Name: Brian Fahey
Title: Head of School
Organisation: West Chester Friends School
Lifelong learner and educator. Starting my tenth year as a head of school.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Brian's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Attending to long-term projects and goals while having to put out fires in the short term.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I taught and coached for almost thirty years. An opportunity came up and several colleagues encouraged me to pursue it. I jumped in and have never looked back.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Check email and texts first thing. Get dressed for work. Make breakfast and lunch. Get to work and start on my day by looking over my commitments for the day. I make a checklist and list of reminders and then start to go through them one at a time. After work I typically pick up things on the way home that we might need. I do any household chores that need to be done, cook dinner, help to clean up, exercise and then spend time with my family if there are no meetings that I have to attend. Then I go to bed.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Sometimes I know what has to be done, but I resist it because it's hard. I give. myself a deadline for doing it so that I don't procrastinate and make the problem worse.
5. 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?
Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand. It's about several characters, including a horse, that have all been through trauma and seemingly have been left behind. They find each other and are restored by their common bond. It has reminded me to be patient with others and to see that sometimes there is unlocked potential in people that needs to be unlocked with care.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
When facing a difficult decision with our board. I encouraged everyone to stick with our process and assured them that we would achieve the best outcome if we were able to listen to each other, to let the collective wisdom of the group lead the way. After a lot of difficult meetings, we came to a wonderful resolution. It taught e to have faith in others and to put my trust in the process.