Hey there y’all! This week, I am putting on my leader hat! Yes, for the past 16 years I have been the leader of an organization of about 70 people. Not too big…not too small! I think, just right! And, as you have heard me say before, it is about the people and how you LEAD them…not just being a manager. But, this week, I want to talk about the people.
Something that I have discussed at length with my colleagues lately is…how are we taking care of people. Now, hear me say this…yes, I get that people want to be at home working. I understand! Who doesn’t want a day that has breaks where you can cuddle your dog, take a walking lunch, you know…the things we all would love to be able to have in life. But, in education, let me say, that doesn’t work. It may work in other fields, but kids need their teachers…they need to be in school…so I cannot give my staff this flexibility.
So…how do I take care of them. Because, if you take care of them, they WILL take care of you! So, how do we do it? For me, it takes a few different approaches. I need them to be held accountable, but I need them to know I care for their wellbeing. I need them to know I believe in them and that they can get through whatever is thrown at them…but, I have also learned the hard way…if I do it all for them, they will never gain the skills to be their best. So, here are my tips!
- I want to be sure I greet them each day. I want them to know that I see them, want to be sure they are ok, and want to set them up for success! I take my coffee and I walk my building. I check in, ask questions about their class or their family (whatever is appropriate for that day), answer questions, and just give them my attention. This goes a long way! I have people ask, on the occasion that I get caught up and can’t make it to them all, if all is ok…and if I am there for them. I think this can tell you, this morning time is very important!
- I listen to them. I promise you, I will not be able to tell them yes to everything…and I think they know this. But, I take time to listen…ask questions…and think through my responses before I make a final decision. I believe this helps not only me make the best decision for the building, but it helps them feel heard…that their opinion matters…and it does! I do not know it all…and sometimes, as we all can get bogged down in decision making, we need these outside opinions before deciding.
- I work hard to be understanding and flexible with their personal issues. This can come back and get me sometimes, but I am human…and being a “transplant” (someone who relocates for a job without family and support), I understand when times get hard. Will I always say yes…probably not, but I try my best, while still keeping our main thing the main thing.
- And finally, I am sure my staff knows my expectations up front. I am not wishy-washy…I say what I mean and mean what I say. This can occasionally be hard, but it is fair…and I try to always be fair! it is how I would want to be treated…no surprises…say what you mean!
I am in my 17th year as a school leader…wow, times sure does fly! We have had good years and tough years…happy staff and not so happy staff! As the leader, however, it is up to us to set the tone and expectations each day…and then live those expectations. It is not easy most days, but it is worth it! And, as I said before, when you take care of your people, they take care of you! I challenge you, if you are a leader, reflect on how you take care of your people! If you have great ideas, I would love to hear them! I am always growing and learning, and on a quest to be the best leader I can be for my people, I am always looking for tips! Until next time! Cheri ❤️