The Role of a Headteacher – Podcast

School Leadership Podcasts

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Back in May 2017, I was delighted to be invited by the Evolve Team to discuss the unique and changing role of a school leader.

As part of this, I shared learnings from my own experience of Headship as we explored the emotional and psychological challenges that School Leaders now face in the role and common pitfalls that leaders can fall into as they try to deliver the best outcomes for their schools.

To build on this, we also addressed a number of topics including:

  • The loneliness of the Headteacher role
  • Why Headteachers need to find the space to process recent events, issues and challenges
  • The sacrifice syndrome that many School Leaders suffer from and how to overcome the issues it presents
  • The important “inner work” that Headteachers must do to stay focussed, build a greater self-understanding and maintain equilibrium
  • The importance of self-compassion, self-care and support

Supporting yourself in the role

When you are working in a school, engaging day-to-day with children and their families, teachers, support staff, Governors and other adults, you know that in addition to expending great amounts of mental and physical energy, you expend equal (if not more) amounts of energy meeting the emotional needs of others.

If you don’t invest the time in meeting your needs, you can end up carrying a huge emotional debt and become increasingly emotionally overdrawn, with no readily identifiable means for bringing your emotional account back into credit.

This is particularly dangerous if you’re like most Heads in our school system, you’re incredibly under-supported. There’s no one you can talk to who really gets your job and all the stresses that come with it, leaving you stuck with coping mechanisms and busy-ness to get you through the day — not a great set up for good leadership.

As a result, you run the risk of emotional ‘burn out’. When this begins to happen, not only do we experience extreme levels of mental and emotional exhaustion that can be debilitating, but we also can begin to derive less satisfaction from our lives.

Having been a Head myself, I know all too well what this feels like and equally what must be done to prevent it!

It is for this reason, that I now offer free “Coaching for the Soul” support calls, for Heads who feel that they could benefit from a confidential space that will allow them to:

  • Talk through the challenges they’re facing and find solutions
  • Receive support and encouragement in their current situation
  • Reflect on recent events and the impact they are having
  • Gain clarity around their thoughts and plan a way forward