John West-Burnham

Educational Leadership Development

 Effective Leadership  a diagnostic review

Use the diagnostic review below to stimulate your thinking about your current leadership effectiveness.

Rank each of the following characteristics and strategies according to the following criteria:

  • A = Well established, confident, consistent usage
  • B = Present but not consistently or confidently used
  • C = An area for development


Characteristics of high performing leaders


Focus on achievement

Strong emphasis on achievement and closing the gap

A genuine focus on progress for all

A commitment to improving performance

A relentless focus on teaching and learning




Public and explicit expectations and norms

Established routines, systems and procedures

Monitoring and review – evidence based intervention

Prevention rather than cure

Leaders as models of consistency


Effective relationships

Focus on quality relationships

Recognition of vulnerable pupils’ needs

Positive behaviour

Mutual respect between pupils and staff

Leaders focus on care and well-being



Help and support over and above formal requirements

Ensuring progress and success for all pupils

Creative and innovative strategies to secure improvement

Team leaders focused on good and outstanding performance


High Expectations

High aspirations as the norm

Leaders set and model high standards

High expectations in every aspect of school life



Leading by example

“Committed, passionate and driven”

Sharing good practice

The department is a reflection of the leader




Accountability is clear and understood

Explicit and agreed criteria and protocols

Monitoring of teacher effectiveness

Evidence based review and decision-making



Focus on students and learning

Open, transparent and supportive

Continuous, formal and informal

Focus on improving practice, sharing strategies




Structures and systems

Meticulous and detailed planning

Detailed planning and infrastructure

Sophisticated student data systems

Reinforcement of consistent approaches


Retention of staff

High trust; shared leadership


Positive regard


Professional development

Focused on learning and teaching

Primarily in-house

Leaders as lead learner and developer


Team culture

Focused on success and progress

Open, questioning and challenging



This review is an opportunity to reflect on the extent to which you meet these criteria for effective leadership. All judgements are inevitably subjective – this review is most likely to be useful when perceptions are compared and contrasted and used as the basis for shared review, discussion and learning conversations.














A =


B =


C =



What are your areas of greatest strength and consistency?

Which areas need reinforcement?

Which areas are significant developmental needs?

How do your perceptions compare with those of colleagues?

Test your perceptions against those of a senior colleague who has completed this survey about you.


Please explore the implications of your scoring:

Self: what do the mean for you in your role as leader? Are you clear and confident about the new leadership strategies that you might need to employ?

School: what do you see as the most significant issues for your school to come to terms with?

System: what are the implications for your relationships with other schools, the local authority, other agencies and the wider community – notably parents?

















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