Identity Seeping Through
Five Ways to Support the Well-Being of School Leaders by Julia Mahfouz, Kathleen King, Danny Yahya
Greater Good Magazine: University of California, Berkeley, September 6, 2022
Five Ways to Support the Well-Being of School Leaders highlights five strategies that can help promote the well-being and success of school leaders. Implementing these strategies can help promote social-emotional well-being, fight burnout, and improve the quality of education and support for students. The authors remind us that the job demands of leaders “can lead to exhaustion, and burnout syndrome – a state of mental and physical exhaustion any worker can experience when work demands exceed personal resources.” Further, “If principals do not attend to their own well-being to counteract its negative mental, social, emotional, and physical health effects, their coworkers may be at risk for the same negative effects.” These five strategies – supporting self-care, incorporating well-being into professional development, promoting coaching and mentoring, using policies to promote well-being, and creating stability through longer-term leadership assignments – train leaders effectively while reducing the chances of burnout. The effect that school leaders have is heightened when reflecting on the practices of constituencies around them. Leaders tend to create an identity that seeps through the rest of the school, and if education is to be a laboratory, wellness and healing come first. Creating conditions that promote wellness for leaders will pay dividends in wellness across the school. The article gives decision-makers an entry point to finding the answers to solving for high turnover, where it exists, and creating opportunities to keep themselves and others healthy and effective.