Wellbeing: Successful strategies for stressed school leaders

As a school leader, tasked with ensuring the delivery of education to students, it’s no wonder that stress can be a common companion. Maxine Driscoll, founder and CEO Think Strategic, shares 10 successful strategies for stressed school leaders

CREDIT: This article was written by Maxine Driscoll and was published via her LinkedIn profile. You can read the article as it first appeared here.

Are you a stressed School Leader? Do you have a lot on your plate at the moment?

I know how you feel. Last week I faced a huge emotional hijacking. Yes I know that leadership in the 21st century is complex and challenging and most of the time I feel like I’m on top of things. But sometimes something comes along that is so completely unexpected that it throws you into the deep end. Has that happened to you?

Well, I had to control my emotions BIG TIME and try to get beyond my primordial reaction of flight or fight to think through what had happened and how I could best manage the situation. It took me 30 laps in the pool that night and an early morning run in the gym to finally gain control of my emotions and to think it all through and plan a way forward.

You see, there are times when you are tested as a leader, often when you least expect it. The most important thing that I have learned as a leader is to work on your self-leadership skills. If you can’t lead  yourself, then you will never, ever lead others successfully.

So here’s my 10 Success Strategies if you ever find yourself in a similar situation:

1. Remember that you always have a choice. Breathe deeply and give yourself time to think. Consider that sometimes your biggest problem may be your biggest opportunity. Choose actions that will make you a better person. Actions that are aligned to your values and reflect what you love to do.

2. Use a Growth Mindset. A Growth Mindset ensures strategies to keep learning and growing. A Fixed Mindset will stall your growth and development and you will find yourself blaming others. Ultimately a Fixed Mindset will affect your self-belief and railroad your self-talk telling you that you are a failure. You can always choose your mindset.

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3. Remember that working your way through problems and frustrations will develop your resilience making you more skilled for future challenges.

4. See challenges as possibilities and opportunities. Always reflect on what you have learnt from the situation.

5. Remember that it’s not always about you! It’s about what you can do to help others grow and develop. Be sure to empower others to make a positive difference too.

6. Stretch yourself beyond your current capabilities. You only live once (YOLO) and self-improvement rocks. You might like to consider my online school leadership course to grow your leadership capacity.

7. Always focus on learning. Even when things get tough focus on what you are learning and how you can improve. You’ll be surprised at how this motivates you to continue to grow.

8. Link your challenges and possibilities to what you love to do. Take some time to unlock your passion/s and start planning how to maximise them.

9. Seek constructive feedback. Be open to the messages that life sends your way. Reflect on them and learn from them. Be brave and seek out those you trust and ask them what your blind spot may be. Consider carefully what you choose to do with the feedback. My tip: Choose the path that keeps you learning.

10. Always look for better strategies to learn more and to work your way through obstacles. Never give up. NEVER! You will surprise yourself at the person and the leader you will become.

Like to learn more about School Leadership in the 21st Century? I’ve designed an online course that is self-paced and personalised to meet your needs. You can take it anywhere and anytime.

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