Leading with Purpose: Strategies to Sustain in Leadership through Prioritizing Growth and Self-Care


EdLeader Episode graphic for episode 86

Leaders tend to dive into their work and forget about themselves. Later, they find themselves feeling drained, frustrated, and tired. We have heard the clarion calls to prioritize our own self-care. We have also heard that self-care is not selfish. Though important aspects, self-care is more than just exercise and eating well. It is also prioritizing your own growth, continuous learning, building a support network, achieving a work-life balance, and choosing personal joy.

During the first season of the EdLeader podcast, Dr. Kerry Robincon said, "Self-care is not selfish."

On this episode, EdLeader host Dr. Rob Jackson welcomes back a close friend, a past guest on this podcast, and one of the most respected educators in the state of North Carolina, Chatham County Schools Superintendent Dr. Tony Jackson! Dr. Jackson shares strategies to sustain in leadership through prioritizing growth and self-care. Being the best you is not being a great leader while being a terrible spouse, parent, sibling, and friend.

Dr. Tony Jackson shared the eight focus points on Self-Care called the Superintendent’s Wellness Wheel during a summer presentation to superintendents.
  1. Leading with Purpose
  2. Prioritize your Growth
  3. Continuous Learning
  4. Growth Mindset
  5. Self-Care
  6. Building a Support Network
  7. Work-life Balance
  8. Personal Joy
Leading with Purpose – Give it your all by being present and available but remember what brought you to the table. Develop a system to get things completed by deputizing your cabinet to make decisions in your absence.

Prioritize your growth – You arrived in your Superintendent seat as an educator. Take care of your learning. Attend conferences in your field of study that you enjoyed as an educator.

Continuous Learning – Feed your mental health by reading and learning new things.

Growth Mindset – Celebrate what you did at the end of the week! Bring some optimistic closure to a tough week or a great week.

Self-Care – Your health is your responsibility and you can’t focus if you are not healthy. It is not about losing weight but feeling good. We sometimes grab unhealthy choices at our conferences with pastries, sodas, and doughnuts. Please be mindful of those selections.

Building a Support Network – Call people and check the pulse of others. It will not only help you but give you the self-gratitude you are helping someone else.

Work-life Balance – Making it a practice to promote fitness and healthy living, and creating fun groups are some of the more common work-life balance examples today Working too much and too long hours are a sign of an unhealthy work-life balance. It might be that you feel you need to work more hours in order to get all your tasks done, or you might feel pressure from the school board to take on more work. Working from home can also increase the risk of working longer hours.

Personal Joy - Joy at work comes from recognition of our contribution, having meaningful relationships with colleagues, and feeling a sense of purpose. Remember what supports you and your colleagues to thrive the most at work, together, individually, through good times and difficult times.

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Dr. Tony Jackson on Twitter


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