We all know that the role of the school leader has changed dramatically and with it too, the increased demands that many school leaders face.
Yet, I firmly believe that it would be a great loss to us all, if many of our school leaders left the profession early, before ever seeing their dreams for themselves or their schools fulfilled.
If you are considering leaving the profession early these three top tips [which I have successfully used when coaching school leaders] will help you to stop, pause and reflect and to re-consider whether throwing the towel in at this stage in your career, is really what you want to do!
1. Re-visit your Vision as a School Leader
Take some time out and reflect on the reasons why you stepped into the school leadership role. What was it that you had hoped you could achieve? What was the legacy that you had hoped to leave behind?
It takes courage to have a big vision and as a school leader, wanting to make a difference to the lives of future generations, your vision will be bigger than most! If you can find a way to re-connect with your vision, you will be able to find a way to connect with what drives you…your passion, your purpose. Often this can be enough to re-fuel a tired, worn and weary soul.
2. Reflect on your values
It is highly likely that with the challenges that have arisen as the result of the new education reforms, that there will have been times when you will have found your values severely tested.
When we are under stress we can sometimes find ourselves behaving in ways in which our values are severely compromised, we find ourselves becoming disillusioned and if pushed too far, deciding to jump ship.
If you have been feeling that your values have been tested and you want to get back to leading from a place that is in line with who you really are, then again take some time out to reflect on your values and what they really mean to you.
3. Find Support
You can’t do it alone! You are not super human and really there is no such thing as a super head! All school leaders feel pain, anger and frustration. The problem is many school leaders seek to hide their true emotions both from themselves and others. Far from protecting our selves, prolonged denial leads to vulnerability and the adoption of behaviours that only serve to further isolate and weaken an individual’s ability to lead with integrity and authenticity.
Now ask Yourself this question …
“What difference would it make to my life as a school leader, if I didn’t feel so alone?”
If you find yourself answering, “A BIG difference!” Then make a commitment to yourself to seek out support today. It could be the difference between you staying and making your mark or, you leaving the profession early and others never really knowing the difference that you could have made!
Like all top leadership positions, school leadership and headship in particular brings with it the type of power that isolates: positional power. The higher up you are in an organisation, the more your positional power means that you not only have increased pressures and responsibilities, it also means an increased distancing in relationships.
When you are ‘lower down’ the school hierarchy it is much easier to build relationships with those who are like you and to share problems with those who will have had similar experiences. As you climb, the number of individuals that hold the same or similar post diminishes until, finally, you reach the top – head teacher – and look around to find that there is no one in your setting who holds the same position as you.
Learning how to balance the need for human connection, with the need to maintain the integrity of the leadership role, is a challenge many Head Teachers face.
Without support, life as a Head Teacher can be both lonely and limiting. Progress can be slow and in extreme cases stunted; neither the individual nor those they lead seem to be able to reach the level of maturity necessary for sustained personal effectiveness.
This isn’t how school leadership should be. That’s why I offer free Headteacher support calls to all those who may benefit from a confidential space where they can…
– Talk through the challenges they’re facing and find solutions
– Receive support and encouragement
– Reflect on recent events and the impact they are having
– Gain clarity around their thoughts 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!