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Self-Leadership and School Leadership

Self-Leadership and School Leadership

More and more I realize that self-leadership is one of the most important success factors for school leaders today. I learnt years ago, as a Head of a K-12 School, that you can’t lead anyone if you can’t lead yourself.

Currently many of my colleagues and friends around the world are finishing the school year and many in the southern hemisphere have just commenced their mid-year break.

You know that the last few weeks before end-of-year and mid-year breaks are fraught with deadlines, challenges and almost everyone is tired and frazzled. Tempers rise, difficult people become more difficult and you feel really overloaded. Yes?

In the past few weeks I’ve heard all sorts of stories from teachers, principals and heads of school about frayed tempers and finger pointing. Sadly this doesn’t help anyone!

I get it that schools today are busy and complex places but the best way to deal with this is to learn how to manage yourself as well as others. Basically, I’m talking about mastering your EQ.

You’re probably reading this thinking, “She’s crazy, I’m too busy to squeeze in anything else right now.”

Well, consider that your current experiences are a great opportunity to reflect on and learn. How could you change things so that you can come back after break with new strategies and tools to improve your leadership capacity and that of your teachers too?

Self-leadership is the key to 21st Century Leadership in schools. Improving your self-awareness and self-management skills will absolutely improve your leadership skills and also lay the foundation to improve your social awareness and relationship management skills. Competencies essential for any teacher, principal or head of school.

Giving yourself time to recharge and reflect on your self-leadership will pay dividends next term.

Armed with an international education masters degree, I’ve been a Team Leader, Curriculum Leader, Principal and Head of School over the past 20 years and I’ve always tried to reflect on my actions and plan new goals to take me forward. Here are 3 success factors that I’ve learned along the way that I’m pretty sure will work for you too.

3 Success Factors for School Leaders

  1. Focus

This is a skill we must master to be truly successful in the 21st Century. Making the time to focus and set some BIG Goals ensures continual self-improvement and school improvement. Know your top priorities for the year, the term and each week. Focus on your highest priorities first thing every morning. Yes there will be times you will be knocked off course, but the sooner you get back to your BIG Goals the more productive and successful you and your school will become.

  1. Self-manage

You can’t lead anyone unless you can lead yourself. It’s time to take care of yourself; physically, mentally and spiritually, if you want to lead others well. Make the time and take care to eat well, exercise regularly, it’s good for your body and your brain, get into the mindfulness stuff, even just 2 – 5 minutes a day, focus on the positive and plan mini-adventures every day to keep your creativity and productivity at super high levels.

  1. Be a learner

Think back to the end of last term and reflect on what and how you can improve your self-management and self-leadership for the new term/year ahead. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other,” said John F Kennedy, former President, USA. Adopt a growth mindset and constantly reflect on your practices and find ways to improve your skills and strategies.

To help you focus on growing your leadership skills I’ve created an online school leadership course that you can take anywhere and at anytime, even on holidays. It includes 7 enjoyable videos jam-packed with heaps of tips, strategies, resources and research that I have learnt in my leadership journey and I’m sure will help get you back on track with your school leadership goals. Once you sign up you own the online course for life and can return to any section over and over again. Check it out here. I know you will enjoy it and you’ll definitely grow your school leadership skills.

If you have any questions flick me off a quick email to maxine@thinkstrategic.com.au

Would love to hear how you go developing and growing your school leadership skills. Remember that by growing your leadership skills you will be able to grow leadership skills in your teachers and students too. How fantastic is that?

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