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Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing Book Launch #LeadershipBKD

“My hope and intention, in writing Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing, was to help leaders. Leadership can be learnt. The three Ways with their constituent Basics are a means of exploring leadership. They represent a window or a mirror to help leaders improve their practice. In turn, as leaders, we must support the leaders who follow, who we have a responsibility to intentionally and collectively form.”

The closing paragraph of the book sets out my reason for writing Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing.  I started writing it during the first national lockdown in March 2020.  Whilst writing, I realised that what I wanted to say about the purpose of education needed a book of its own.  Hence, publishing Educating with Purpose: The Heart of What Matters which could be viewed as a companion book to Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing which is due to be released on the 13th December 2021.  It can be pre-ordered via John Catt or Amazon.

The book is structured into three main sections: the Way of Being, the Way of Knowing and the Way of Doing.  Each of the Ways has a number of associated Basics, eight in total, which I believe constitute the essence of effective leadership.  For each of the eight Basics there is an accompanying chapter which provides an example of its application in education.  The overall structure is given in the graphic below alongside a list of the chapters.

I will be holding a free online book launch on the 2nd December 2021 when I will be chatting with Sue Williamson (Chief Executive of SSATUK) about some of the key ideas from the various chapters.  You can book your ticket here – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/leadership-being-knowing-doing-book-launch-tickets-203659169057

To give you a taste of the book here are some of the early reflections of a few people who have been kind enough to read it.

Stephen Tierney reflects deeply on leadership through the lens of three core approaches and through eight fundamental ‘basics’. He shows great insight about individual, school and system leadership, always illustrating his points with great wisdom and humility. Possibly the greatest insight he offers is ‘leave perfection to God’.  At a time when school leaders are facing monumental pressure this book provides calm, practical advice and will provide an excellent resource for both new and experienced colleagues looking for inspiration and reassurance.

Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the Chartered College of Teaching

When Stephen Tierney was on the frontline of school leadership he was always one of the most authentic voices of reason in the field; always wise, measured and insightful; always honest, principled and pragmatic; always someone who stood up for his beliefs and walked the talk.  His new book captures all of that and more.  Being. Knowing.  Doing.  What a brilliant way to capture the essence of leadership.  Although rooted in school issues, there’s no doubt that this will resonate more widely to other professional domains. The eight Basics – are superbly chosen; a truly fresh take on some common challenges.  The chapter on Guardianship, for example, provides an excellent insight into what accountability cultures might be.    I think serving and aspiring leaders will find this book a compelling read.  I see us talking of the Tierney Model for many years to come. 

Tom Sherrington. Author of Teaching Walkthrus and The Learning Rainforest

Here is a sneak preview of the section Tom is referring to above on Guardianship. Each of the eight Basics has a short summary of the key points at the beginning of the introductory chapter.

As always Stephen manages to capture so many important elements of leadership that is both successful and ethical in an accessible yet deeply insightful way. His articulation (and exemplification throughout the book) of ‘phronesis’ illustrates beautifully what makes his book so useful and practical at the same time as being so much more than ‘tips for leaders’. A must read for all in school leadership and those are contemplating stepping into it.

Prof Samantha Twiselton, OBE – Director of Sheffield Institute of Education, Sheffield Hallam University. Government advisor on all things teacher recruitment, retention and development.

Stephen generously uses his experience and reflections to provide great advice to school and system leaders working through the myriad of complexities they face.  His division of this book into BEING (who I am and why I am doing this), KNOWING (developing the expertise necessary), and DOING (adopting the most effective behaviours for the context) will prove enormously useful to this generation of school leaders.  It is rare to see such a synthesis of reflection and moral purpose with practical tips and advice which is what leaders need now more than ever.

Ros McMullen, founder member of @HeadsRoundtable and co-founder of HeadrestUK, retired Executive Principal, now coaching leaders.

Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing is a book I suspect I will keep on my desk at school so it’s within easy reach at all times. It’s structured in such a way that I can dip into it for insight, examples, frameworks and links to further reading. By dividing the book into ‘being’, ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ and then by eight ‘basics’, each with its own very real example, it has the capacity to support leaders with any of the knotty, persistent challenges they face as well as motivate them to be the best version of themself. In this book, Stephen Tierney effortlessly writes with distinct and deliberate thoughtfulness. Never veering from the goal of a ‘life well lived’ this feels to me like one of the most ‘complete’ leadership books I’ve read because it has both practical, expert examples and resonant, illuminating insights that buzz around in your head a while and then settle in your soul.

Carly Waterman, Headteacher, Lodge Park Academy, Corby.



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Leadership: Being, Knowing, Doing (New Book)

Liminal Leadership


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