Listening and reflection are key skills of effective leaders, but when the going gets tough and criticism comes from parents and/or staff it is vital we are able to keep perspective.

This is especially true when a number of situations occur at one time.  At such times most of us would question our decisions and the way we do things.  Have we got it right, was there the right amount of support, encouragement, were people enabled? However, it seems to me that in high pressure jobs there can become a narrow line between an awareness that there may be room for improvement and associated healthy reflection and the point at which someone takes it too personally, they lose their focus and confidence and things become destructive.

In the last few months I have been really sad to hear of a number of people where things have become too much for them and they have become depressed, unable to cope or worse.

It is easy to say that when the going gets tough we all need to have positive, effective coping strategies and someone or several people we can talk with who can help us keep perspective. How much do we talk about deep resilience, coping under intense pressure, maintaining positive mental health or is it one of the few remaining taboos? . . . we do not mention stress in the workplace.  Where is it included in training and ways to cope?

At middle management and deputy head level there is more mutual support, but for heads it seems to me there is little training or support in this specific area.  It would appear to be the same in industry.  May be I am wrong, but recent situations with friends or their family members has made me question this.  I think more could and should be done in this area.

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