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Filling the skills gaps

March 7, 2022, 12:06 GMT+1
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  • What experience and traits do leaders really need, asks Barry Cann
Filling the skills gaps

The world is evolving at a fast rate, and we are all expected to keep up.

From the advancement of technology to the increasing need for an eclectic and wide skillset, you need to stay on the ball if you’re in a leadership role. 

Headteachers are no exception.

Your academic competencies are not always sufficient. Nowadays, leaders need something a bit extra.

Digital skills

In an increasingly digital world, it is fundamental for future project leaders to know how to benefit from innovative tools. 

This doesn’t mean you need to be an expert in computer coding or programming. However, it’s important to understand the benefits of modern technology.

The best way to acquire this skill is to dive in and give new technology a real go. In the long term, this will help you utilise innovative, useful equipment that will aid teaching and learning in your school.


Showcasing sound management skills is vital. If you are willing to climb the work ladder and take on the role of a leader, you will have to prove you are capable of managing a team, a budget, potential risks, and time.

A leader must be able to bring several colleagues together, guiding them towards the same objective while also satisfying their personal ambitions.

From coaching team members to evaluating their improvement, team management requires great dedication.

You should always be able to keep an eye on budgets and finances. What should money be spent on? What changes should be made to control costs? Risks must be considered as well. 

Time management is crucial too. The clock ticks on and several tasks have to be accomplished in a short amount of time. 

Emotional intelligence

Practical abilities are essential, but the value and need for soft, emotional skills is gradually rising too - from keeping teams engaged to building relationships and showing an interest in colleagues’ wellbeing. 

Understanding your team members’ needs and offering them emotional support are key components to the success of your school. Knowing your team on a personal level will help you create an inspiring, trusting, and collaborative environment. 


School leaders must be able to build bridges between their fellow workers, ensuring that all operations proceed smoothly, and need to learn and understand how to communicate clear, concise messages.


Headteachers need constantly to adapt to change, and to be flexible and open-minded. 

One way to strengthen your adaptability skills is to learn new things and push yourself out of your comfort zone, as this allows you to understand how to deal with unfamiliar situations.

When a problem or an unexpected scenario arises in the workplace, you will be both quick to adapt and fast to respond.

As the world of work develops and changes in step with the times, candidates and employees are required to widen their skillsets. From digital predisposition to managing abilities, there are several skills that will make you stand out. 

Barry Cann is technical director of OCCMS