All of us have referred to the government, our bosses, or the evening news as “they” (i.e., what “they did” or what “they said”). As an administrator, you can be sure that some employees are negatively speaking of what “they”—meaning you—are doing.
For the sake of fulfilling the school’s mission, we want to lead an effective group. Here are ten considerations for changing this dynamic and capturing the power of “we.”
- Consider that the culture may need to change with you first. Begin by no longer saying “my” school when “our” school is better. Your staff works “with” you, not “for” you. Do you similarly, negatively refer to the staff as “they”?
- Capitalize on gaining momentum with small wins. Everyone wants to be on a winning team.
- Accept that some issues require you to go it alone. Constant consensus building can drive you insane. Remember, some teachers want to be left alone—on some issues.
- Seek input at every reasonable opportunity. Be clear, though, about whether you are simply looking for input before you make your decision or if you really want the group to decide.
- “Family” meetings are not always possible. Consider touching base with a few key people before moving forward.
- Exhibit servant leadership skills and attitudes. When you have sacrificed, cared, and extended your ability to help colleagues in need, they will know you are on their team.
- Establish clear roles, and support, improve, and appreciate every role. Be number one in appreciation.
- Have clear objectives and structure team efforts to reach them.
- Celebrate along the way.
- Remember that you can’t realistically require a reference to your leadership as anything but “they.” You are an administrator and your teachers are not. In these cases, it can be beneficial to remember “they” is just a pronoun. It is all in how it is used.