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Finding your leadership inspiration

Kiran Satti

Kiran Satti has been teaching since September 2010, gaining experience across EY, KS1 and KS2. She is currently leading English and is part of the Shireland Academy Trust. Kiran has a MEd in Teaching Studies, which still informs her practice, and has taught in Tanzania. Through Twitter, she is now a regional leader for @Womened’s @WomenedWM. Kiran is also part of the Teachers as Readers Open University research group, as well producing Reading Journey materials for Just Imagine.

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Leadership – an interesting word with many connotations. Throughout my teaching career, I have experienced a range of leadership styles. Holistic. Volatile. Aggressive. Manipulative. The one thing they all had in common was the fact they were not role models. They didn’t inspire any interest for me to become, or in fact, believe I could be a leader. I didn’t fit the mould:


I am not aggressive, but will be assertive.
I am not loud, but will voice my thoughts.
I am not ruthless. I am kind.
I am not data driven. I am driven to make a difference.


See how I don’t fit the leadership archetypes?


One major thing I noticed was the lack of emotional intelligence many leaders demonstrated. Considering the fact that we work with young humans, in my eyes emotional intelligence is one of the most important intelligences you develop and listen to. I’ve always believed that leadership is to be in service of others. But most importantly, you lead from your values; what you believe in; your why. However, I hadn’t seen that to be the case in my teaching career, and so very quickly decided I couldn’t be a senior leader (I was wrong).


A senior leadership role that fits your why – that’s what I’ve always sought, which throughout my career became an enigma. An impossible truth. A fairytale-esque fallacy. However, that changed when I found the network WomenEd. Their ‘8Cs of #WomenEd’ have been tremendously inspirational for me:

1. Clarity
2. Communication
3. Connection
4. Collaboration
5. Community
6. Confidence
7. Challenge
8. Change


These eight words hold a sense of conviction now, and have become part of my leadership vocabulary, one that has evolved into a hopeful and possible truth. Vivienne Porritt, Viv Grant, Hannah Wilson, Kat Schofield, Maria O’Neill, Kathryn Morgan, Jill Berry and AnneMarie Williams have proven to me that there is a senior leadership role that fits your why. Leadership IS supposed to serve others. It must be informed by your values - otherwise, how can you be authentic? How can your words and actions hold any truth if they don’t align with each other?


Through #WomenEd, I believe I can be more of a leader. I have always been a driven middle leader - having been responsible for Art, Pupil Voice, PSHE and Science - that I am today. My next step is to be #10%braver and clarify that belief through action. I aim to fulfil my leadership dream of becoming an English leader, when the time and place feels right. The one thing I am sure and confident of is that leading from your why means leading from your heart. As soon as you stop listening to your why, you become lost and lose the light from within that guides you. The light within me guided me towards #WomenEd, and I hope I can guide others to find where their light will lead them.


Finally, here are some quotes that I’ve kept going back to throughout my career:


I don't go by the rule book... I lead from the heart, not the head.” - Princess Diana


The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” - Albert Einstein


Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, 'I'm possible'!” - Audrey Hepburn


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