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Conviction, Courage and Curiosity

During a leadership coaching session Mary (not her real name) shocked us all.

After registering her interest and being successful to lead her year level team, she stunned the other year level leaders by the comments from one of her team members.

It was during the first well prepared collaboration meeting with agenda and space for feedback. Mary had done a bit of work to make the team feel comfortable with the new structure which was working towards Positive Culture.

When it was Jane’s (again not her real name) turn to add to the feedback she stated,

“Just because you are the leader, doesn’t mean things will change.”

Rightly Mary was devastated. Jane was a colleague. One of the first to support the need for a change of Culture. Now at the first opportunity to really support the change, she is a blocker. A hurtful blocker.

Mary sought counsil and comfort from a fellow leader who helped as best they could, but not with any tangible strategies moving forward.

This is why the Leadership Coaching sessions are so valuable. We learn from others and discuss various solutions to combat the next time this situation happens again.

What we discovered was a set of confidence strategies to shield and strengthen the leader.


We all agreed that what the school is doing to change the culture from toxic to positive was worth the effort. Also, the strategy to do this via Courageous Leadership was the perfect vehicle to spread the message.

The leaders had conviction to the purpose.

You can’t lead without conviction. Belief in what you say and do.

Mary had conviction. This incident was not going to stop her.


Simon Sinek has said that the number one value a leader needs is courage. Courage to think and do differently against the comfortable norm. There will be times of discomfort. But change only happens after it is uncomfortable for leaders and teams.

Mary had courage. She talked about courageous times in her life. She validates her courage.


A mindset of curiosity rather than defense, leads to understanding and insight of others.

Mary’s reply to Jane’s comment could have been, “Why do you think that, Jane?”

The ball is now in Jane’s court to give evidence or data as to why Mary is not up for the job.

Most of the time there is no evidence, in which case the Jane’s of the team discover it easier to be part of the solution rather than the problem.

Mary and her fellow leaders added another layer of support for each other. They now have a common language of Conviction, Courage, and Curiosity.

Michael E Gerber said that the step from technician to manager is a daunting task. Just because you work with the product, does not mean you can work with the people.

Empower your staff so they can deal with the people who make a difference to student outcomes.

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