Doughnut Leadership

Photo by Tim Gouw on

I listened to two interviews on Radio 4 this morning that encapsulated for me one of the challenges we face. The first was with a member of the “Covid Recovery Group” enthusing and insisting that we should be opening schools and restaurants, and giving dates. Very much a “when, regardless” approach.

The second was with a head teacher of a number of schools who actually will have to do the work. His view was driven by Why? and How? He explained the logic and pressures of bubbles, teacher availability, phasing and above all pupil impact and continuity.

The difference between the two was the first was in the centre of the education doughnut where nothing of substance exists, whilst the second is responsible for the flavour. I’m not clear what the motivation of the first is, although shadowy “research groups” have a history of bouncing politicians into decisions for expediency for their sponsors, whilst those who do the work do it for their clients and have to live with the consequences.

We need to empower the people at the edge. The role of those at the centre is simply to define the mission, and resource them accordingly. By all means say “when” but deliver the resources for them to do it.

Whilst this has always been the case, it’s more obvious in times of rapid change. The only people who can keep up are those doing the work and taking responsibility.

People at the centre who want to dictate detail are a liability.

Resource doers, not advisers and lobbyists.

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