The nature of relationships among adults in schools is one of the greatest determinants of student learning and school success. Unfortunately, adult relationships in schools are often characterized by mistrust. Teachers frequently don’t trust their colleagues, much less their leaders. In most cases, school improvement is primarily a matter of building trust and collaboration.
Without high degrees of trust, it is impossible for teachers to work collaboratively in teams. Lack of trust is a major problem, as collaboration among teachers is essential for schools to deliver a high quality education that engages students in meaningful learning. In the absence of trust and collaboration, students do not get a good education.
A school leader coach can help school leaders create high degrees of trust and collaboration in their schools. When trust prevails, teachers can work together across disciplines and grades, design projects that engage and motivate students to do their very best, and truly help students to excel academically and socially.
It’s hard work to build trust. First and foremost, building trust requires competence and humility. Both are primarily in the eyes of the beholder. Yet few school leaders ask for their teachers’ views about their leadership in a way that is safe for teachers to give it. If teachers do not believe their leader is competent, even the most competent leader is actually not competent at all.
The solution is to create a safe place for teachers to share their views about their leader and for the leader to work on addressing the issues raised. In so doing, leaders can dramatically improve their competence and clearly demonstrate their humility.
The best approach is to provide regular opportunities for teachers to assess anonymously a wide range of issues, perhaps on a scale of one to five. The following are a few examples:
Ask a few teachers to gather the surveys, tabulate the results and share the information at the next faculty meeting. Then engage in discussions about the issues and how to address them constructively. An Appreciative Inquiry approach is a powerful way to address issues in a constructive manner that can lead to extraordinary collaboration and teamwork, which ultimately leads to students excelling.
Contact me by email or call me at 202.841.0583 for coaching, team building, trust building or consulting services.