Coaching & Leadership Development
Overcoming Stress as a Headteacher

Overcoming Stress as a Headteacher

  It is my belief that more Headteachers would remain in the profession if, on appointment, it was made explicit to them the link between school improvement and their own personal development.   Unfortunately, however, in today’s world of high public scrutiny and personal accountability, they are not and as a result far too many Heads become victims of stress and burn out, unable to cope with the intense psychological and emotional demands of the role.   The Irish author and poet David Whyte works with large organisations and businesses across the globe. He has an acute understanding of the interplay between self and work. He says,   “We must have a relationship with our work that is larger than any individual job description we are given. Real work, like a real person, grows and changes and surprises us, asking constantly for recommitment.”   Whyte’s words foretell the trajectory of a Head’s life. They point to a life that will stretch and grow the individual. A life that will be accompanied by an array of ‘surprises’. New circumstances that will force Heads way beyond the confines of their comfort zones and to come to know themselves in new and unexpected ways.   Because of this, it is vital that one of the first things that any Headteacher must learn to do, in order to overcome the stresses of their role, is to ask for help.   Learning to ask for help, I believe, is an act of courage as much as it is an act of kindness and compassion towards oneself. In the headship role, vulnerability and fear of...