Successful Middle Leadership: An introduction to essential skills and responsibilities

Successful Middle Leadership: An introduction to essential skills and responsibilities

Primary, Secondary
Nov 2013


This practical course will enable middle leaders to adopt a range of leadership styles to meet various challenges, with resources and techniques that coach them through the process of motivating and stretching colleagues, challenging and managing conflict, leading change successfully, and making judgements about performance that impact on pay.


Successful Middle Leadership will boost confidence, rehearse skills and enable your new and aspiring middle leaders to:

  • understand the roles and relationships within their team and establish reasonable expectations
  • employ a range of leadership styles appropriate to different situations
  • improve performance using coaching techniques that allow them to challenge staff while maintaining a supportive and creative relationship
  • make informed judgements about performance which will impact on colleagues’ pay
  • run productive meetings with strong chairmanship and a facilitation approach
  • develop strategies to lead change effectively, using consultation techniques to win ‘buy in’ and ownership
  • understand key principles of conflict management and their role in formal procedures
  • foster inspirational leadership skills of professional reflection, negotiating ambitious goals and targets, innovation and risk taking and honest evaluation.

Why buy an Optimus Education DIY Training resource?

Successful Middle Leadership: An introduction to essential skills and responsibilities is part of the Optimus Education D-I-Y (deliver it yourself) training portfolio. Our D-I-Y training packages provide:

  • value for money – training sessions can be delivered multiple times to different groups of staff
  • comprehensive training materials – detailed training plans, presentations, handouts and a variety of practical activities to engage participants are all provided in the package
  • flexibility – training sessions can be customised with case studies, questions or exercises which are specific to your school’s needs
  • excellent quality – the training materials have been written by experienced trainers with expertise in the topic area; you benefit from their knowledge and guidance
  • measurable outcomes – each package includes ways to monitor effectiveness and learning outcomes.


Summary of contents

Successful Middle Leadership follows a training sequence that ensures practical exercises are grounded in a sound theoretical structure and that a progressive journey is followed.  It takes you from vision and the principles that underpin our actions, through to some of the more advanced skills of managing conflict, with opportunities for discussions, exercises and role play.

  • Enable informed judgements around performance-related pay
  • Motivate and challenge staff through supportive coaching
  • Tackle weakness and manage conflict effectively
  • Support the school’s ability to make progress

Training session breakdown

Training session 1 – Making the transition from teacher to middle leader

Learning outcomes:

  • consider different leadership styles and identify their varied uses
  • understand how to manage the transition from ‘us’ to ‘them’
  • know how to build a team and get through the difficult phase of team development
  • know how to delegate effectively.

Training session 2 – Leading teaching and learning in your team

Learning outcomes:

  • establish your vision and set clear expectations in your team, and an understanding of how team members will operate as professionals
  • establish a culture of reflective learning
  • discuss and agree a ‘philosophy of data’, so that it can be used positively to motivate and stretch colleagues.

Training session 3 – Leading on whole school priorities and managing change

Learning outcomes:

  • take the first crucial steps of change in a considered way
  • know how to consult colleagues and win them over
  • adjust your meeting format to suit the task.

Training session 4 – Performance Management: feedback and appraisal – a coaching approach

Learning outcomes:

  • distinguish between coaching and mentoring and the appropriate use of each in a performance management context
  • use coaching skills to establish goals and develop professional reflection in colleagues
  • explore data and other evidence to reach a shared understanding of the reality of the situation
  • negotiate SMART targets with the right amount of stretch and realism
  • coach colleagues in generating options for improved outcomes in their teaching.

Training session 5 – Managing conflict – holding team members to account

Learning outcomes:

  • be able to employ strategies for managing difficult discussions in a variety of contexts
  • manage conversations with colleagues containing negative feedback, during performance management or following lesson observations
  • know how to draw up a contract for improvement
  • know how to give bad news, in contexts such as performance-related pay
  • know when senior colleagues need to be involved and formal processes might be required.

About the expert

Edward Gildea is a former headteacher with 25 years’ teaching experience. He has since specialised in the challenging aspects of school leadership, change and conflict management and runs courses in these areas, all clearly focussed on improving school effectiveness. Edward has also written the bestselling Tackling Staff Underperformance DIY training resource.


  • A4 Ringbinder, c. 80 pages
  • CD-ROM containing PowerPoint presentations and accompanying resources


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