Your leadership match fitness

Your Leadership Match FitnessDownload a printable copy of this article (PDF 512KB)

  • Reflect on yourself occasionally, rather than always reflecting on your school.
  • Remember that full tyres allow you to travel faster.
  • Consider the connection of your work to your purpose.
  • Ensure you are growing, developing and learning.
  • Strategise for better match fitness rather than just trying to do more.

As a coach of school leaders around Australia, I admit that within each coaching session I’m a little bit selfish. Prior to every session I’m determined to be fully present – to listen at my optimum capacity, to provide creative suggestions, to understand the impact and to draw thinking back to our agreed Executive Coaching Framework.

Yet after each session, I never rate myself as a 100 out of 100 in terms of benefit to the client. It might be as close as a 99, but I always catch myself taking a note, either physically or mentally, about the content and the style of the conversation and weighing or matching it against the conversations that I have had with other clients. It isn’t entirely selfish, because it allows me to authentically identify the themes and challenges facing today’s school leaders. This enables me to develop content, like this article, before issues become insurmountable.

“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
– Eleanor Brownn

What I have found across years of work are recurring categories where successful leaders maintain some air in their tyres. When leaders pay attention to these categories and register activity in them in a routine and regular way there is increasing evidence that they become the most effective and the most fit for task.

Here is an exercise to complete. Assess yourself against each of the headings below with a score from 0 to 10 in regard to the last twelve months. In other words, how full
are your tyres? Be incredibly harsh as a 10 should only be written down to reflect complete mastery without room to move. We’re simply trying to address your most pressing match fitness need.

CategoryDescription
HealthHow effectively have you managed to stay fit and healthy or to improve your physical fitness through eating right and exercise?
AchievementHow strong is your sense of leadership?  Have you attended to both progress and operational tasks?
InfluenceHow autonomous, creative and responsive are those you lead – not because of your instruction, but because of your personal influence.
School ProgressAre you contributing in a meaningful way to a school reaching or exceeding its stated strategic objectives?
Instructional FocusHow well are your diary tasks directly connected to improving teaching and learning in your school?
Relational InvestmentDo your team members feel personally attended to and valued by you? Are you connecting deeply and leveraging strong relationships for higher performance levels?
ExpectationsHow clear are your expectations for your team – both individually and collectively?
HeadspaceHow mentally well are you? Are you anxious or worried and do you have proactive and reactive ways to attend to your own mental wellbeing?
Capacity BuildingHow much are you growing, developing and learning within your current role? Are you evolving into a better leader?
Task CompletionAre projects being completed on time, or at all? Are you experiencing the satisfaction and celebration of targets being reached?

Remember that the goal next year shouldn’t be to score 100, but merely to look at your greatest area of need and strategise to make that score a little higher. Be kind to yourself. You’re our most valuable asset.

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