This past year has been a year of growth for me. I have learned about myself and am proud of where I am in my evolution to become the best leader I can be. Here are three leadership lessons I learned last year that I am taking with me into 2023.
Leadership confidence is strengthened like a muscle. I have been a leader in girls’ schools for the past 12 years and every day I am faced with difficult situations or decisions. Whether it is helping a student advocate for themselves or conversation with a parent, these things can be a challenge and emotionally draining.
When I was the Assistant Head of School, if I could not reach an agreement with a student or parent, I always had the Head of School to bump the decision to. I had someone else I could rely on to be the final say or the “heavy”, and I used this like a crutch for my leadership confidence at times. Now that I have my own program, I am the leader and final decision maker. Over the course of the last semester, I have had to be comfortable knowing that not everyone will agree with me and having the final say is hard, but with experience this is getting easier. I have “exercised” my voice and decision making without backup, and these experiences have added up and built my confidence. I am feeling much stronger in my ability to lead on my own with just six months of practice. I am excited to see how much I will grow with an entire year of leading under my belt.
Leaders need rest. One of the best decisions I made this year was to take the entire month of August off. Historically, I had only taken two weeks of vacation in the summer, but adding two more really helped. I was able to go on vacation to relax in a change of scenery. When I came back I was refreshed and able to rest at home. My lesson here is rest can be just as productive as activity. When I was fully rested I felt more present, creative, and excited for the upcoming school year instead of dreading to get back on the hamster wheel. I may not be able to do this every year, but I now can feel a difference in my body when I prioritize rest and when I don’t. Another sign of personal growth!
Leaders have professional support. Leaders are the models for what they want to see in their organizations. It is wonderful to be supported by the community you lead, but sometimes leaders carry things they cannot discuss with the larger group. The responsibility that comes with leadership can bring up heavy worries and emotions when you are feeling alone at the top. I have experienced that this year and having someone to talk to has helped me lessen my sleepless nights and also not take my anxiety home to my relationships. I highly recommend for leaders to have a professional coach, therapist, or both, to help lighten this load. Leaders who seek support send the message to their community that they value mental health and personal balance.
Happy New Year, everyone! I can’t believe today marks a year of launching The Positive Coach blog. I love having a platform to share my experiences coaching students in leadership, and life skills, while focusing on building confidence and prioritizing mental health. Thank you for reading along with me on my journey. Here is to another year of supporting girls and women to become confident leaders!