Māori Researcher Article of the Week: Ko Wai Au (Who Am I)? Authentic Leadership and Mindfulness in Higher Education

Identity is a huge part of leadership. This chapter will describe the challenges of returning to my country of birth, Aotearoa (New Zealand) after 27 years of living and working in Australia, to take on a senior leadership role in a mid-sized, urban university. It will reflect on the value of intentional and mindful construction of professional role identities and how I, as a brown woman in a position of influence, have used conscious impression management and mindfulness strategies to navigate the complexity and challenges of the higher education sector and the new context in which I perform. These techniques provide me with tools to build my emotional resilience and maintain an optimistic mindset thus allowing me to visibly take calculated risks and lead. The espoused values of the organisation I work for, cultural expectations, and the feminist framework of mana wāhine are informing and transforming my leadership practice in this new context. In the language of my indigenous culture, te reo Māori—Ko Kim Tairi au. He Kaitoha Puka au—I am Kim Tairi. I am a University Librarian. It is through this self-construction of role identity, visibility and performance in different spaces that I have gained the confidence to effectively manage impressions and fulfil the expectations of the role.

Read the full chapter here


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