“The first person you lead is you!” Christmas Leadership thought no. 1


Reflecting on the kind of head I wish to be, if I do decide to pursue that path always makes me think of a few things that bring me to a point of self-doubt about being able to fulfill this role. Some might say, “relax you are placing too much emphasis on the job and putting it on a pedastal that makes it seem difficult to reach, you are already more that half-way there”. Others would say, “yes, headship is hard work, it is so much different to being a deputy and it carries so much weight as the buck stops with you!”. I’ve heard the latter more often I have to say.

But a head is a leader like any other. Leadership is what it is all about and although the role carries many responsibilities. “We don’t have to wear them heavily” (Thanks headteacher mentor, you know who you are).   There are some great thinkers out there who inspire and motivate the leader in all of us and I am reminded to focus on some of their thoughts, starting with the first one above “the first person you lead is you!” Mahatma Gandhi said “be the change you want to see”, I believe as leaders we role model this every day, starting with ourselves. We consider our work ethic, our principals which drive our actions and ultimately our decisions, our interactions with others and how we manage ourselves in the face of success, challenge, adversity and opportunity.

How do we own up to our mistakes?

How do we try to resolve difficulties?

What is our language like in interaction with others and are we conscious of how we influence, coerce or encourage? Do we really recognise the impact?

How do we respond when we know it all and others make mistakes or give innacuracies?

How do we respond when we don’t know or have answers?

How do we manage crises?

How do we recognise and praise?

How do we accept praise?

How often are we the last to leave the school site? And the first?

Do we have a healthy balance of work, mental, social and cultural activity?

Do you watch TV? sing songs? dance in the rain? tell jokes? write calligraphy? sky dive in the holidays? travel abroad? look after parents? have your own children? learn the lyrics to young people’s songs like Big Shaq’s ‘Man’s not hot’? and then share this with you kids? bake bread? write poetry?trek? swim? have a professional level of sport? play a musical instrument? celebrate festivals? have any other interesting hobbies?  do ‘normal’ things? (You could ask ‘normal to whom? that’s another question)

So today, as leaders, let’s think about how we earn the right each day to lead the people we lead through the leadership of ourselves. Our behaviours will always be out for viewing, for others to see.


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