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Thank you to the 1,400 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions!
I hope reading

7 Questions with Guy Ayling

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Guy Ayling

Name: Guy Ayling

Current title: Head Master and Principal

Current organisation: Mount Kelly

Joined the teaching profession in 1994 following graduation from the University of St. Andrew's. Other than for three years in the state system in Japan, I have worked in independent boarding schools in the UK, as classroom teacher, Housemaster, Deputy Head and from 2012 as a Headmaster.

7 Questions with Guy Ayling

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader in the education sector?

Convincing others to loosen their grips and trust the people they lead.

2. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Most days revolve around 'set-piece' meetings with time always set aside for staff to see me at short notice, and for me to walk the corridors. I also always try to find time for head-clearing bike rides, and the day starts early - usually by 5am - in order to clear the desk before the real work of the day starts.

3. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

That it is hard and will never be cracked, but that we can improve by always being willing to listen and learn.

4. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The Little Book of Big Stuff About the Brain: The True Story of Your Amazing Brain by Andrew Curran.
A quick but profoundly impactful read about the importance of emotion and relationships in learning - recommended to all parents as well as teachers.

5. How do you find and keep great leaders in the education sector?

We will only find and keep more successfully if we build a culture in which our leaders are fully empowered to make the big decisions.

6. What's most important as a leader in the education sector for developing a culture of wellbeing in your staff and students?

Make sure that whatever anyone is telling you, it is the most important thing in the world at that exact moment in time. And then act on it.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader in the education sector so far?

Several years ago a very young pupil approached me on Sports' Day to tell me how excited she was to be running in some races. She confided though that she was worried about something. I asked her to tell me what was troubling her and she simply said 'what happens if we break a world record?'. It is a memory that serves to remind me of the hope of youth that we as teachers must cherish and protect.

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