The verse in the Bible, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is commonly known as The Golden Rule. It’s found in both Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31. Jesus said this Golden Rule “sums up the Law and the Prophets.” It is a pretty good rule to live by, and one I find quite easy. Sort of.
In many aspects of school life, I consider how I would like my family or myself to be treated, and respond accordingly, in good conscience, to whatever the situation might be. Most school leaders I know are very good at putting others before themselves. It happens all the time, and why we often end the day having achieved nothing on our own to-do lists because we are busy reacting to the needs of children, parents and staff members. I’m good with that. The children should be at the centre of everything we do and their needs must always come first. However, it is also important to look after yourself. A burnt out head teacher is not going to be anywhere near as effective as one who has a healthy body and mind.
If a member of the team is struggling in some way, I will do anything and everything to support them. If a child has a worry or is struggling in some way, I will do all I can to help. If a parent has a concern, I will address it. However, I find it much harder to treat myself in the same way. I can give advice, but don’t always know how to act on it. I find it easy to treat others how I’d like to be treated, but much harder to treat myself how I treat others.
So if I could go back in time to the start of my leadership journey and tell myself just one thing, it would be to go easier on myself. It’s ok to learn from mistakes. You will not please everybody all of the time, so don’t get hung up on the tiny fraction of interactions you have where all parties involved aren’t entirely delighted with you or the outcome. You have good judgement and you will one day be able to look back on all you achieved through an incredibly challenging time with pride and satisfaction.
It’s one thing knowing all of this, acting upon it is entirely another.
But I’ll try.