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Can great school Head Teachers make great business leaders? Harvey Nash research

From schoolroom to boardroom: Harvey Nash and the Times Educational Supplement assess the commercial skills of three Head Teachers.


Download article as it first appeared in the Times Educational Supplement.

Earlier this year Harvey Nash were contacted by the UK's foremost journal for professional teachers, the Times Educational Supplement. During our meeting with the editor and writer in a cafe in central London we heard of their plans to run a major piece investigating whether talented school Heads could make it as leaders in the commercial world. They wanted the input of Harvey Nash as an expert in assessing and interviewing leaders.

It was a perfect opportunity for us to use the tools and tests of our Executive Search's Leadership Services practice, and over the following few months practice head Lucy McGee met with three Head Teachers from schools in Chichester, Huntingdon and Bedford. She performed detailed interviews and psychometric tests, and benchmarked them against similar level leaders in the commercial world.

The results make fascinating read and were published as the cover story this month. You can read the article for yourself here, but in a nutshell:

  • The three Heads had an abundance of skills and high ambition that would equip them to succeed in the commercial world
  • They thrived on autonomy, were hugely creative and see their own success as one with the success of their organisation and their vision for it
  • Like good CEOs, successful Heads are outstanding at choosing the right people and delegating heavily to them
  • They might have the commercial acumen to do well in a P&L environment, but not the motivation - Heads chose education as a fit with their values
The article is re-assurance that the UK's modern head teachers are leaders that compare with the best of what we see industry.

You can find out more about Harvey Nash's Leadership Services practice here.