When it comes to leadership, I want to be a door opener

Belonging, Human First Leadership

I once asked my six-year-old what he wanted to do when he grew up.

In one breath he told me that he wanted to be firefighter and then, at the weekend, change his trousers and be a police officer until he had enough money to buy his own football kit, then leave the force and become a professional footballer, before retiring because his knees “hurt like Daddy’s do” and become an architect instead so he could sit down a lot.

I wish I’d had that clarity at 36 let alone 6!

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I bang on a lot about getting clear around your WHY. When Simon Sinek put into words what I had only thought about in his fantastic TED talk, I began relating it to teaching and leaning as well as myself.

So here’s me:

WHAT’S MY WHY? I want to be a catalyst for change in the same way teachers were for me.

HOW AM I GOING TO DO THAT? Through celebration and provocation. Through sharing the transformative power of my personal story.

WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE? Coaching teachers, running teaching and learning interventions in school, delivering literacy training and talks as INSET and online, sharing ideas and resources generously and freely on social media, connecting teachers and encouraging collaboration.


It might come as a surprise but I don’t want to be a leader. Sure, I want to empower by asking questions and standing shoulder to shoulder with teachers and learners as they work their way to the answer, but I don’t want people to rely on me having all the answers in case it stops them from searching and discovering themselves.

Recently, I have found the perfect metaphor:

I want to be a door opener.

I want to walk alongside you, sharing ideas together, supporting you when you stumble, encouraging you to take risks, celebrating with you and helping you laugh at your failings while we reverse engineer what success looks like.

In order to be most resourceful to you, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is and commit to authentically living my brand, even when it makes me feel vulnerable. I know that matching what I say and do with what I think and feel is more powerful that giving advice whilst secretly being a hot mess.

Then, when you believe in your own talents and ability in a way you previously didn’t think possible, I want to stand by the door, with a mahousive grin of genuine delight plastered across my face and open it for you, letting in the blue sky and sunlight waiting on the other side.

I want to be a door opener. What about you?


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