No matter how good we are or how generous, there is always going to be a percentage of staff that doesn’t like how we lead. There might not be an active dislike but they may not completely trust us. I was recently reading an an article at bloomberg.com called: Americans Can't Stand Their Bosses, and Bosses Admit They're Phoning it in, which makes the claim that at least half of the American workforce has quit their job to get away from a bad boss. While we know we’re not bad, the following three steps are easy tips to build connections and lower that percentage of staff that just seems to be automatically resistant to our leadership style. In doing so we can avoid staff turnover and cultural instability in our schools.
Say my name, say my name
For some reason humans inherently like the sound of their own name. It’s important that we use staff members names when addressing them. It’s a simple strategy that can build a lot of relationship equity. Calling our teachers by name in staff meetings and providing them opportunities to express opinions in areas of alignment is a good way to soften overall tensions.
Back to life, back to reality
The life of an educator is unquestioningly overwhelming and time consuming. Treating our staff as if education is their life and expecting them to treat it as such is a recipe for both subtle and active resistance. Learn something about their lives outside of the four walls of the classroom. Invite ways for them to bring their outside passions into the building. Once you do so, bring those up in conversation or send them an email with a link that they may find interesting. Find multiple ways to integrate their passions into your school culture. Addressing all parts of the person is a great way to build credibility and rapport.
Say you, say me, say it together
This idea goes back to them having a life. Once you learn more about them you may find that you actually have things in common. One of the ways people connect is by belonging to the same “tribe”. Being fans of the same team being interested in entrepreneurship, or wellness or ways to connect. Finding commonalities is a great strategy in bringing someone over to your side of the fence.
Unfortunately, there is always going to be a small number of staff members that isn’t going to like us. This is when getting a thicker skin is necessary. However, shrinking this percentage by addressing these staff members by name, treating them like they have a life and bonding over similarities are three strategies that will help tip the balance in our favour.
What are some other strategies you use to help staff members “buy-in”? Share your tips in the comment section below. If you found this entertaining, educational or cause for reflection please follow me and share with your friends.
For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my other blogs and/or order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. You can also get a monthly email that delivers the most valuable blogs, as voted by readers, by joining the Principals’ Prep Minute. You can register right on the website.
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I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm the former owner of a food venture Hustling Hoagies, the author of the children's picture books Detective Dwayne Drake and the Alphabet Thief, Detective Dwayne Drake and The Case of the Mathematical Misfit and the ebook Making it as a Male Model in Michigan. I've worked professionally as a model and commercial actor......