Building a culture of Trust… between Principal and Staff
In order to create a positive change in schools, trust is an important factor. Trust between staff members, and also trust between staff and the principal. Even if you are a decent person who is experienced and there is no reason for the staff to NOT trust you. Trust building takes time and a lot of effort.
So what all have been successful, and not so successful strategies in building trust between Principal and Staff, a Principal shares.
Make a habit of Listening
You may try to share your ideas and thoughts with your team, which is good. But doesn't do much wonders for building trust. What you need to do is listen. When you listen, it shows that you care. It shows that you are ready to take everyone forward as a team rather than making this just about you. Avoid interruptions when in a meeting with your staff and just listen to what they have to say.
2. Do as you say
In order to build trust, you must do as you say you would. It is about managing effectively. Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything, as it will make people lose trust if you are not able to work on that specified task. Prioritise and be prepared to politely decline. Say “not at this time” or “maybe later” and convey that you are working hard to follow through commitments made to staff, students and families. By focusing on effective management skills such as follow-through and organization, we can build more trust that has a resulting impact on leadership and culture.
While making decisions, make sure you share why. Decisions will be questioned but through this you can tell that the end goal is student welfare. It is also important to remind and share the decisions you took together as a team. Things may not be perfect, but the transparency from your end will help people understand the why of things.
Unclear communication can cause misunderstandings and assumptions that hinder the building of trust. It is not what is said that is always important, it is what is HEARD that is important. As trust builds, also does the number of people available to help you in this area. When what is heard is what is meant, we are not sidetracked by spending time clarifying and backtracking.
Caring and Leadership
Whether it is a decision about students, families, or staff, we must lead with an “ethic of care”. Our actions model our values so by leading with care, we can create the conditions for a culture of care and build more understanding and trust.
Putting ourselves out there can be hard but very powerful. We cannot pretend to be experts; we need to be learners – learners that take risks and sometimes fail. When mistakes are made, I have learned from the feedback of others to own it, apologize for it, change, and move forward to work to repair it. When we show vulnerability, we show that we are human and this makes relationships and connections stronger; with these relationships comes trust.
You may think if this is all really necessary. Trust takes time but it is crucial in moving to a positive organizational culture. While we are building trust with our staff, we are modeling effective relationships and also working with each other as colleagues to create an environment of trust and a resulting collaborative culture.
This article is inspired by an article on ConnectedPrincipals.com. Read the original here.