LEADING LIGHTS     Issue 3 | 2021

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Being human centred in leading - What really matters!

Editorial |  Dr. Murray Fletcher |

Humanity wooden sign with a street background

"Relational approaches are a way of being in the world, a way that honours, respects, and dignifies the other person. We create meaning together rather than imposing our own views."

- Arlene Katz, Ed.D., Taos Institute Associate and Lecturer, Harvard Medical School

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou

Wellbeing is very much on leaders' minds at the present time; a focus on the wellbeing of ākonga, staff and whānau. An equally important focus is on one’s own wellbeing as a leader and having self care at the forefront.

I have always placed high importance on energy management, as offered by Loehr and Schwartz (2005) as one re-energises, re-charges and re-plenishes one’s own reservoirs so as to be of service to others. These authors see energy ‘management’ in a holistic way; we might refer to this as a sense of Hauora, that embraces all aspects of our well being.

An article that resonated with me several years ago, and which I have shared with many others, was one by Green, who asks are you aiming to be a good enough or a perfect leader? This is not being good enough in terms of mediocre or of a low standard; rather the idea of doing one’s best, creating space for others to give of their best, being real, vulnerable, and showing failure; all aspects of genuine humanness. Do we create that space, the le va, for others? Do we need to ‘let go’?

Leadership is not a role one ‘acts’ out. Leadership is a relational dynamic where people, being real and who they are, influence pedagogy, practice, and direction, by being genuine and humane.

In this challenging time there is a need to focus on regenerating what can and needs to be different in education rather than just sustaining what is and has always been. Part of this regeneration is ensuring humanness is a constant that is displayed through such qualities as compassion (including self-compassion), awareness and mindfulness. Human-centred leaders (a choice one has not a trend to be followed) “nurture cultures of caring, excellence and trust by being an upholder, awakener and connector” (Kennedy, Campis & Leclerc, 2020)

Branson & Marra (2021), in a forthcoming book offer a message to leaders: “Let the energy flow so that the people and their organisation can thrive”.

Rachel Naomi Remen gives insight into being of service –

“Helping, fixing and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul”.

Remen continues

“Fixing and helping create a distance between people, but we cannot serve at a distance. We can only serve that to which we are profoundly connected”.

The place of whanaungatanga, awhinatanga, wairuatanga, Manaakitanga, kotahitanga.

In this edition aspects of being human feature in the articles. The notion of ‘belonging’ is highlighted in the research described by Dr. Christine Harris, Tumuaki/Principal at Te Kura o Huriawa Thorrington in Canterbury; the notion of ‘wisdom’ ‘Wisdom creation and wisdom in practice, is featured in the article by Dr. Chris Branson and Dr. Maureen Marra who challenge us to lead wisely. Jonathan Young, principal of Waimataitai School in South Canterbury reflects on the notion of ‘Wayfinding’ as a participant in the online NZEALS Educational Leadership Forums. I explore the notion of wayfinding even further through Dr. Cherie Spiller’s contribution to the book Ngā kete Mātauranga Māori Scholars at the Research Interface.

We hear from Jeremy Kedian, our president and from Dr Ann Briggs, our secretary, who outlines associate membership as an exciting conisderation, a survey with the 2022 conference as the focus and a request for articles for JELPP.

Ngā mihi mahana

Murray Fletcher
(Leading Lights editor)

body, mind, soul, spirit - personal growth or development concept - handwriting on a handmade paper


Branson C.M. & Marra, M. (2021). A new theory of organizational ecology, and its implications for educational leadership. London: Bloomsbury

Kennedy, Kay, Campis, Susan, Leclerc, Lucy Elsevier B.V. (2020) Human-Centred Leadership: Creating Change From the Inside Out. Nurse leader, 2020-06-01, Vol.18 (3), p.227 www.nurseleader.com

Loehr, J. & Schwartz, T. (2005) The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. New York. Simon & Schuster.

Remen, R.N. Retrieved from https://quotes.pub/rachel-naomi-remen-quotes