Primary head Nicky Murray shares his tips on how to be the best school leader you can. He is a headteacher at Burnside Primary School in Carnoustie, Angus, in Scotland. This article appeared in the TES on the 4th October 2018.

1. Always tuck your tie into your shirt when you help out at school dinner – expect the unexpected when you look down after the last tray leaves the table. Smiling assassins with yoghurt spoons are everywhere.
2. Say “good morning” to every member of staff or of the school community, and genuinely take an interest in people – mean it. Take an instant liking to everyone you meet and the results will be phenomenal.
3. Don’t walk past any child without saying, “Hello, how are you?” You never know what you might find. A little girl I’d never seen said one day: “What key opens a banana?” Pause – “A monkey!” Brilliant, her wee smile was priceless.
4. Say “thank you” as often as you can to people. To do this, you have to notice what people are doing. Watch people – don’t stare at them, that’s just creepy and weird! – look out the corner of your eye, in as non-weird a way as you can. Be open to how much effort people around you put into their work, and recognise it.
5. Try and earn the right to challenge people by supporting them first. Don’t be soft to the point of mush, but actually try to help people the way you remember being helped by someone.
6. Be brave and make an effort to model the behaviours you would expect from someone you would like to eventually become.
7. Be positive, even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t smile like someone has just trod on your toe and you’re being polite. Try to find a way to see the good over the bad and the ugly.The full article is available here: