Leadership, Stress Management & the Culture of Success

What will help you to improve your performance as a leader? What will improve the well-being of your staff? What will increase the success of the children in your care? It is your ability to handle the effects of 'unwanted demand', commonly known as 'stress'.

We all have a sense of what stress is. We know that too much of it is harmful and undermining. Staff can be absent – often for a lengthy period of time – with 'work related stress'. So, what is it and how can we help ourselves to prevent and manage it more effectively? How can we help our staff to do the same?

This course will show you. On it you will explore the nature of stress, and how you can better deal with it. You will discover the nature of effective school leadership in the 21st century and how your well-being, and that of your staff, increases pupil well-being and performance.

Looking after yourself as a leader can be counter intuitive. You are there to serve the staff and, above all, the children! Stress comes with the job. In fact, admitting to being stressed can be seen as a weakness. It can even be a badge of honour. In reality, it undermines performance. It increases the gap between how we would wish to perform and how we actually perform. If we are to manage stress, we need to set some boundaries.

As archetypal care givers, senior staff in schools tend not to be good at setting boundaries. They say 'yes' when, in their own best interests, they would be better to say 'no'. Being more assertive, decreases 'unwanted demand' and therefore potential stress. So part of this course is about learning to be more assertive - assertive, not aggressive. When, as a leader, we model assertive behaviour, we create a culture that encourages communication and participation and leads to good outcomes all round. Everyone wins.

Human beings can be like rock or running water. When we are like rock we bump up against things. This leads to conflict, tension and stress. When we are like water, we flow. Mindful, compassionate leadership, the approach we explore on this course, is like running water. Like assertive behaviour, it is flexible and powerful and enables everyone to succeed. When we are mindful – rather than 'mind-full' – we are in the present moment dealing with what is, rather than scattered and stressed. When we are compassionate we are connected. As leaders that is what we need to be, connected, to ourselves and to others. It is only when we are connected that we can truly lead.