Coaching & Leadership Development
4 Key Things Flourishing School Leaders Learn to Let Go

4 Key Things Flourishing School Leaders Learn to Let Go

  Back in 2017, we held a series of ‘Coaching for the Soul’ workshops for senior school leaders. These sessions began with individuals reflecting on a number of different leadership quotes.   One school leader commented on this one.   “Leadership is not the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It is a process that ordinary people use when they are bringing forth the best in themselves and others.” (Kouzes and Posner)   With tears in her eyes, said something along the lines of, “I get it now, that’s the journey I have been on. I don’t have to be like other ‘super’ Heads and allow myself to be filled with self-doubt, because they all look so wonderful and amazing at what they do. I just need to be me and as hard as it might be, I just need to get on with discovering how to be the best version of myself.”   And she is right! That’s what true leadership is about; to lead others, we must be able to lead ourselves first. A task that is much harder than might first appear.   Understanding what it takes to lead ourselves   The task of leading self is the process that is referred to in the Kouzes and Posner quote. It is a process that truly brave school leaders allow themselves to go through. It is a process that when fully embraced allows individuals to flourish and to become what the esteemed psychologist Carl Rogers termed “fully functioning” and what the equally esteemed, psychologist, Abraham Maslow termed “Self-Actualised”.   Living life from this place,...
Getting Renewal – How to Break out of the Sacrifice Syndrome

Getting Renewal – How to Break out of the Sacrifice Syndrome

“When leaders sacrifice too much for too long – and reap too little – they can become trapped in the Sacrifice Syndrome” [Boyatsiz and Mckee]   There’s no denying that you have to make some sacrifices when you’re in school leadership but what so often happens is that Heads fall into this “Sacrifice Syndrome” and give everything of themselves to everyone else, until there’s nothing left for themselves.   Many things can instigate Heads falling into this syndrome, although it commonly happen when demands increase, a crisis presents itself, exams are round the corner or an OFSTED inspection is feared to be on the horizon and Heads feel they need to go above and beyond to ensure a successful outcome.   On these occasions, Heads try somehow, someway to find more hours in the day, and often do so by attempting to get through each day on less and less sleep.     The Sacrifice Syndrome is insidious. It creeps up on us and before we know it, seemingly impossible working hours have become the norm. We construct a narrative in our heads, to justify our behaviours. We hear ourselves saying such things as:   “No one else can do it”   “I’m simply putting the kids and my school first”   “It doesn’t matter. I’ll put the extra hours in now and come the half term, that’s when I’ll relax and make time for myself and my family”   However, we know the sad reality! When half term finally arrives, you are so exhausted you have nothing left to give either to yourself or your family. The ‘Sacrifice Syndrome’...