I heard of a school owner that would rather listen to advise from family members than from her own members of staff. She saw the role of an administrator as a mere operational role, neglected the input of people with experience, and settled for inputs from outsiders and relatives. This continued for a while, and she noticed high resignations from teachers, and a drop in enrollment. As a school owner, you own your school – no one is fighting for that position with you. But the problem lies in wanting to be a RULER than a LEADER.
For an administrator to move beyond operational management roles to authentic leadership, they need to understand their staff capacity, promote open communication, and provide useful feedback.
1. Encourage Suggestions from Your Staff
“I am the Boss” – this is what most school owners utter when their teachers give suggestions. There is this Yoruba adage that says, “A dog that will get lost won’t heed to the hunter’s whistle.” Avoid seeing your solutions as the only solution, and intentionally set aside time for interacting with staff and responding to their concerns. Creating a staff-first culture shows your staff that you value their contributions and take their concerns seriously.
2. Focus on Respect rather than Popularity
While it can be tempting to make a decision your staff might want, ensure that your decision-making process center around student needs. It’s been established that if you keep students at the core of your decision-making and are consistent, most staffers will accept unpopular decisions, especially if you communicate your reasons.
3. Provide Regular, Constructive Feedback
Make sure to give your assessments as soon after an encounter as possible, and provide examples. Feedback doesn’t have to be negative. Use the opportunity to evaluate staff as a platform for offering praise and boosting confidence, Joseph says.
4. Set out Clear Goals
In setting objectives, make sure to communicate with your staff so that they understand their roles in accomplishing those shared goals.
5. Lead by Example
The aim is to be a leader and not a dictator. The idea of leading by example is to practice what you preach. Model, the traits that you would like to see your staff members display, starting from small actions like dumping refuse in the right spot and where to eat can be an opportunity to model the behavior you would like to see in your staff.
6. Assign Duties
The reason why you have staff is that you cannot do all the work yourself. Build a cordial relationship and trust with your team such that you can assign some responsibilities to them and free up your time for other important duties.
7. Make Meetings Matter
Meeting for the sake of having regular meetings—particularly if there is nothing on the agenda—frustrates people. Eliminate meetings that aren’t serving your team by identifying specific outcomes for each meeting and distributing information in other, more time-efficient ways, such as email.