Thursday, April 5, 2018

Trust - the glue that holds us together

At the NESA Conference I attended several sessions with Fran Prolman about instructional leadership.  The focus of these sessions was on building relationships.  In her book, Building Your Instructional Leadership, Fran writes about trust, which is something that cannot be taught, but which is developed in response to events, behaviour and conversations:  basically trust and loyalty has to be earned by the leader and this takes time (generally 6-9 months).

So how can school leaders build trust so that teachers are working in an environment of risk-taking, mutual support, honest feedback and continuous growth.  Leaders need to know how to promote and facilitate collaboration because adult collaboration in schools has a direct impact on student achievement. Fran lists 5 important ways of building trust:

  1. Model vulnerability - if you want teachers to be honest and to talk about problems of practice you have to model vulnerability first.  Are you secure enough with who you are to give up the pretence of perfection?
  2. Cultivate familiarity - pop into classrooms and ask what additional support teachers want.  Familiarity leads to a raised level of caring, of comfort, of trust and of psychological safety.
  3. Facilitate commonalities - heighten the awareness of similar interests and hobbies - this will build connections and trust.
  4. Invite and acknowledge concerns and fears - model empathy, active listening, being non-judgemental and offering support.
  5. Prove your competence - so that teachers will feel confidence in you as a leader.
What other ideas do you have?  How do you build and maintain trust in your school?

Photo Credit: jessica wilson {jek in the box} Flickr via Compfight cc

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