Bolder Leadership

6 Key Elements to Effective Leadership

Effective leadership is not only essential for the success of any organisation, it is also critical for the development of its members. As a school principal, your primary responsibility is to create an environment that fosters your students’ academic, social, and emotional growth. To do this, you must lead by example and create a continuous learning and development culture. Working on your inner world makes a stronger outer world. BOLDER leadership can help you achieve this by focusing on six key elements: Beliefs, Optimism, Learning, Discipline, Energy, and Resilience.

Beliefs are the bedrock upon which you build your leadership style, and they should be deeply ingrained in everything you do as a school principal. First, identify your core beliefs and values to become a BOLDER leader. Reflect on what you want to achieve, what motivates you, and what you stand for. Once you clearly understand your beliefs, communicate them effectively to your staff, students, and community. Your beliefs and values form the basis of your decision-making process, essential for creating a shared sense of purpose and direction. Recognising that your beliefs are not set in stone is equally crucial. As you gain new experiences and insights, your beliefs may change, and you must be willing to evolve.

Optimism is the second element of BOLDER leadership. Optimism does not mean ignoring problems or being unrealistic about the situation. As a leader, cultivate a positive attitude and outlook, even in challenging situations. To develop optimism, focus on the strengths and potential of your staff and students and be solution-oriented. Celebrate successes and progress, no matter how small, and encourage them to learn from their mistakes and failures. By creating a culture of optimism and positivity, you can foster a sense of resilience and determination that can help you overcome even the most significant challenges.

Learning is continuous, and influential leaders are committed to lifelong learning and development. As a school principal, you must be committed to ongoing learning and development, both for yourself and your staff. Encourage your staff and students to explore new ideas and approaches, which can lead to increased creativity and innovation. Provide opportunities for professional development, offer feedback and support, constructive feedback, and create a safe and supportive learning environment. By prioritising learning, you can create a culture of continuous improvement where everyone is encouraged to grow and develop.

Discipline is essential for staying on track and avoiding distractions, ensuring you consistently work towards your goals and priorities. As a school principal, you have numerous responsibilities, from managing staff and budgets to ensuring the safety and well-being of your students. Self-discipline helps you maintain a strong sense of professionalism, and you can set a positive example for others to follow. This can foster a culture of discipline and professionalism throughout your school, ultimately leading to improved student outcomes and a more positive school environment.

School principals need to maintain their energy levels to lead effectively. Energy is a finite resource, and you often work long hours, manage multiple tasks simultaneously, and handle high-stress situations regularly. Therefore, it is important to proactively maintain your physical, emotional, and mental health and energy. Prioritise your self-care routines, such as getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthily, and taking daily breaks to recharge. Make time for hobbies, interests, and other activities outside of work to help you relax and maintain your energy levels. When you care for yourself, you can lead with more energy and focus, inspiring your team to do the same.

Resilience is vital for managing stress, maintaining mental and emotional well-being, and leading effectively. As a leader, you must be prepared to face challenging situations, from working with difficult staff members to dealing with student crises. Building resilience takes time and effort, and it is a critical trait for effective leadership. Focus on building your coping skills. Seek out resources and support systems, such as professional development opportunities, peer networks, and mentoring programs, to help you manage challenging situations. Practice positive self-talk, set realistic goals, and celebrate small wins to stay motivated and build your resilience over time.

Leaders have a critical role to play in shaping the future of their students. The more you grow personally, the better you will be professionally. Through Beliefs, Optimism, Learning, Discipline, Energy, and Resilience, BOLDER leadership can empower you to become a more effective leader. By embodying these traits, you can inspire your staff and students to achieve their goals and create a positive school
culture that fosters learning and growth.

Published on Tuesday, February 21st, 2023, under Habits of Mind, Learning, Life lessons, Success, Transformational Learning

Karen Tui Boyes is a champion for Life Long Learning across nations, industries and organisations. Winner of the NZ Educator of the Year 2017 and 2014 and the NZ Speaker of the Year award in 2013 & 2019, Karen is a sought after speaker who continually gets rave reviews from audiences around the world. Her dynamic style and highly informative content—which turns the latest educational research into easy-to-implement strategies and techniques — sets her apart from others in her field.

2 Responses to “Bolder Leadership”

  1. Mark McCallum says:

    Morning Karen,

    Just wondering if you have any start of year PD events for staff… Like a day with Karen? I would love to fly my team down to Christchurch for a day with you if something was going on?

    Many Thanks

    Mark McCallum

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