The role of the Principal is a uniquely complex one. Principals are responsible for the entire educational direction and operations of the school. Communication is important mobilizing the community to work towards a common direction to benefit all children. Fostering leadership within the school to build a cohesive learning community encompassing highly effective teams to ensure high quality and sustainable outcomes is the goal of any school.

Many leadership courses outline the importance of leadership, vision, effective communication and teamwork and few give the tools and have a wide-ranging impact that helps develop each individual in the organization. The journey towards implementing UHM started with my own training, then the training of the leadership team and finally whole staff engagement over a period of three years. The Universal Hierarchy of Motivation (UHM) provides a framework to analyze leadership at the individual and organizational level. I have used the UHM to understand myself and leadership style to a deep level. Understanding who you are as a person and a leader has allowed me to lead more naturally and stress-free. I now understand my strengths and weaknesses more. I design my working day differently. I am much more aware of my communication blind spots and the errors I am more likely to make. This has allowed me to incorporate feedback and checks to help me be more effective.


In understanding myself I learned to value the importance of all members of the organization gaining an insight into themselves. Having the UHM as a common model also provided a platform to build a consistent language and reference point to relational work.

At Bentleigh West Primary School we identified building leadership capacity as one of our key areas of improvement for 2015.

After attending the Mark2 Consultancy workshop we have noticed a fundamental difference in the way we approach our meetings and general communication.

The first thing that working with Mark2 Consulting enabled us to do was understand ourselves as individual leaders much better. We connected with our strengths and learnt to use those strengths more efficiently. I profiled as a Spiritual Emotional and I realised this impacts my team and the way I communicate. I was able to let go of some of the areas I worried about in leadership and put more trust in other team members work on areas I was “off-type”. This didn’t mean I was incapable, it just meant I am better at playing certain roles in my team.

Mark showed us how to profile our team. We know our strengths as a team and also the dangers of falling into group think. We now ensure we listen extra carefully to individuals who represent the minority personality types in our team. We know they maybe seeing pitfalls that some of us are more likely to be blind to. We are also much more strategic in our task assignments and this has saved time and money.

Working with Mark has also allowed us to reduce stress and conflict at the school. Having knowledge of the personality types has allowed us to identify on-type and off-type behaviours. We focus now on the behavior rather than the individual and recognize different ways of viewing rather than dismissing certain behavior as being difficult or uncooperative on a personal relatively. We jokingly ask each other before we speak to move out of a particular “room” and listen to an idea from a certain perspective before falling to our default position.

All of my leaders say they use what they have learnt every day in working with their staff. They have learnt to identify certain traits, which has enabled them to communicate more effectively and reduce misunderstandings.

Many have started identifying traits in their students and they are now working with more understanding on this level as well.


This has had a profound impact on the school in the following ways:

  • How we run meetings.
  • How we give feedback for growth.
  • How we communicate
  • How we construct our teams.

The strategic management of the school. The feedback from staff has been very positive with one teacher stating it had changed their lives and others reporting the benefits of the learning at work transferring to help productive relationships at home.


We have found the model has helped us analyze miscommunication and conflict from a UHM point of view rather than a personal point of view, so assumptions and blaming have become rarer. The school has successfully implemented wide-scale changes and has seen an improvement in academic results, staff opinion results, and parent opinion results. We have also seen the acceleration in the development of our leaders. Two people have been employed from the school in principal roles that were part of the leadership team.

I could not recommend Mark2 Consulting more highly.

Steven Capp
Principal Bentleigh West 
Primary School