I was recently reading the biography Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson. Issacson relates the story of Jobs’ feelings for one of his teachers. Jobs describes how that teacher saved him by stimulating his mind and making him feel unique and special. This made me think of all the great teachers that I’ve encountered and how, like parents, they make each student feel uniquely loved. As principals it’s our task to do the same thing for our teachers especially if we’re looking to do new and innovative things in our schools. If we’re to be innovative like Jobs, within our own field of education, we must prepare our staff for it.
Love = Trust
Without trust there can not be love. As the principal you gotta be the first one to take that step. Take a chance and be vulnerable. Ask for help in an area of weakness. You don’t have to know everything. Setting up and organizing community get togethers with the families of our students is not something that I’m good at. At the beginning of the year I made sure to ask for help from the staff members that I knew enjoyed and were good at that kind of thing. By doing so I provided them the opportunity to be experts as well as creating the groundwork for them to ask for help when they needed it.
Love = Collaboration
As the Principal you already know that collaboration is key. Identify those key influencers on your staff and encourage their input. Include as many stakeholders as you can including and especially the students. Use your student governing body to help guide policy. Get those students on board. Provide an end goal that you would like and have them come up with the means to get there. Having stakeholder participation and leadership t will help other staff and students buy in. Collaboration is also another way that you show trust.
Love = Transparency
Being upfront and clear about your expectations helps staff feel safe, one of the keys to feeling loved. When you’re doing things like going over the evaluation tool and breaking down the rubrics it lets the staff know what you’re looking for. Make sure students and staff know where their boundaries are. Jody Capelluti, author of The Savvy Principal says, “If you allow it you approve of it.” Being transparent in what you allow makes it clear what you approve of. Transparency is also part of a trusting relationship.
Trust, collaboration and transparency are demonstrations of love. Love is the ingredient that makes innovation possible. What are other factors that are needed to support innovation? Share your thoughts in the comment sections below.
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For more short articles and tips that support educational leaders check out my blog at theprincipalentrepreneur.com and/or pre 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, new episodes weekly. To join the podcast as a guest, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I’m part of a community of supportive principals please join our private FB group.
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......