Dear colleagues

One of the greatest outcomes of a line management meeting is that along with all the action points/timelines, a colleague can leave the conversation feeling that you as a leader have complete confidence in them. For a governing body speaking with its headteacher or executive team it’s equally important and empowering – a deep sense of ‘we believe in you, we trust you to make great decisions, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with you whatever happens next’.

This week’s Called, Connected, Committed focuses on this core leadership practice – the art of creating confidence. We have all learnt in this season how challenging it is to move things forward with certainty – our circumstances and situations are changing all the time – yet this notion of confidence is central to groups of children returning to school, parents undertaking home learning, teachers thinking about what the Autumn Term might look like, and governors thinking wisely about shifting financial sands.

It can frequently be over-associated with simply appearing positive, rose-tinted and energised, and in this week’s inspirational podcast, I was delighted to sit down with Mark Lacey, CEO of the Diocese of Salisbury Academies Trust, from whom I learnt a great deal about this subject. He told some really helpful personal stories to illustrate this – do click on the link below to listen to this. It opens up the important question of doubt (perhaps the opposite of confidence) – and how healthy it can be to dwell in the doubt. This is not instinctive for many of us – we want to know answers, decisions, timelines and futures, but we need to be confident enough to permit those questions to linger – and through this, our sense of creating confidence can grow in our teams.

There will be few of us who could accurately predict at this point how the Autumn Term will shape up, and we need to work hard at ensuring we face those questions together not alone. Sometimes that means picking up the phone to ask for help – other times it means taking 5 minutes to write an encouraging text or email to a colleague – perhaps borrowing directly from Paul himself in 2 Corinthians – ‘I am glad I can have complete confidence in you'. It may take a few minutes, and yet it may sustain a colleague for many weeks and months knowing this and experiencing it in your leadership.

We continue to thank and applaud you and your teams for all you are doing to change the life chances of children through this season and beyond, and may you know God’s confidence in you today.

Andy Wolfe - Deputy Chief Education Officer (Leadership Development)

Our final open network sessions take place this Wednesday. They are on the topic of Accepting Vulnerability, with Andy Wolfe and Emily Norman. We will repeat the session, so if you are unable to attend at 10am, you can join us at 4pm. All are welcome; sign up at 

This week, our reflection is read by Mark Lacey, CEO of the Diocese of Salisbury Academy Trust

Mark then discusses the text in conversation with Andy Wolfe.
Creating Confidence Reflection & Conversation (Audio Version) - click here to listen
Creating Confidence Reflection (Extract)
Leaders in Education create confidence by perceptively encouraging, supporting and resourcing others in their learning, teaching and leading. They recruit and promote wisely, invest in their teams, and cultivate shared vision, value, trust and joy. They regard interdependence and service of others as crucial to their development, asking not just what can we gain, but also what can we give.
In the midst of doubt, failures and a developing identity, Paul writes to his fledgling church in Corinth, "I am glad I can have complete confidence in you" (2 Corinthians 7:16). His rich, re-assuring and life-giving words ring positively through history, and echo into the office of the contemporary leader... The assurance that someone else believes in us, despite any doubts we may have ourselves (concealed or exposed) is hugely edifying and empowering.

To read the reflection in full visit:

Suggested resources to reflect on the concept Creating Confidence where you are
'Just as teachers create confidence in their classrooms, so leaders create confidence and engender trust in their teams...'
It is particularly crucial right now for teachers to be able to instill confidence in their pupils and in order for that to happen, they themselves need to be encouraged and supported by their school leaders.
The 'Circle of Security
®' model described in this video shows that throughout our lives we need big strong hands that can both delight in our exploration and also welcome us in when we're hurt. As a leader, how can you be the 'bigger, stronger, wiser and kind' person for your teams; as an individual, where are you on this circle right now? What might you need from others?
Circle of Security Animation
'Leaders creating confidence do not promote their own ego, but rather engender a sense of being part of something bigger...'
We are all familiar with the characters in stories who desire to be more and more important, diminishing others' confidence rather than creating it! This leadership article draws from Dr Seuss' 'Yertle the Turtle'. You might enjoy listening to the story being read, or perhaps share it with others. It will certainly make you smile!

'Leaders become more alive to the possibility of failure - things going wrong are a meaningful part of the human journey.'
A favourite podcast within our networks is 'How to Fail with Elizabeth Day' which focuses on times when people have 'failed' and explores the learning and growth that has taken place as a result. Despite the title, these are really inspiring, uplifting and/or moving. A couple to get you started:
with actor Cush Jumbo and chef Nigel Slater

Colin Powell's quote reminds us that we can be encouraged when people bring us their problems as it means they have trust in us and believe that we care. It is not always easy, and can be humbling or painful, but it is fundamental to leadership. Our challenge is what we do with what people share with us - will we have the courage to act?
'Christian confidence is about a choice of orientation towards God and God's purposes...'
This worship song by Amanda Cook encourages the listener to place their confidence in the 'Champion of Heaven'. Where does your confidence come from?

A Prayer for School Leaders

Father of mercy and everlasting love,
Create in us the confidence
To approach you in our time of need.
Lift up our heads when we feel bowed down,
And help us to fix our eyes solely on you.
So that we may lift up heads,
And instil confidence
In our children, in our staff, in our parents,
And in our wider community.
In your loving mercy, please hear our prayer.

Father of compassion and all wisdom,
Send to us the reassurance
To know that you always hear us.
Grant us security when we feel uncertain,
And help us lean firmly on your everlasting arms.
So that we may relieve weariness,
And encourage hope
In our children, in our staff, in our parents,
And in our wider community.
In your loving mercy, please hear our prayer.

For the sake of our saviour, Jesus Christ,
Who has made a way for us to enter
Your rest, your grace, your comfort and your peace.
To him be glory forever

You may like to reflect on the words of this well-known hymn 'Lord of all Hopefulness'. Each verse asks for God's help, thoughout the course of the day.
Be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.
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