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7 Questions on Leadership with Ryan Subong

Name: Ryan Subong

Title: Principal

Organisation: Acelina School, Inc.

Ryan Subong is a basic education principal at Acelina School, Inc., a private school in Quezon City Philippines. His leadership thrusts include innovation and teacher empowerment.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Ryan's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

As a leader, I found empowering teachers the most challenging. Making people believe that they can contribute and their contribution matters is hard to achieve. The proper blend of motivation, consistency, inspiration, and luck comes makes an indispensable ingredient. It's not easy to achieve this blend.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I'd like to call it destiny's game. I was religiously building myself as a math teacher but a group of religious people thought I possessed the leadership skills and would become a good school leader. I was appointed the school principal of their school. The rest is history.

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

I follow a certain routine such as reading emails and messages. I have my list of what to accomplish for the day. About half is spent with learning how to improve the quality of teachers and learning. The rest is spent doing problem-solving, decision-making, monitoring, and contemplation.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

My being a school leader should not deprive my kids of their father. I was told by my son that I was still working and reading even during Saturdays and Sundays. Coming from a seven-year old, it was heart-breaking.

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?

One book that has had profoundly impacted me is "Put Your Best Foot Forward". I had adoubted myself as a leader thinking that others are better than me, especially when I was starting to assume leadership roles. But what I learned from this book on how to change people's perception on me transformed that doubt into a deep-seated conviction that I can be better beyond what I thought others see me.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

One piece of advice I'd give a young leader is not to fear failing because failure teaches you a new perception of how to succeed.

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

Two young public school teachers I used to work with as their principal were awarded as innovators in a division in our region. They thanked me for having worked with them and the impact I have on them.

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