As a new principal managing your way through your first year, you should have one main goal: Building your credibility as the school leader.
The quickest way to do this is not through regaling the staff with the high points of your resume. They care little about that. They want to know they can believe in you.
Check out these three tips to get a jump start on building mutual trust.
Rinse and Repeat
When the building staff know you’ll do what you say and say what you’ll do, it’s easier for them to follow your lead. You need to be consistent and continually repeat this process. This feeling of consistently creates a sense of safety and the staff will know they can count on you. They can reliably predict your behavior and this sense of routine provides security within the school.
Keep it Real
When you are truthful, even about the difficult things especially about the difficult things, teachers will be less likely to hide things from you. They know they will be treated fairly. When mistakes are made they will be more often than not be treated as learning opportunities, not as something to be ashamed of and hidden. Being honest doesn’t mean discretion isn’t needed. It’s perfectly okay to say you can’t talk about certain things and leave it at that.
Clarity is Key
When you’re imparting information to your staff make sure your intentions are clear. If a teacher asks you a question and you answer it partially they will take your response as gospel. They will fill in the rest and hold you accountable to the whole. In staff meetings and you make a claim that half the staff interprets as a commitment to act and you fail to follow through your credibility will be dinged. When you’re crystal clear about your intentions there’s less of an opportunity for others to put words in your mouth.
Consistency, honesty and clear communication are three keys to building a foundation of trust between staff and yourself.
How do you build trust? What other traits do you look for in figures of authority? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, foreverdigital.