Liverpool. I'm passionate about all things digital, collaborative learning and 3rd millennium teaching models. Outside of school I am a keen skier, gym-goer and party planner!

One response to “Leadership Development and Personal Effectiveness”

  1. John Donnelly says :

    I have just read most of your posts, and only found your blog because I noticed you had followed mine. Fantastic reading, I am trying to get all slt at my school to get on twitter, #sltchat and if I can to get blogging….I shall direct them all to yours. Thank you 🙂

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