Leadership approaches, support and ideas from Bristol Brunel Academy

Leading Through Others – The Power of 1.8

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Leading Through Others – The Power of 1.8

At Bristol Brunel we talk widely and often about successful leadership being the ability of a leader to ‘lead through others’. We focus on the ability of an individual to influence beyond themselves, to inspire action in others and empower their peers to lead. We bring together a multitude of ideas, theories, common understandings and vision into a simple phrase of “1.8”. Senior Leaders have the highest expectation to lead beyond themselves, one Assistant Principal working diligently towards a set of outcomes is satisfactory, however, if they can build a team of colleagues who buy in to their vision and feel empowered to own part of the journey they can create an epidemic of positive change.

A few key aspects make this successful:

–          “People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it”  – We talk widely and often about Simon Sinek’s Golden Circles and Leading with the ‘Why’ – (here is a link to this inspirational video If colleagues understand the moral purpose behind the change process or improvement journey we have found they will follow, take on aspects of leading the change and feel part of the journey.

–          We talk about “destinations” – This is taken from Dan and Chip Heath’s ideas around pointing towards a destination and a preferred future. As such we set up our academy improvement plan under 5 destinations (teaching, achievement etc) we describe what these look like in our preferred future and then allow people to develop the journey towards them through the actions they decide. Michael Fullan talks about this as “connecting peers with purpose” (

–          We promote opportunities for vertical influence – These destinations involve teams meeting fortnightly and are representative of colleagues from across the academy, anyone can join any team and be part of the change process and each team is chaired by a member of the SLT.


–          Nudges, Tipping points, levers and 80:20 (Gladwell) – We recognise that small changes can have a wide impact, a minor adjustment to how we present data, raise expectations or setup meeting structures to maximise output and most often looking to find simplicity (especially from complex situations) in all that we do. A great example being recently where our AP for Achievement converted our progress data into ‘months behind’, rather than just ‘target 5a’ ‘predicted 5c’ the students also reported “12 months behind”. This simple solution kick started the dialogue and urgency for students and staff thus widening the influence of our AP to inspire action.

–          Grow your Leaders – Coaching – Line management meetings provide opportunities to coach middle leaders. Offering solutions and ‘solving problems for the colleagues being line managed is all too easy as a more experienced leader, this builds the culture of dependency and disempowers colleagues from making decisions. I talk more about this in a recent Blog post: David Marquet has some fantastic ideas around Leader – Leader relationships that inspire this thinking –

And finally, Gladwell’s ‘The Tipping Point’ has ideas around different types of people within professional learning communities and analyses how these interactions take place, the diagram below summarises this nicely… well worth a read!




One thought on “Leading Through Others – The Power of 1.8

  1. Reblogged this on habitsofhighlyeffectiveteaching and commented:
    Fantastic post by Jon Jones, VP at Bristol Brunel Academy, about the power of vertical influence.

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