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Personal Strengths a Focus for Senior Leaders

Regulus // Issue 2 // August 2022

More news for Staff

Matt Parr, Vicki Pettit, John Ruge and Kerry Larby stand in a row smiling in front of trees.

Director of Boarding Matt Parr, Deputy Principal of Preparatory School (Well-being) and Head of Education Vicki Pettit, Head of Senior College John Ruge, and Head of Well‑being Kerry Larby

Taking part in a Gallup Clifton Strengths assessment has helped a group of 22 members of the Senior Leadership Team, including the Executive Team and senior managers in the Secondary and Preparatory Schools, to delve deeper into their understanding of their personal strengths, says Head of Well-being, Kerry Larby.

“All staff and students at St Andrew’s have completed the VIA Strengths Survey, which is a broader taxonomy on universal human values. The Gallup Clifton Strengths comprise 34 themes under four different work‑related categories – Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building, Influencing, and Executing."

"Taking part in this assessment has helped our senior leaders to discover how they can best use their talents to achieve their personal goals, and the strategic goals set by the College.”

Engaging in the process as a team also allowed the senior leaders to develop awareness about each other’s strengths, and how they might collaborate. As part of the assessment, each senior leader was connected with a strengths coach from the Gallup Institute for a one-hour session, looking at how they can best utilise their strengths at work, says Kerry.

“At the conclusion of the training, each leader was challenged to articulate and share their leadership philosophy with the wider team. This included a description of how they contribute their strengths to their leadership role.”

Deputy Principal of Preparatory School (Well-being) and Head of Education, Vicki Pettit, says the Clifton Strengths assessment process was helpful on an individual level, and she enjoyed gaining insights into other members of the leadership team.“I developed a greater appreciation of the strengths of others and how this can help us as we work together and lead our respective teams.”

Director of Boarding, Matt Parr, agrees the workshop was a great opportunity to connect with other senior leaders from around all areas of the College. “I enjoyed learning how my strengths interact with others and gained a better appreciation of how other people respond or react to situations when considering it from a strength-based lens. It was also great to be able to draw links between the Gallup and VIA Strengths.”

Head of Senior College, John Ruge, found the detailed insights into his own profile both affirming and challenging. “The Clifton Strengths assessment validates my innate strengths in a very empowering way, as well as challenging me to be aware of how these impact my leadership style and how they affect the way I interact with the others in our team.” He sees huge potential for building stronger teams through the training and is hoping to transfer some of this knowledge to programmes with student leaders.

Building a strength-based culture is an important goal for staff and students at St Andrew’s College and exposing leaders to their unique strengths has proven to be an effective way to influence broader cultural change in teams, says Kerry. “Developing self-awareness and appreciation of the diverse talents of others in the senior leadership group, is helping our already effective and flourishing team to move forward even more positively together.”

Members of our Senior Leadership Team take steps to understand their personal strengths to aid effective leadership.

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