Having a strong team around you is vital when leading in a school (any other organisation). But how do you create that team who trusts, supports and strengthens your leadership?
Showing that you trust, and support others is one way of doing this. Encouraging every individual to develop, follow and utilise their strengths within the school can have huge benefits to others, including the pupils.
As a head teacher I always gave staff a leadership target to work towards each year. It didn’t matter which role they held in school; all were included as everyone had a strength to share with others.
Seeing support staff training and sharing their good practice with each other, not only meant financial savings for the school, but also showed them how valued they were.
Really listening to individuals and taking account and considering the opinions and views of others is also important. Communication is always bottom of the list on staff surveys so actively plan to improve this. Talk to everyone. A conversation usually provides more information than a staff survey.
Obviously quality CPD is important (and so are the nice lunches that usually go with training days away) but these are expensive so choose wisely. I spent time embedding a culture of coaching within the school (more about this on a later top tip) which supported staff development and was free!
Delegating wisely as a head teacher and allowing my team to make mistakes and reframing these into a positive narrative encouraged staff to be brave, confident, creative and resilient. But this wasn’t always easy, particularly in the early days of my headship when I was less confident in my own abilities, was afraid to delegate and lose that control and wanted to show others that I could do it myself.
With more experience, I realised the benefits of delegating and of relinquishing that control and the value in investing time in developing others and encouraging them to ‘grow’ as well giving me a love of coaching.
I took great pride in being able to hand over my school to my deputy and assistant head teacher when I left a few years ago to follow my passion for coaching. I had invested in their development and provided them with opportunities and the reward for this was support, sustainability and strength for me and my leadership!
So, my tip is, get to know your staff really well. Uncover their hidden talents and strengths and put these to good use.
Invest in your team - wisely!