The Unexpected Leader offers an outstanding insight into school leadership from both Iesha Small's perspective and from nine other school leaders with a wide range of experiences.
Iesha cleverly threads her own observations throughout the text to focus on key messages and relates helpful advice and background stories to help current or aspiring school leaders deal with the pressures of expectation -“ advice which Iesha wishes somebody had given her when she started her own career in education.
As Iesha points out, the nine school leaders interviewed are all -œa little different from how we might expect a leader to be-. One of the leaders, Leah, talks openly about the impact on her mental health after taking a promotion she was not fully prepared for. I particularly enjoyed Ben's strategies for building the team of teachers and creating supportive relationships, and Lila's retelling of her being the principal of an academy despite her feelings of self-doubt. The stories related by Keziah and Scarlet and the overview by the author emphasise the need to help colleagues deal with mental health issues more appropriately -“ particularly stress, anxiety, fear and feelings of failure, which are crippling sections of our education system.
A really excellent book which should be read by all school leaders and any teachers thinking of taking the next step up the career ladder.