In 'Imperfect Leadership: A book for leaders who know they don't know it all', Steve Munby eloquently reflects upon and describes a leadership approach that is strong on self-awareness and positive about the importance of asking for help.
Foreword by Michael Fullan.
When asked to describe his own leadership style, Steve uses the word imperfect . This is not something he apologises for; he feels imperfect leadership should be celebrated. Too often we are given examples of leaders who are put on some kind of pedestal, lauded as superheroes who have it all worked out and are so good at what they do that nobody else can come close.
This book is the antidote to that flawed perception.
'Imperfect Leadership' is an honest reflection upon leadership. It is about Steve's journey, covering his highs and lows and, ultimately, how he learned to refine and improve his leadership. It is about messy, trial-and-error, butterflies-in-the-stomach leadership and about thoughtful and invitational leadership and the positive impact it can have.
At the heart of the book are edited highlights of the 12 keynote speeches delivered to increasingly large audiences of school leaders between 2005 and 2017. These speeches, delivered at the Seizing Success and Inspiring Leadership conferences, form the structure around which Steve's story and insights are wrapped.
Steve's account covers some fundamental shifts in the English education system over this 12-year period and describes how school leaders altered their leadership as this context changed. Furthermore, it delves into how his own leadership developed as his personal context changed, and explores how the notion that a leader needs to be good at all aspects of leadership is not only unrealistic, but is also bad for the mental and physical health of leaders and will do nothing to attract new people into leadership positions.
Ultimately, Steve hopes that as you read this book you will see the value of imperfect leadership and of the positive impact it can make. For those reading it who have yet to step up into leadership, his sincere wish is that it will encourage and empower aspirational leaders rather than discourage them.
Suitable for all those in or aspiring to leadership positions in education.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Munby has spent his whole career in education, first as a teacher and then as an adviser and inspector before moving into leadership. Between 2005 and 2017 he was chief executive first of the National College for School Leadership in England and then of Education Development Trust, an international education charity. He is now a self-employed consultant and speaker on leadership and on system reform. Steve is also a visiting professor at University College London Institute for Education and is the facilitator for the Atlantic Rim Collaboratory (ARC) summits, which bring together education systems from across the world. He was awarded a CBE in the New Year honours list in 2010.
’Imperfect Leadership is full of wisdom on how to lead educational organisations with passion and integrity in the face of relentless challenge and political pressure. Its compelling cases and reflections will inspire school and system leaders to pursue their vision and ideals through the toughest of times.
- Viviane Robinson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of Auckland
Steve Munby won’t thank me for saying this, but he is a hero to many of us who have worked with him. In my time as a head teacher, he was always there with gentle advice, a challenge or an insight.
Steve’s humility, humanity and intellect – and ability to make the complex simple – shine through in this remarkable and deeply insightful book.’ Imperfect Leadership’ is perhaps the most honest and, ironically, perfectly formed text on leadership I have ever read.
- Richard Gerver, educator, speaker and author