As a middle leader in a primary school, you are normally in one of two positions. You may be responsible for co-ordinating one curriculum area across the school. You hold the catalogues, the budget, the action plan and the day-to-day accountability for how a particular subject is being taught in every classroom, possibly through foundation stage, keystages 1 and 2. With at least 10 other official subjects - and countless unofficial ones - vying for the same time and consideration, you start from a point of being able to command less than 10 per cent of your colleagues' attention.
The second position is one of leading a section of your school. You are the one who pulls all the different threads together for your year group, phase or key stage, translating whole school plans into everyday life. You are also responsible for communication the other way, carrying the thoughts, issues and concerns of your section to the rest of the school, putting it into the big picture.
Whichever of these positions your middle leadership responsibility puts you in, your fuel should be the same. The absolute foundation of everything you do must be enthusiasm. If you can't be an enthusiast for your subject, your year group, your area of responsibility, then you stand very little chance of commanding the interest of anyone else. However little influence you feel you have over events, you do have influence over how people regard your area of responsibility. Your attitude and enthusiasm is the basis of respect for your work and, without it, everything you try to do will feel like an uphill struggle.
So take a moment to dig deep. Think of a moment when you felt that surge of enthusiasm for the area you are responsible for. Perhaps it was a course you went on, a book you read or an experience you had as a pupil yourself. Try to find that idealistic enthusiasm for what you do and put it down in words. If you revisit it frequently, it will become deep-rooted and, even more important, begin to spread.
Peter Greaves, Deputy head of Dovelands Primary School, Leicester.