Welcome back to term 2. I hope you managed to find some time for rest and relaxation and have strapped yourself in ready for the next chapter.
There is certainly a lot we don’t know and what we know to be true today, might be different tomorrow. Our leadership is stretched as we manage the discomfort, uncertainty and ambiguity of the COVID-19 challenge.
During The Drum on April 1 2020 Melbourne lawyer Nyadol Nyon made a statement that resonated with me. She said “What all of us need to appreciate, if I can speak so boldly, is to try to get comfortable with uncertainty and try and get comfortable with the fact that some of the rights and privileges that we have taken for granted are not going to look the same in the foreseeable future… There will be no clear answers and we need to sit with that discomfort and at least acknowledge it. Part of the frustration is not knowing what to do. We are not going to get all of the answers we need from leaders.”
So, what helps us to respond with confidence and adaptability to ambiguity?
Colin Shaw, founder and CEO of Beyond Philosophy produced 10 tips for leaders.
- Suppress your urge to control things.People like to feel in control of their businesses. Often, this results in stress when ambiguity enters the scene.
- Learn to act without the complete picture.In an ambiguous world you will never have all the information you need for absolute certainty. Don’t wait for that final bit of hard data that will tell you what to do because it may never come. Get all the information available, make the best decision you can and act on it.
- Understand that some of your decisions will be wrong.Now that you made the best decision you can, realise that it might be wrong. Don’t let that put you off. Sometimes a wrong decision is better than no decision. Being a good [leader] is about making more right decisions than you do wrong. Get comfortable with making mistakes by looking at them as learning opportunities.
- Work on your flexibility.Be willing to change course as more information comes to light. Don’t let pride delay you from correcting your course. Ambiguity can reveal facts at any time that are going to affect your best decision. Be willing to accept these gifts and incorporate them into your direction and make the necessary changes.
- Learn to deal with uncertainty.To deal with ambiguity you need to be comfortable with uncertainty. My natural urge is to control everything, but I can’t. So, I cope with this by being prepared for what I can.
- Realise there is not a defined plan you need to follow.Make your peace with the fact that there is no defined ‘right and wrong’.
- Be confident in yourself and your abilities.Part of learning to deal with uncertainty is to have confidence in your ability to respond to what you can’t control. Confidence is a huge asset to a person in business and life in general. The best article on confident people I have ever read is ‘9 Qualities of Truly Confident People’, by Dharmesh Shah. Dharmesh says that confident people are not afraid to take a stand, are good listeners, avoid the spotlight, ask for help and aren’t afraid to be wrong. They also avoid putting others down and own their mistakes. Having these qualities will help you adapt and respond to a market you can’t control; whose future is ambiguous.
- Listen to your voice.People talk about their ‘guts’ or ‘making a gut decision’. What you attribute to your gut is really your subconscious looking at inputs from around your world. Our processing power is powered 95% from our subconscious, or your brain looking at information ‘offline’, processing it and then telling you what to do. Therefore, listen to it. This is the wealth of your knowledge speaking in a small voice. Listen to the voice.
- Listen to advice.At Beyond Philosophy we use a phrase ‘None of us are as clever as all of us’. Do you think that because you are the boss you have all the best answers? You don’t. Be comfortable with people being cleverer than you and use this as a resource. Surround yourself with good people and remember you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen to what your people say. Weigh up their concerns. Embrace the people who look at the world differently because it’s always great to get a contrary view or a view from outside the box as it can be the answer or halfway to the answer. Also, don’t steal their ideas. Give them credit so they will carry on giving you lots of great new ideas going forward.
- Learn to deal with your stress.Even if you do all these things, ambiguity can still cause stress, as the world is uncertain. Learn to manage this stress by having outlets to relieve your stress. When you are relaxed you are far more able to respond to problems and challenges with successful solutions. Investing some time in cultivating a relaxed state of mind is important to your leadership skills.
Managaing your wellbeing is crucial in these times. Below are reminders for some services you are able to access.
Employee Assistance Program
All NT Government staff can access professional, confidential counselling sessions through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The Department of Education has extended the program to provide additional support to staff for the next 12 months. The extended services are:
- Individual counselling services have been increased from three to six sessions per person for all DoE staff and their current spouses/partners and dependents.
- Staff employed by School Representative Body (SRB) can also now access the services. SRB employees will be asked to verify their identity with their preferred EAP provider by providing a recent payslip and photocopy of their valid Ochre Card.
Staff can arrange counselling sessions by contacting their preferred provider on the Employee Assistance Programs website
EASA and CORP Workplace Solutions are committed to supporting all Territorians during these unprecedented times, and have developed some tips for maintaining our wellbeing:
Principal Wellbeing Framework and Teacher Wellbeing Strategy
A range of resources to support wellbeing for educators is available on the Teach in the Territory website
Provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.
Black Dog Institute
Evidence-based resources to help individuals, workplaces, schools, parents and health professionals.
Lifeline provides all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Phone: 13 11 14
Confidential information, counselling and support service for people impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. Open 24 hours a day.
Telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
NT Mental Health Helpline -
A free, confidential 24-hour hotline for emergency help or support for anyone experiencing a mental health issue, or those concerned about another person's mental health or wellbeing.
Phone: 1800 682 288
Free, online assessment and treatment service for Australian adults with anxiety or depression.
Phone: 1800 61 44 34
Relationship support for individuals and families.
PH: 1300 364 277
Please stay well.
We continue to advocate on your behalf and if you feel your questions are not being answered or have specific needs that need to be addressed please let me know so we can elevate them.
President Email: or firstname.lastname@example.org
AITSL’s blueprint for empowering high-impact school leaders across Australia.
The blueprint has been developed based on findings from research and consultation, including outcomes of the School Leadership Roundtable held in July 2019.
The blueprint outlines national reforms to enable high-impact school leadership, including to:
- reimagine the Australian Professional Standard for Principals as a leadership standard to establish structured career pathways and support the development of aspiring principals and other school leaders, strengthen linkages to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, and prioritise high-impact school leadership practices
- develop induction resources for newly appointed principals
- establish professional learning needs across career stages and increase equity of access to high-quality leadership development and principal preparation experiences
- develop materials to support principals and other school leaders working in rural and remote Australia.
Please view a copy of the blueprint below:
The COVID-19: Managing Your Mental Health Online During COVID-19 Factsheet is targeted at adults mental health and includes useful information on managing your mental health as well as links to:
- Crisis Support – Phone and online counselling
- Self-guided programs
- Relevant Mental Health Support Apps
- Moderated Forums; and
- Links to a variety of web based resources.
The Managing Your Mental Health Online During COVID-19 Factsheet has been produced by eMHPrac (e-mental health in practice) are provided below.
School Stream would like to present a solution to all schools associated with NTPA
We are working in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a part of the Disaster Response Community, to donate access to our software and give all schools free access to a new School Crisis Communication App.
- The app provides unlimited messaging from your schools to their communities.
- Send unlimited alerts directly to a parent/caregiver’s mobile device.
- Keep your school community informed and updated in real-time.
- The app can translate your key messages in 104 languages
- Support as required
We are unsure how long this crisis will last and are offering the app for Term Two. We will review this as needs change. Please note you are under zero obligation to continue with School Stream after this time. This service is free. We want to help and support schools, parents and students during this stressful time and keep everyone in communication.
If you would like to have a look at the app, once your account is activated you can send your first alert, communication or form Its easy. Register here.
Scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000 are currently available to women working in schools education to help support their participation in a range of online career building leadership development programs.
The initiative is providing junior teachers, school administrators and senior principals with scholarships to support their growth and development via participation in one of three flagship courses. Participants will benefit from course content such as Elements of a Successful Team, Team Dynamics, Purpose Priorities and Professional Development, Empowering Teams, and Evolving Strategic Change.
Expressions of Interest
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form here prior to Friday, May 15:https://www.wla.edu.au/education.html
We hope you are taking the time to refresh and reconnect to your interests.
We have found some great lisitening through the ABC conversations episodes.
We invite you to have a look:
We would love to hear of some of your favourite podcasts or reads that we can share with the members.