"As a leader, every action you take (or don't take), every interaction you have, every decision you make or leave unmade, every expression on your face, the tone in your voice, or the body language you convey - everything about you - either earns or erodes trust". #LEADLAP
It is amazing how much impact the way that the members of the SLT team speak to people, has on the welfare of staff and ultimately on the school community. I have been making a conscious effort since the beginning of term two last year to end conversations with staff in a positive light. I am also very aware of the need to greet parents everyday with a cheerful smile and a confident manner. (This of course goes for children as well, but I think that teachers probably do that towards children more instinctively). Being friendly and positive inspires trust.
I am not talking about the "difficult conversations" where cutting to the chase is necessary, but about the professional discussions we have with our staff around pedagogical shifts. I can still remember the sinking feeling that I had, the day that I realised that my passion alone was not enough to inspire people to change their practice. I realised that I had done some damage in the way that I implied that the efforts of the team I was working with (collaborative practice) were not good enough. While I knew at the time that my "next steps" advice was falling like a lead balloon, it was too late at that time to redeem the situation.
It didn't take much reflection to realise that I had failed in my half hearted attempt to congratulate them on what they had achieved so far in their efforts to get their heads around collaboration. Since that day, the one when I knew that I had completely taken the wind out their sails, I have been much more focused on moving forwards with less speed and more encouragement. I make sure that I include something positive in every professional conversation. When working with my crew, I try to "make it a priority to build rapport and relationships". (pg 30 #LEADLAP). I try to listen and show that I value their input. " Pirate leaders embrace opportunities to hear multiple opportunities to hear multiple perspectives, and they value the contributions each person makes to the organisation - and they tell them so" (pg. 30)
In 'Leading in a Culture of Change" Michael Fullan in his study of District Two, one of his study districts in Ontario, shares his findings and describes the four conditions for developing trust and the positive outcomes of establishing a culture of trust. (Fullan, 2003).