This blog comes from current Ofsted Inspector, Senior Principal Adviser and “Education for the Soul” workshop facilitator, Dr Ogugua Okolo-Angus
‘We are stronger than we think. We have emotional, spiritual and even physical resources at our disposal. We may get knocked down, but we don’t have to stay down’’ (Steve Goodier)
The fundamental belief is that challenges are obstacles to overcome. By enhancing purposeful leadership at all levels provides an essential vehicle for providing the best educational opportunities for children and young people.
The concept is simple: be guided by your moral compass to do what is right, lead by way of example, create authentic practices when implementing and embedding strategic improvement plans, develop resilience skills that carry you through even the most turbulent times.
There has never been a more opportune time for being resilient in leadership. With increased governmental pressures, greater levels of accountability and devolved responsibility, school leaders are aware of the immense pressure placed upon them.
The work of school leaders is relentless and as such the journey to success requires a deep inner strength to sustain the course. School leaders are faced with rapidly changing educational landscapes and require a greater strength of character and resilience.
To ensure success in leadership, today’s school leaders unquestionably need a core set skills and competencies but more importantly wide ranging leadership behaviours and attributes to keep in control.
This training package acknowledges all the challenges and brings together a heartfelt programme so that integrity and fairness, strength and resolve, mentoring and openness and value based leadership resonate through exemplary leadership.
Some competencies will no doubt be easier to maintain than others and so developing a growth mindset enables the challenges to be recognised as simply obstacles to overcome.
As Alex Karras, puts it:
‘’Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles.’’
Or in the words of Jodi Picoukt…
“The human capacity for burden is like bamboo – far more flexible than you’d ever believe at first glance.”
Rising to the Challenges of Headship
From managing excessive workloads, the impact of budget cuts and high levels of personal accountability and public scrutiny – over the years, the role of Headship has always been fraught with challenges and pressures.
However, since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic back in March 2020, sadly we’ve seen the intense demands on our school leaders grow yet further.
Not only have leaders had to rapidly adapt to quickly changing government advice and establish new practices and protocols for virtual learning and health and safety monitoring, they’ve also been expected to provide support to their communities and inspiring leadership throughout these difficult times.
Having to manage months of relentless challenge and crisis management (alongside the emotional and psychological impact of the pandemic has taken on all of us) has proven to be extremely challenging even for the most experienced and resilient Heads.
And it is now perhaps no surprise that many school leaders who are reporting feeling battle weary, beleaguered and burnt out. As a result, an NAHT poll back in November 2020 found that almost half of headteachers plan to leave prematurely – and 70% say job satisfaction has fallen in the past year.
With this, in mind – I believe there’s never been a stronger case for the need to ensure that our School Leaders are properly supported; strategically, operationally and emotionally to ensure they not only survive in the headship role, but also thrive in their attempts to deliver the best outcomes for our children.
Social workers have supervision to help them process their toughest cases, and corporate executives have space for “lessons learned” and continuous improvement between projects. Yet still, many Heads remain endemically under-supported, without spaces the need to off-load and encouragement they need as they manage the burden of the weight that they have been forced to carry.
Friends and family might offer a listening ear, but again it isn’t easy. Unless they have walked in your shoes, it can feel like no-one really fully understands what you are going through.
However, I know from my own experience as a Headteacher and now as an Executive coach that personalised support is vital, if leaders are to keep their hope alive and stay connected to their vision, passion and purpose.
That’s why I’m now offering free 1:1 Coaching calls to give senior leaders a chance to:
– Talk through and get support with the challenges they’re currently facing
– Reflect on events and the impact they’re having
– Gain clarity about their current situation and plan a way forward
If you feel like you’d benefit from a call like this or perhaps know someone who would, please follow the link above!