'This is your vision speaking'

6th June 2003 at 01:00
It's a jargon jungle out there. Martin Whittaker helps you hack your way through it

Heads are supposed to provide solid leadership, strategic vision - and above all clarity. But first they must crack the impenetrable language of leadership-speak.

AFFILIATIVE LEADERSHIP: One of a range of styles such as authoritative leadership, and democratic leadership. Affiliative leadership is about creating and maintaining friendly relationships with staff by, for example, taking them off to the pub on a Friday PACE-SETTING LEADERSHIP: This is not where the head makes it to the bar first; it's where he or she gets the job done by being generally superhuman and then expects everyone else on their staff to be just as amazing.

360-DEGREE APPRAISAL: Not, as you might imagine, a head's uncanny ability to see what's going on behind their back. This is actually a way of getting feedback on performance from colleagues, to give a complete picture of strengths and weaknesses. So staff can let you know just what kind of a bastard you are without getting sacked.

ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE:In plain English, what it's like to work in your school. Apparently, you can split the climate of an organisation into six dimensions to measure the perceived gap between actual and ideal climate and to make a nice bar graph. As you do.

TABLE FACILITATOR: One who sits with a group of people around a table, helps to keep them focused and chivvies the discussion along. A bit like a chair really, but why settle for one word when two will do?

HEADTEACHERS' PEER REVIEW: Where you ask another head to peer critically at your school. It is intended to provide constructive criticism about school management between fellow professionals, as a way of improving standards.

Has also engendered another wonderful piece of gobbledegook: peer heads.

Very common in Liverpool.

SPIRAL DYNAMICS: No, I haven't made this up. This is a model used in a small number of schools to help leaders understand the complexities of their organisation, their staff and students. Hard to explain in less than 1,000 words.

TASK LEADERSHIP: A management style that is about ensuring that jobs are completed. According to one A-Z guide on leadership, this is "concerned with action, performance, deadlines and closure".

CLOSURE:What could eventually happen to your school if you don't get the leadership right.

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