In this interview with Emma Turner, author of Be More Toddler: A Leadership Education From Our Little Learners (John Catt Educational), hear how her eyes were opened to the leadership qualities of young kids and how she determined that becoming more child-like in this way was the key to accessing her full career potential.

Turner reflects on feeling like an “accidental leader” at different times in her career, but notes how others identified her leadership potential, which encouraged her to think about leadership more intentionally. In her book, she attempts to “smash” the common model of leadership, with its assumption that there is only one type of leader, and instead advance the idea that there are numerous types of leadership that can make an impact. Leadership is about people, she says, and people who have a clear vision and care deeply about their colleagues and communities can become effective leaders, regardless of style.

As you listen through the interview, think through these questions to consider your own leadership journey:

• Do you feel like you’ve been encouraged to be a leader in your current role? If yes, what do you believe is your leadership style and what do you think is most effective about your style? If you haven’t been encouraged yet, how might you find more opportunities to lead?

• Turner writes that leadership is about setting the vision and sticking to it. What would this look like in your school?

• How can we ensure teamwork plays an important role in the vision of leadership in our schools? Who are the team members you’d like to collaborate with in leading new initiatives?

• What does it mean to you to “find your voice” within your classroom, school, or district? Do you feel like you have truly found your unique voice, or is this something that is always evolving?

Learn more about Emma Turner’s book, Be More Toddler, and other great John Catt Educational publications by visiting 

About Emma Turner

Emma grew up in Leicestershire and attended Liverpool John Moores University where she studied Science Education. In 2004 she joined The Latimer Primary school where she spent the next 13 years, initially as a classroom teacher, moving on to become assistant head, then deputy head and finally forming one of the UK’s first all-female co-headships which ran for eight years, and where Emma wrote and delivered training for staff at all levels.

After 20 years in primary teaching, Emma left to join Discovery Schools Academy Trust where she is currently their Research and CPD lead, devising and writing training for staff at all career stages, but specialising in continuous professional development (CPD) for early career teachers. She is the founder of ‘NewEd – Joyful CPD for early career teachers’, a not-for-profit approach to CPD to encourage positivity amongst the profession and help to retain teachers in post. Turner is author of Be More Toddler: A Leadership Education From Our Little Learners (John Catt Educational).

Emma is an advocate of balance in leadership and family life and she regularly speaks at events across the United Kingdom on how part-time leadership and flexible working can be a hugely successful model in organizations. She is also the self titled ‘Chaos Coordinator’ of her home in Leicestershire where she lives with her infinitely patient husband Tom and their three young children.

Follow Emma on Twitter @Emma_Turner75

Sean Ryan

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