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Strong Leaders are Networked Leaders

Building leader wellbeing and capability through collaborative networks
QASSP, in partnership with DETE, is about to officially launch the Strong Leaders initiative. Replacing and extending past programs like Principals Connect, the Strong Leaders initiative is open to QASSP members as well as all classified officers and aspiring leaders in the primary sector.

Specifically this means that if you are a Principal, Deputy Principal, Head of School, Head of Special Education, Head of Curriculum, a Guidance Officer, or are aspiring to one of these classified positions, QASSP is encouraging you to consider supporting your own wellbeing and that of your colleagues through a supportive network of colleagues.

The initiative is based on the presupposition that strong leadership and strong personal wellbeing are closely related. Leadership is ‘an inside job’ it starts from within. Strong, resilient school leaders provide the very best support for staff, parents and students.

Leaders first lead themselves in order to lead others and in turn to lead their organisation. The stronger the leader – the stronger the school.

Simply put, the days when you feel strong within yourself are the days when you are most likely to be most effective and in turn to find the job most rewarding. An investment in your personal wellbeing is an investment in your leadership effectiveness that flows through to a broad range of outcomes for students, staff and community.

Not only do you as a leader deserve to feel on top of your game but your school community deserves to have the very best version of you turning up every day. We know that at the end of the day it is each of us individually (and only each of us individually) who can take responsibility for what we think, feel, say and do. Our internal thoughts and feelings and our external words and actions are our personal responsibility. As much as we might like someone else to be able to magically ‘happy’ us or for us to be able to magically do the same for others we know at some level that this cannot occur.

While this recognition of personal responsibility is true, it is also true that if we work in a warm, supportive and encouraging environment, an environment where we have colleagues who are both empathetic and challenging we are likely to regain our wellbeing more quickly and are more likely to maintain it. Also when we reach out to support another we can in turn be a catalyst for their return to strength.

This is the essence of Strong Leaders – that each and every primary school leader and aspiring leader will be part of a supportive collegial network where members regularly check on each other and challenge others to operate at their peak.

Service, which encompasses wellbeing, is one of the three pillars of QASSP. (The others are Leadership and Advocacy.) Indeed it is the notion of collegial support, which was the main reason why many of us joined QASSP in the first place and why we remain members.

QASSP is delighted to have the opportunity to champion and promote collegial networking for all leaders and aspiring leaders in the primary sector of the Office of State Schooling.

With the financial support of DETE, QASSP has provided professional learning for 42 of our Branch Service Officers (BSOs) from branches across the state. By the end of Term 3 this year, once again with the financial support of DETE, we will induct an additional 20 BSOs. This time we will focus particularly on rural and remote areas of the state.

Many of our branches cover vast areas and our aim is to have additional highly skilled BSOs in those areas.

Your Branch Service Officer’s role is not to take responsibility for everyone’s wellbeing. This is neither possible nor desirable. Their role is to encourage you and your colleagues to take personal responsibility and to actively create a network should you not have one.

As an initial step QASSP shall soon be officially launching the initiative and offering ways that we can support you and your colleagues. I encourage QASSP members to lead the way.

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