This post is a tad late, but as they say better late than never.
In my interview for the principal position I was asked to talk about my leadership style. To be honest I really didn't have an answer. I sort of knew that I wanted to lead by example, with open communication and open dialogue about tough issues. I guess it has taken me the last 7 months to figure out my real leadership style. And to be honest, again, I don't really know if it is a real style. For all I know I probably am making the whole thing up. But I digress.
What I see is that I am leading through relationships. What this means to me is that I am building relationships every day with my staff in order to facilitate the change and direction that is needed in my school. Now if I could only get ahold of some money to make that work, everything would be great. Regardless , I still feel that by forging lasting relationships it will allow me to move my staff forward. Here are a few things that I try to work on while I am building the relationship:
- Trust: Without trust you are going nowhere. Your staff has to know that you have their best interests at heart and that they can trust you with important decisions.
- Transparent Communication: Are you open with what you are doing? Do people know where you are coming from? Do you talk to everyone, not just the heavy hitters? Is everything on the table?
- Get to know them: Do you know where their kids go to school? Where they went on vacation, what kind of car they drive. Better yet, do you know what is going on in there classroom?
- Reliability: When they ask you to do something, do you follow through or do you blow smoke? Can you be relied upon by your staff to complete a project, to get the bus lines painted, or to follow through on discipline.
- Making Small Talk: This is one that may be tough because it takes time, but it is important for your staff to know that they can talk to you...about anything.
- Availability: Will you drop what you are doing to help them out, to listen, to explore new ideas, to hear them complain, vent, praise, criticize, compliment, etc.
- Treat them all equally: Do you treat your teachers like your custodian, or does everyone know there is a hierarchy or a class system. Don't forget that everyone shares an equal part in how your school does.
- Be Consistent: Does your staff know what they are going to get each day or are you up and down like a roller coaster.
- Have a sense of humor: I love a good laugh.
Those 9 tips are what I have used over the last 6 years to build a solid foundation of strong relationships. Which in turn have provided me a solid foundation for my first year as a principal and have given me a chance to make some serious progress with the teachers.
Hopefully you can use 1 or 2 to strengthen the relationships at your school. By the way these also work great in a marriage and with your parents :)