It’s easy to get stuck thinking you’re not a leader if you don’t have a formal title.

But, often you’re already either demonstrating or building your leadership capacity – even without a title!

What makes you a leader?

I’ve been thinking about this topic since I conducted the Women Who Lead interviews! I had so many amazing conversations with successful women leaders in schools all over the world, and one consistent theme that came through is that many of our successful women leaders didn’t recognize they were leading in an informal capacity until someone pointed it out to them. 

Once they realized that there are ways to demonstrate your leadership capacity at any level of the school – even if you’re not in a formal leadership position – they were able to begin to own and recognize their own leadership potential. I want that for you too! The key is to recognize the work you’re doing as leadership, to start seeing yourself as a leader.

Teachers (or coaches) often think of themselves as “just a teacher” (or “just a coach”). We often don’t perceive ourselves as leaders, because we’re doing the work we know needs to be done. Plus, because there are usually so few leadership positions in schools it can be hard to see how you can move from teaching (or coaching) into formal leadership. 

You might feel “stuck” where you are, or you might feel like the pathway to leadership is hazy or gray. You might also feel like other don’t see or recognize your leadership (yet) – including yourself.

The first step is recognizing that there’s leadership at every level – you can be a leader, even when you’re not in a formal leadership position.

When you can see the work you’re doing (that goes above and beyond) as leadership, you can start recognizing and owning your leadership. If you ready to step into formal leadership, or you’re working towards a new informal leadership role, this will help you articulate your experience that way in the job search, and you’ll be able own your skills in the interview process. 

Are you ready to think about your leadership capacity?

If YOU are ready to embrace your leadership potential this year, and to start thinking about the ways that you might be ready for a formal leadership position, register for this free workshop that will help you recognize your leadership potential (and tell you a little bit more about our Certificate Program, Women Who Lead if you’re curious)!

Learn how to crush your imposter syndrome before it gets to you with our new FREE Workshop: Seeing Yourself as a Leader: Overcoming the 5 Common Myths Holding Women Back, available right now! 

Inside the workshop you’ll get a sneak peek into some of the rich conversations inside Women Who Lead, and hear from very successful leaders who still struggle with imposter syndrome – as well as how they’ve learned to handle it. Head over to to register. The best part is, it’s pre-recorded, so you can watch anytime once you register, and then pause or replay whenever you’re ready. 

Don’t let imposter syndrome hold you back this year!

Access the workshop now at

And when you’re ready to make a commitment to your own leadership, I would love to have you join us for the next cohort of Women Who Lead. You’ll learn all about it in the free workshop!

5 Ways to Demonstrating Leadership at Any Level in Education

(There are many more ways, these are just 5 that can apply to almost any educator in schools today):

1: Advocacy: 

Being an advocate for something you believe in, and developing that advocacy in a way that leads to positive change in your school. This could be anything from:

  • a specific curriculum or teaching strategy, 
  • certain student learning opportunities, 
  • Professional learning opportunities for teachers 
  • Engaging the parent community in adult learning

Essentially, whatever you think will better support your community stakeholders. If you can be the voice of this opportunity and help others see the value, this is an essential leadership skill.

2: Actively volunteering: 

This came through loud and clear in the Women Who Lead interviews: actively volunteering for work that supports the schools goals, things like committees, accreditation, site visits, interviewing panels

Whenever you have your chance to put your hand up, and be willing to be part of the bigger picture of school development, you’re demonstrating your willingness to lead.

3: Sharing & Presenting: 

Whenever you have the opportunity to share your thinking with a wider audience, you’re being a leader. This could be:

  • presenting within & beyond your school, 
  • wiring articles, 
  • having a blog or social media space that you can point to that demonstrates your perspective & growth 

Taking the time to share your learning, and to do so in a professional and thoughtful way that demonstrates growth over time helps you build your thought leadership – and provides a very handy reference to your own professional growth and work ethic!

4: Team Organizing:

Providing informal leadership among your peers by contributing to the smooth functioning of common planning time, doing things like:

  • offering to work on revising or developing units independently or with colleagues, 
  • working with a coach to develop new units, 
  • collaborating across subject areas for interdisciplinary units, across grade level to ensure vertical alignment

Anytime you’re supporting your team to work more effectively together, even in very small ways, you’re developing relational leadership skills.

5: The next level of clubs, activities & sports

This might seem obvious, because most schools require teachers to lead an activity or coach a sport, but this is a great way to start developing your leadership skills. In many cases, leading an activity or coaching a sport requires you to collaborate with other teachers or adults in the community. When you start going beyond hosting an activity in your classroom and reaching out more broadly within the community, this is another great way to develop your leadership skills.

What’s your next step?

If you’re recognizing the work you do in any of those options, you’re already building your leadership skills. The next step is to start recognizing and owning that leadership so you can continue to grow. You can do that with us, in the Women Who Lead Global Cohort! More details about that below and in the workshop!

Watch the Video

Level Up Your Leadership With Women Who Lead

There are so many opportunities to demonstrate “little L” leadership. If you’re feeling like now is the time for you to jump into a formal leadership position. Women Who Lead is the program for you! Women Who Lead is an online certificate program designed for growing and aspiring leaders, featuring the voices and experiences of over 70 successful female leaders from around the world.

Women Who Lead will empower you to articulate your leadership potential so you can overcome the many challenges faced by women seeking leadership positions in the field of education.

We facilitate only one global cohort each year, so we can create connected, collaborative, and community-driven global cohorts. Now is your chance to level up your leadership and reach for your dream job!

Find out more here: