How to be a Maverick Leader in Education


How to be a Maverick Leader in Education. In this episode Judith Germain speaks to Jane Harrington, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of University of Greenwich about Maverick Leadership and how to be a Maverick Leader in Education.

Jane shares their background in academia, rising from researcher to senior leadership over 20 years. Judith asks about their non-linear career path, to which Jane attributes staying true to themself and gaining diverse experiences through openness to opportunities.

Key Takeaways

  • Being a Maverick Leader involves blending different leadership styles and values whilst remaining adaptive. It’s about who you are and what you do.
  • Leaders should aim to create an environment of psychological safety and empowerment.
  • Diversity brings a wealth of perspectives and solutions. As a leader, being outside your comfort zone is healthy.
  • Coaching takes at least 12-18 months to create lasting behavioral change. Leaders should coach and sponsor their teams.
  • Reflecting on negative experiences can provide great learning. The ‘why’ can motivate you.


What makes a Maverick Leader

  • Maverick Leadership involves flexibility, action-orientation, and taking responsibility. It’s a blend of authenticity, collaboration, and values-driven leadership.
  • Maverick leaders bring people along, creating a ‘triple win’ for the leader, team, and organisation. It’s about influence through empowerment.
  • Maverick Leaders accept the message even if delivered poorly, care about truth over delivery. Not tied to being right.

Leading change and diversity

  • Takes time to eliminate blame culture. Live stated values consistently. Handle failures collectively.
  • Diversity brings faster progress through diverse perspectives and solutions. Being outside comfort zone is healthy.
  • Leaders should enable people to be themselves. Differences shouldn’t require accommodations but enabling people’s strengths.

Developing people

  • Coaching takes at least 12-18 months to create lasting change. Short programmes can catalyse change.
  • Leaders should coach and sponsor their teams as standard practice.
  • Negative experiences become learning experiences when you reflect on the ‘why’ and how it motivates you.

In this conversation they discuss how to overcome challenges and build confidence. They discuss how experience, not age or role, builds resilience and confidence through failures. Mentorship and sponsorship are key to helping others overcome lack of examples.

Professor Jane Harrington joined the University of Greenwich as Vice Chancellor & CEO in December 2019. She has worked in Higher Education for over 30 years and her specific interests include teaching excellence, widening access into higher education, inclusion and social mobility.

Jane is passionate about making an impact through working in close partnerships across schools and colleges, business, community and the university sectors.

Before joining Greenwich, Jane was Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE) and previously worked in senior roles within the university’s Faculty of Business and Law.

Maverick leadership is all about thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo. It’s about having the courage to take risks and the confidence to lead in a way that is authentic and genuine.

But amplifying your influence as a leader isn’t just about having a strong vision or a big personality. It’s also about having the right leadership capability and being able to execute on your ideas and plans.

The consequences of not having the right level of influence as a leader can be significant. Without the ability to inspire and motivate others, you may struggle to achieve your goals and make a real impact.

How Influential Are you? Take the scorecard at and see. 

Jane Harrington can be found on LinkedIn here.

You can listen to Episode 390 on any of the popular podcast platforms or apps (including Spotify, and Audible). If you prefer to listen to your browser you can do that below. Enjoy!

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Maverick Paradox Media is for the pathologically curious who seek to learn from lateral thinkers, including how to execute maverick thinking. We provide a Maverick perspective on the world arounds us. 💢 I am the leading authority on 𝗠𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗸 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 and Founder of Maverick Paradox Media. It is because I am passionate about demonstrating that Maverick Leadership exists everywhere and understand that we can all learn from diverse and differing voices that I founded Maverick Paradox Media. Maverick Paradox reaches thousands of leaders and business owners, empowering and inspiring them to think differently, challenge often and increase their leadership capability. 💢 Maverick Paradox Media consists of: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Podcast (on all popular podcast platforms/apps – available episodes here: ✅ The Maverick Paradox Magazine I also write for The Maverick Paradox Magazine and you can find those articles under my name Judith Germain.