The saying goes “Great School exist because of its people.” If you agree with that statement, notice it said “people” and not “principal”. This is not to say that principals or administrators are not critical to the success of the school. Rather, it infers that it takes all the people: administrators-teachers-front office and classified staff all working together with a common purpose and mission to make a great school.
For leaders to move their schools from good to great, they must leverage their staff and find ways to develop others. The questions becomes – “How”. Here are the essential ways to develop others.
- Take time to get to know people
The most significant part of any school is its culture. The culture of a school is created through the relationships between staff members and how staff work with students. The relationships start through conversations. Leaders must be out in their buildings, supporting the work and being visible so staff know the leader is there to support them and cares. Only then will staff be receptive to listening to the leader’s vision. You cannot replace the authentic conversations that occur when a leader is out and about in a building and has the chance to give a high five or say “thank you” to a colleague. Authentic actions are genuine and most impactful.
- Develop yourself first and then develop others
It is true. If you want to develop others you must develop yourself first. Simply this means that you must find time to consistently learn the latest strategies, reflect upon your work and seek ways to challenge the status quo. This ensures you are “sharpening the saw” which allows you to be at your best to help others. At the same time, you must create a balance in our life. Leading others is a marathon – not a sprint – so having a balance is essential.
- Maximize teacher’s strengths.
All teachers want to do great things and they care about kids. For leaders, it is critical we ask ourselves “what do they do great” so we understand where they can add value to the school and at the same time can grow. Then we must find ways to provide a platform where they are given opportunities to help lead in that strength area that impact others. When a staff member is given the chance to lead an activity or help make a decision then it is monumental for their inner drive. This creates greater confidence as they are empowered to help be part of the change in the school.
- Personalized Learning for staff – focus on growth
Yes, we want all teachers to grow in instructional practices, but the reality is there are differences with staff. Instead of wasting large amounts of time and energy trying to get everyone to move from the same “Point A to Point B”, it critical we help everyone move “from their own Point A to Point B.” This can only occur if the professional learning provides different entry points for staff to learn/grow while relating to the goals of the building. Leaders must continually ensure that the professional learning is tied to the goals of the school and staff are clear on the purpose. This allows everyone to “row the boat in the same direction”.
- Provide opportunities for reflection and learn from others
The school year is an exciting but exhausting process. It can take a toll on educators despite our best efforts to stay focused. We must intentionally provide ways for staff to reflect upon their experiences as it relates to teaching/learning, professional growth and collaborative practices. In addition, we must provide a platform where staff feel comfortable sharing this with others so the collective efficacy of our building improves. This allows the staff to learn from their experiences and that of others – the result is GROWTH.
6. Develop Collective Efficacy
The final component that is needed to develop others is finding time and ways for staff to collaborate. When educators spend time talking about their craft and best practices, the collective energy increases and teacher realize they are the difference.
I look forward to hearing from you on how you are developing others to move your school towards excellence. Comment below or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org