Well done for taking action and completing a whole school scan for health and wellbeing. You have taken the first step towards improving the health and wellbeing of the staff in your setting. Read on to learn about how to focus on building your leadership team to be role models for change.

The success of your school rests on the shoulders of the leadership team.

School leaders play a clear role in the wellbeing of staff. The actions and opinions of someone in a leadership role can have a strong influence on a staff member’s overall feelings of wellness at work and on those suffering from or at risk of mental illness.

Whole school culture can be improved by building the capabilities of leaders through professional development that focuses on not only school leadership styles and people management skills but also ways to support those with mental and physical health challenges.

Research from Beyond Blue Australia shows that leaders provided with mental health training feel more confident in discussing mental health matters and, as a result, the data shows a reduction of staff reported psychological distress. Additionally, an inspiring, motivated and caring leadership style has been associated with enhanced mental wellbeing of staff within a school.

At the core level, school leaders require skills in emotional intelligence to be able to support the health and wellbeing of the staff they lead. This includes self-awareness (the ability to recognise and understand one’s own emotions, as well as their effect on other people), self-regulation (being able to manage one’s emotions appropriately), social awareness (skilful interactions that build meaningful relationships), empathy (the ability to understand how others are feeling and respond with care) and self-motivation (being able to harness passion to fulfil inner needs).

The schools that perform at a much higher level are those that have a strong culture – led by those at the top. With effective leadership, the school engenders more loyalty and commitment from staff, innovation, and collaboration which sets them apart from other schools. Strong leadership invigorates team and staff performance, improves communication between staff, and inspires motivation which all leads to better staff and student outcomes.

Step 1: All members of the leadership team complete a leadership self-evaluation

Ways to do this include:

  • All school leaders complete this Leadership Self-Evaluation Tool and reflect on their skills, capacity and experience to lead and influence teacher wellbeing 
  • Identify key areas of focus and priorities for professional development as a team or individually moving forward
  • Consider a 360 Degree Feedback tool – a method and a tool that provides leaders with the opportunity to receive performance feedback from management, peers and staff members

Step 2: Explore and provide training and PL for leaders

Develop their awareness of, knowledge, and skills in supporting staff wellbeing and the mental health of staff.

Ways to do this include:

  • Analyse the Leadership Evaluation Tool and decide on team or personal professional development goals.
  • Start a “book club” for the leadership team to explore and discuss free workplace wellbeing resources and organisations (see my list below)
  • Enrol the executive team in online training led by mental health organisations and providers to develop their skills in managing and responding to staff with a mental health challenge
  • Enrol the leadership team in a Mental Health First Aid Course – this is currently subsidised at the moment due to COVID-19.
  • Explore resources and online training from organisations such as Beyond Blue, Black Dog, BeYou, Lifeline etc
Leading through change

Step 3: Explore and provide training and PL for leaders to develop their awareness, knowledge, and skills in leadership and emotional intelligence.

Ways to do this include:

  • Start a “book club” for the leadership team to explore and discuss readings about leadership styles and future development
  • Enrol the executive team in online training to build their leadership capacity
  • Complete and discuss free online emotional intelligence questionnaires 
  • Book leadership group or 1:1 coaching to support the leadership team to develop their relevant knowledge and skills in emotional intelligence.


Would you like support to improve your schools culture?

Book in a FREE school culture assessment consultation and identify and plan your next steps to improved staff health and wellbeing in your school.

In this appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your school's concerns, goals and your next strategic steps towards a more positive school culture.

Book a time