It was 5:30 am and I was on the treadmill getting my workout in before school. Sweat was dripping in my eyes as my bad knees complained about the pounding I was giving them. Luckily I had on SportsCenter to distract me. I was about halfway through my time when one of those Fantasy Football commercials came on urging the viewer to create a league. It looked simple enough, and I knew a lot of my friends were participants. I decided to check it out.
Ask for Help:
As the new Principal one of the first things I did was ask for help. I was looking to create a schedule that accommodated the needs of the staff while still providing building level support for students. By asking for help in making a daily schedule, I was able develop trust by clearly showing that I was taking their needs into consideration. Asking for help demonstrates vulnerability and makes it clear that you don’t believe that you have all the answers.
Simply asking “how can I help” shows empathy. It demonstrates that you understand the stress and the time constraints that your teachers are under. I have a special education teacher who is swamped with getting ready for her IEP’s and student follow up. The previous week I asked if there was anything I could do to help support her. At that time she said that she had everything under control. The next week while I was walking down the hall to do a pre observation she asked for some assistance in putting her lesson plans online. By offering to help and then following through I showed I was reliable and true to my word.
Offering a staff member sincere acknowledgement of what they’ve contributed shows them that you see the hard work that they’re putting in and that you aren’t taking it for granted. We have a teacher in a leadership position who consistently pulls staff together. She hosts staff get togethers, facilitates small learning communities and provides support in numerous other areas both big and small. Publicly giving thanks for her efforts at our staff meeting creates a culture of openness, support and trust.
Being humble and asking for help, helping as needed and showing gratitude are simple ways to build staff trust. What are your quick tips for building a culture of trust? Please share in the comment section below.
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For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at the www.howtobeagreatprincpal.com and order my newest book How To Be A Great Principal: 36 Shared Leadership Success Strategies. If you’re an auditory learner you can download my podcast The Principal Entrepreneur, on itunes and podomatic, new episodes weekly. If you’re interested in sharing your experience as an edleader please email me at email@example.com Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.
As a Dynamic Principal you don’t have to be Darth Vader and force students to do what you like. There are three simple psychological techniques that can help change students’ behavior and your interactions with them.
Go to Dagaboh
Change the environment when meeting with a student. According to Psychology Today, [priming] refers to activating particular representations in memory just before carrying out an action or a task. For example, most students associate the principal’s office with discipline and their defenses and anxiety go up. They’ve been primed to expect negative consequences. This shuts down higher brain functions.
I'm a Principal and an Entrepreneur. I'm an owner of a new 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......