Pono: Having self-belief

Pono is about valuing one's self. It includes self-esteem and self-care. It encompasses resilience, wellbeing, and a healthy lifestyle.

Effective principals have a strong sense of self-belief, which helps them to lead with integrity and conviction. They are committed to improvement and are willing to try out new ideas. Their self-belief enables them to remain motivated even in difficult conditions. Their motivation is based on the conviction that they can and will make a difference for their students’ learning. They use their networks and partnerships for support when working through complex or difficult situations (Goleman et al, 2002).

Principals with strong self-belief lead with a sense of purpose. They are self-aware; they understand their emotions and are clear about their goals. From this flows their self-managing capacity and the focussed drive that all leaders need to achieve their goals. Leaders with such self confidence embody an upbeat and optimistic enthusiasm that is infectious. Their courage, conviction, and enthusiasm brings out the best in others.

Self-belief is strongly associated with resilience. Resilience is a capacity for bouncing back when faced with adversity or stress. Resilience is based upon a positive self-view and confidence in one’s strengths and abilities to make realistic plans, to show skill in communication and problem-solving, and to demonstrate the capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.

While the job of being a principal can be highly engaging and satisfying, it is also demanding. Competing priorities mean that principals often leave to one side their own personal and professional needs as they negotiate the tensions involved in being both educational leader and manager. Principals need to be aware of their own energy levels and set priorities that will ensure they have a healthy work-life balance. This is very important for their well-being.

From Kiwi Leadership fpr Principals – Qualities

Related links

Leadership roles

Whenu - key roles of leadership in Tū Rangatira (English)

Ngā whenu – ngā tūranga mātāmua o te kaitātaki in Tū Rangatira (Māori)


Capabilities for leading improvement

In this conference address, Viviane Robinson discusses the ways educational leaders typically solve problems.

Australian Research Council, 2017

Exploring the "psychological" personal leadership resources (scroll to title)

This guide in the Ideas into Action series looks at optimism, self-efficacy, resilience and proactivity.

Ontario Ministry of Education, 2016

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Related sabbatical reports

  • Daniel Murfitt, William Colenso College

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