How to Unlock What You Have to Offer when You Already Have Staff Buy In

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As an ambitious school leader seeking to ascend to senior roles in the educational sector in Ireland, you likely find yourself in a unique position. You've already garnered the support and trust of your staff—a testament to your leadership skills and history. However, as you contemplate taking the next step in your career, you may wonder how to showcase your capabilities in your job application and interview - when the staff's buy-in is already secured.

Recognising Your Value

As a steady and natural leader - it's crucial to acknowledge the significance of the existing buy-in from your team in your preparation for your interview. This support isn't just a token of goodwill; it's a powerful asset that reflects your ability to inspire, lead, and collaborate effectively. Begin by undertaking a thorough self-assessment. This can be done by journaling, doing psychometric tests, asking others for how they would describe you (called a 360 Review) In your interview, you’ll want to show that you understand and you can articulate your unique leadership style and strengths. Self-awareness forms the bedrock of maximising your potential.

Leveraging Existing Support Networks

The relationships you've cultivated with your current staff are invaluable. Use these connections as stepping stones towards your senior leadership aspirations. They are likely to be spotting opportunities for you - in your own school and other schools in the area. They want to see you flourish in your own right and in a new role and environment. Isn’t that great?! Empower your team further—nurture leadership qualities within them. In your interview and job application, you can showcase the strength of collaboration and teamwork, highlighting these as fundamental aspects of effective leadership.

Innovating Without Disrupting

Balancing continuity and innovation is an art. Whether you’re applying for a leadership role in your own school or as an external candidate - you’ll want to respect their culture before making massive changes in the way that things are done there. In your interview, you’ll want to show them that you have your own vision - AND show them the panel that you can bring the team along with you. Reassure them that you will embrace change while honouring established systems and practices.This is where your soft skills of negotiation, active listening, follow-up, building trust, teamwork, etc - really come into play! Have you thought about how you can communicate your vision for progress without alienating the existing team? In your interview, you should emphasise the value of incremental change and strategic implementation. As a new Senior Leader, the best start is to create a harmonious transition and bring your middle management and whole school staff along with you. 

Continuous Self-Development

I know that you’re continuously engaging in courses, and having professional dialogues with colleagues and your wider network to enhance your learning and to improve your school. Why? Commitment to growth is key. In your job application, you aim to showcase your ongoing professional development initiatives and learning endeavours in a way that shows that they have made an impact. Using the STAR technique you’ll be sharing personal anecdotes or examples illustrating how self-improvement led you to improved leadership LAOS competencies. 

Leveraging established staff buy-in for your senior leadership aspirations requires a delicate balance of appreciation and aspiration. Recognise the value of the trust you've gained from your team in the knowledge that they see something great in you. 

PS: If this sounds like you and you’d like to learn how to showcase clearly what you have to offer - The Career Accelerator Program is for you.

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