re: Waterloo Road ( Q – what is a good leader?)

re: Waterloo Road ( Q – what is a good leader?)


I’ve been streaming the BBC show Waterloo Road, and this has recently come up on that show. They’re teaching a camp or lesson frame on resilience. Plus some of the head teachers have been either good in the class or good in admin, but none seem to grasp both. I’ve been stewing over this for the duration of the show.

I don’t think it’s that simple as being a leader or follower. There has to be some level of wanting to compete and aggression/assertion to value being the leader at all. Some level of perfectionism and wanting it to the level where not having it makes you want to act. Is that an obsession? I guess that is determined by how the rest of their life is balanced, and whether or not they can turn it off at the end of the day. Whether they can relax and separate work and home or it bleeds into the other. Also whether they have to use/abuse something to switch it off. Like alcohol or drugs. Whether they get something like ulcers or hypertension from holding the stress.

Then there is the actual leading style… Are they assertive or aggressive? Authoritarian or authoritative? There is some element of being a parent as well as a teacher/role model in leadership. And realizing that you have to inspire your followers rather than being a drill sargent. Because you want a group you can leave unsupervised for 5 minutes and they won’t blow up on you or sit around like lumps. Stern, yet fair. Just yet merciful.

Empathetic. Some level of contact and inter-relationship between leader and follower, without being their friend, lover or actual parent. Some level of weave, without breaching the wall.Because the leader has to keep some distance, or they can’t see the bigger picture. They can’t make the hard decisions. A rule follower as in there is order. But knowing when the rules have to be tossed out, because there are real people who are going to be hurt. And sometimes that can be life or death. And balancing the needs of the many with the needs of the one sitting before you.

If you are a leader, you have to realize that shaping the group you have is always better than hiring and firing. Because attrition is costly.. But every now and then, there is one who just has to go. The group does need to be challenged, but again you don’t want lumps or the place to blow up. There does have be a certain level of cohesion, without being cliquish. A certain level of comfort without becoming stale. So friction is necessary. Without fisticuffs or hazing/bullying. And every now and then fresh blood needs to be added. Whether that is a new person, a new dynamic or someone needs to be promoted or a change in project types. A new way of looking at things. Maybe even a training course.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that i think that men and women often have different styles of leadership, as they do with parenting. And tbh wherever it’s possible, I think there should be both styles present to have full effect.

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