Monday, June 25, 2012

Improve your relationship with the teaching faculty

Seeking a Mentor | Having a mentor | Finding a Mentor | Mentorship | ByronIngraham.com  For administrators, your relationship with the teaching faculty is a key component to achieving school wide goals and improving the quality of the student experience.  As with all relationships, this one will have its ups and downs.  However, if you follow a few basic guidelines, you can improve the chances of establishing healthy, respectful, and effective relationships with teachers.

Here are a few suggestions.

Avoid possessive language
The teachers do not belong to you.  Stop referring to them as "my faculty."  Along those same lines, the school (or division, or class) doesn't belong to you either.  The same rule applies.

Ask questions
I have found that asking more questions than delivering monologues is a good way to maintain good relationships.  That doesn't mean I am not guilty of pontificating from time to time, but at least I recognize it.

Listen to answers
If you ask questions, it helps to listen to the answers (and implement them as necessary).

Visibility
If the only time the teachers see you is when they come to the office, you have a relationship problem.  Get out and be more visible (and approachable).

Honesty
Simply rule for relationships - don't lie.  If you need to say something, be truthful.

Laugh
Nothing improves relationships like sharing a good laugh.  Find a way to make someone laugh each day.  It will help your own mental health as well.

Celebrate
When the team reaches a goal, recognize it and celebrate - even the small victories.  After some time, the little achievements add up to big ones.

High expectations with support
Nobody wants to have expectations so low that just about anyone can achieve them.  Most people like a challenge.  On the other hand, setting expectations high and NOT providing the support and resources needed to achieve them is also a recipe for relationship disaster.  Expect much, but also provide much.

Feel their pain
Don't ask anyone to do something you wouldn't do.  If a task is something too painful for you, taking the path of reassigning it just to make it go away is bad for relationships.  Do the before, after, and lunch duty yourself.  Proctor the study hall.  Take a role in doing the painful work that nobody really wants to do.

Remove barriers
Whenever possible, remove structural and bureaucratic barriers to getting the work done.  Mark these items down and revisit them in leadership team meetings, especially at the end of the year when such items come up for review.

Give credit
You cannot give too much praise or credit to those who deserve recognition.  Be generous in giving credit where credit is due.

5 powerful words
"I am sorry."
"Thank you."


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