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Top tip for new leaders - Well-being!

Are you looking after yourself?

I've written in my previous blogs about school leader fatigue and how leadership can often be a lonely place and how school leaders are so busy looking after everyone else, they often forget about themselves when it comes to well-being.

Ensuring the well-being of pupils and staff is probably a priority on most school improvement plans, but is there an action for school leaders' well-being too? Let me know!

I believe that school leaders need to make their own well-being as equally important as the well-being of everyone else. After all, they are the role models for their team of staff.

Have you set goals for your own well-being? If not, then why not start now! It's a new year so a perfect time to start!

So, how do you establish improved well-being as a leader? Some of these ideas may help:

  • Make a conscious effort to spend quality time with friends and family.

  • Have a life outside of school - join a club or do something you have always wanted to do – do something that clears your mind!

  • Being outside in nature works wonders for the soul!

  • Ensure you have plenty of exercise and more importantly, plenty of rest!

  • Establish firm boundaries for yourself - set days (if you must) when and if you take work home and answer emails. Personally, I tried to rarely take work home but I know that many leaders do or have to.

  • Have days when your door is closed or you work from home

At work, these ideas may help too:

  • Place targets for your own well-being and that of your other leaders in your school into your school's development plan.

  • Get your governors to understand the importance of your well-being.

  • Build connections with colleagues and grow a network of support - You feel find that others share the same feelings as you and this will help with any feelings of isolation. Connect with others over social media too.

  • Seek prompt support, when and if you need it. There are numerous helplines where you can chat anonymously. Or, talk to your Chair of Governors or Board of trustees.

  • Engage the services of a coach, mentor or supervisor - it really is important to invest time in yourself and have the opportunity to talk things through. Leaders and managers carry an awful lot of others' burdens and you will need to offload.

  • Visit the staffroom regularly and organise social events for yourself and the staff.

  • Keep connected to your values.

Also, know that sometimes 'good is good enough!

Trying to be perfect takes up too much mental time and energy. Read my previous blog on 'Good is good enough' at which explains how I implemented this in my own setting.

Leadership is a wonderful job, but it is just that - a job. Of course, leaders carry the burden of a huge amount of responsibilities but I believe that a greater perspective helps at those times when things become a little overwhelming.

Importantly, try not to compare yourself to others or what others are doing, or what you perceive others think you should be doing.

Others may take work home each evening, you do not have to? Others may work ten/twelve hours a day, you do not have to. You are the leader in your school - you will have your own way of working that works well for you and your team.

If you do not take care of your own well-being then how can you take care of others? Be the leader you want to be!

So, how do you ensure your well-being is a priority?

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