Today schools are treated as brands and enormous efforts are ceaselessly being put in by the management to maintain the brand-image or make them bigger better brands. The few main activities of this effort includes ensuring that students rank in the top-list every year, distinct c0-curriuclar activities, enhanced teaching methodologies, catering & fulfilling diverse emotional needs of the children and many more. The onus of the execution of these activities rests on the Principal and the teachers who are the arteries of the school. However, a tremendous amount of pressure is exerted on them to carry out these varied activities on a continuous basis. Execution of planned activities is cumbersome and hence the Principal’s role is one that is challenging and demanding where she/he is under constant pressure from the management and the parents and at the same time she/he has to be amicable to the teachers. The teachers, on the other hand have to ensure that the goals set by the principal are achieved and at the same time the students are getting the best everyday and in every lecture.
Any schools development is directly proportional to the kind of bond/relationship the Principal and the teachers share. It greatly accelerates the progress of the school if the two share a bond of complete trust, companionship, approachability and transparency.
Trust: Though it is difficult to create this bond in a professional relationship, it does develop if honesty, truth and transparency which are the pillars of trust are followed. The teachers should be entrusted with responsibilities and authority to take certain decisions of their own. There could be errors initially but this is how the teachers are going to learn and how delegation of work is going to happen. Teachers need to remember that with authority comes great responsibility and they have to be able to justify themselves for their decisions. In case of a wrong decision the Principal in the initial stages needs to stand by the teacher and help solve problems instead of creating newer ones. This will help strengthen the bond of trust between them.
Reliability: Teachers need to understand that though the Principal is their pillar of strength, they should avoid making errors and increase their reliability. They need to prove that they are reliable to be entrusted with bigger responsibilities. If there is reliability it will go a long way to help reduce the work pressure on the Principal, making him/her more approachable and a stress free person.
Honesty: A person’s integrity, character, and authenticity are all dimensions of trust. These dimensions are all the more magnified when it comes to the education sector because the management, parents and the students are constantly observing the presence of these virtues in a teacher as well as the principal, whom they consider as role-models. I am telling you this out of my own experience that I have faced a lot of challenges by being honest but in the long run being honest is the only way of developing a genuine bond between colleagues and the authority.
Transparency/ Openness: Judgments about openness have to do with how freely another party shares information with others. Guarded communication, for instance, provokes distrust because people wonder what is being withheld and why. Openness is crucial to the development of trust between supervisors and subordinates, particularly in times of increased vulnerability for staff.
Approachability: Even at times of serious issues the teacher should have the confidence to come and discuss the issue at hand without hesitation. If the Principal remains unapproachable, he/ she will remain unaware of matter of serious concern and this may lead to piling up of situations that need to be handled, leading them to be out of hand and beyond solutions.
Mentorship: The Principal with her/his vast experience and superior knowledge should prove to be a mentor and guide for her team.
Ownership: Principal and the teachers, both should have the strength to take up ownership for their acts and decisions. Running away from problems does not solve them. To reflect upon them positively and taking responsibility and ownership of the same is the only way to solving them.
Enthusiasm and taking Initiatives: Taking up challenges and converting them into opportunities always helps. Shirking them makes life easy for the time being but it just leads to a dead end. Remember standing water will become stagnant.
To give an instance, When I was asked by my Director in my earlier school to conduct an in-house training for my colleagues, I could have refused it and made my work easy for the time being, but I took it up as a challenge and conducted an interactive workshop on classroom management and received a wonderful feedback for the same. This was the very beginning of my journey as a soft skills trainer. I thank my Director for having given me this opportunity.
Appreciation: Every person young or old is hungry for this. A pat on the back works wonders and shows us we are on the right path.
Respect: This is a key ingredient in making any relation work. Give respect and you will get it should be the motto. This is a sure way of getting the students to respect us too.
While these are the Ten maxims to build a successful relationship between the Principal and the Teachers of the school we have to accept the fact that it is easier said than done and hence there are certain road blocks that arise. Obstacles to trust are sure to come especially in schools that have experienced high turnover in school leadership, repeated layoffs, and budget short falls, differences in teaching practices, school polices affecting the faculty and students.
Having worked with Pune’s top schools and closely witnessing the many issues, concerns, misunderstandings has given me the experience in suggesting the above tips. I have given my honest and sincere suggestions to help enhance this pivotal relationship. I have been an observer to many such situations and it is only through these commandments, that I have seen solutions happening and issues being resolved amicable and with good will. As always you are most welcome to give your valuable inputs for more value addition to my blog.
Building new relationships and maintaining them, irrespective of circumstances is difficult but taking the effort to forge a bond of trust between the staff and the principal will ensure long lasting success of the school.