As we all start the new school year, there are many opportunities to create new connections, move our buildings forward and help build a school culture that is innovative and great for kids. To be effective in this role and efficient with time, all great leaders understand “why communication matters”. Communication, or the lack of it, may be one of the few factors that determines why certain leaders, initiatives, programs either are successful or fail. Below are some important foundations of communication.
Let’s review what we know about communication:
- Most leaders lose jobs due to poor communication and relationships rather than test scores.
- Leaders must recognize that you must work hard every day to tell your school’s story as that is what we stand for and what the school is about.
- Every opportunity to communicate to even just one parent will help either build your school’s vision or weaken it.
- Always be proactive with communication to the parent community – if you are not telling your school’s story then someone else is telling it for you.
Key aspects of Effective Communication:
- Should be truthful with stakeholders about the efforts
- Must be Relevant/timely and must use quality communication – not quantity.
- Use varied types of communication (ex. email, phone call, and social media) as some situations call for different types of communication. You will know your school community and what works best – but there are some instances where a personal phone call is the best way to resolve an issue instead of a simple email.
- Timely communication is vital
- If it is a sensitive issue – have the conversation in person (no email) and if you are concerned on how something was shared – go to the source and find out.
- Avoid sarcasm and defensiveness – don’t make it about you – make it about moving your school forward
Communication Within your staff:
- Begins the process of building trust among staff
- Be Efficient with staff communication and have a routine when it is distributed compared to “all building emails” all the time (ex. have an internal weekly email newsletter)
- Should inform/organize and motivate others
- To build the vision and culture, keep in mind the analogy of “shout praise and whisper criticism” – so visit individually with someone when there is a concern and then collectively to everyone share the praise and supports
- Make the praise authentic, specific and immediate
Communication is a part of a leader’s job and happens throughout the day…..every day in every email, phone conversation and social media post. It is a key attribute that effective leaders or organizations all have in common. The role of a school leader is very complex and each day places different demands upon leaders. Using these basic characteristics will help ensure communication is effective and moves your organization forward.
I look forward to hearing from you about your insights into the importance of communication within your role. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org