Whether you are an experienced principal/assistant principal in your school or are planning to be the lead administator in a new school next year, one element that will help define your success is the development of a trusting relationship with your staff. If you stop and think of the administrators from your previous school assignments, what made you respect and follow his/her directives without hesitation? Most will respond experiencing a high level of trust for the person that helped you and would support, guide and direct you by acting in a professional and caring manner. In other words, a leader that anyone would strive to emulate.
A recent blog in the April 29 ASCDedge titled “The Principal’s of Building Trust” written by Chris Sousa covers this topic. Recognizing that relationships between leaders and staff need to be based on trust and honesty, Sousa listed five common practices that school administrators could/should do to earn staff trust and support.
- Sincerity and believability are critical. Demonstrating that you care about your staff, both professional and classified and that you understand that it takes time for a staff to trust a new leader is important.
- The concept of “visibility is credibility” needs to be an important part of your daily routine. This applies to students as well as staff. Administrators who routinely remain in the office area may lose the trust of their staff and miss opportunities to demonstrate that they care about their staff. Students are the same in that they gain more comfort being around you the more they see you on a regular basis. Cafeterias and hallways are great locations for principals.
- If you want to develop a team spirit among the staff that will support you and that will trust you, be in the mix with them when facing a crisis or a new situation/task.
- In order to build trust, you will need to take a risk. Put yourself in a position shared by your staff so they know you can develop new skills or are willing to try a new experience.
- If you ask for feedback from your staff, be certain to use it. Nothing spells disaster better than surveys sent out by administrators and then have the administrator fail to act on any recommendations or ideas put forth in the survey. The staff will learn that you are just asking for input, but really not using of their ideas. This will have staff members deciding that giving feedback is non-productive and a waste of their time.
If you would like to review this entire blog, please go to: http://edge.ascd.org/_The-34Principals34-of-Building-Trust/blog/6564621/127586.html