Transitions: From subject matter specialist to leader


“The real trick in life is to turn hindsight into
foresight that reveals insight.”
Robin Sharma

Last year I had the privilege to coach a specialist art teacher, Paddy O’Rourke as he took on his first leadership role as head of the art department in an Auckland College late in 2019.

At year-end, Paddy and I had a conversation on some of the challenges he faced, what he had found satisfying, and what he had learned.

Making the transition from being a subject matter specialist to being a leader is complex. A leader’s focus shifts from their specialist subject capacities to sharing their vision, the direction they want their team to go in, and create the culture within their team to ensure that happens.

Paddy’s school is multicultural, and his vision of art helping each student discover and express their identity underpins our conversation.

I hope you enjoy listening to the podcast which is just over 15 minutes.

Near the end of our conversation I asked Paddy if he had his time again, what guidance would he have given to his starting out? Listen to his inspired response.

What about you?

As you reflect on your work of the past year, knowing what you know now, what guidance would you have given yourself?

© Diana Jones

Return to Archive >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *