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What I Learned from the advanced leadership program

A participant in NESLI’s Advanced Leadership Program reflects on her experiences and offers some tips for leaders working in schools.

Keep a journal. If I were to give just one piece of advice about attending this course it would be this. Writing your own thoughts down is a good start, especially about what objectives you have in mind. Or, you could simply collect other people’s thoughts and stick them in. One of my favourites hails from the late AFL coach Phil Walsh - you do not rise to the occasion but rather ‘sink to the level of your training’. Apt for any field of endeavour.

Find a mentor. That is your next step. After a chat with them, you are bound to add some of their ideas to your list.

Read. A lot.

Now when you get the ‘Program’ (and, yes, that is the way it is spelt) handbook you will be glad you kept all your writings because your first activity asks you to record your objectives. ‘What is your main purpose’ is the real question. Is it leading? Managing? Or do you realise after the first two hours of introductions, like I did, that you feel the least qualified to comment on either? But that is the aim of the course: to embrace all disparate thoughts in search of your authentic self. So self-disclose away. 

Got a loud inner critic? Reach for Headspace and you will be meditating in no time. Especially when it comes to determining your crucible events in life. These are events that were life changing for you. Funny, but I discovered there was an equal amount of both positive and negative experiences, though you may find yours distributed otherwise. Ultimately, it reveals your core values. There are 293 from which to choose - good luck!

In the end, you will hopefully hit the ‘sweet spot’, learn to be ‘free’, formulate an action plan and fill in the clouds. It is all part of self-reflective practice – provided, of course, you keep a journal. 


Another brick of the W.A.L.L. (Women As Lifelong Learners)

Brick wall
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National Excellence in School Leadership Initiative, NESLI
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