Lead through simplicity
Many educators are feeling the pressure a little more than usual this time of the year. Things are moving quickly and there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hit those big goals made at the beginning of the year. Tempers are short, and small grievances start adding up to what feels like big, overwhelming issues. Luckily, there are simple things leaders can do to ease tensions and show support without creating new, sweeping systems. Here are five simple ideas to support educators and not only make it through the the end of the year, but create an environment where educators look forward to returning at the end of summer. (REALLY!)
Articulate a vision/goal
This is a simple, unifying concept that helps your team get on board quickly and work toward the same objective. If you created your vision way back in September, resurrect it and share it with your team again. Talk about how things are going and how proud you are of the strides that have been made. If you’ve not done this already, there’s no time like the present to write a vision or a set of goals for the school now. This can be something simple like “Say thank you to someone different each day” or something more involved like, “Read a book as a team and grow our tech literacy.” Schedule check-ins every few weeks to touch base and check the progress of your group.
Foster a team culture
If you’ve chosen a group goal, that’s a great place to start. Make it a priority to allow your team to meet and discuss or work on the goal a few times a month. Another simple thing to do is to take advantage of the daylight. We know of schools that get together once a month to share a meal and lots of laughs. Perhaps a softball game or going out for a gallery walk in your town could be a fun way to get the team together socially and build morale at the same time.
Respect their time
This is a big one! You can’t find an educator who doesn’t feel like time is wasted at least a few times a week. If you’re holding meetings, make sure there is a clear agenda and that time limits are held tight. If they have professional development days coming, be sure that the presenters are vetted and if possible, let the staff decide what they’d like to focus on. You’ll be surprised by what you hear and excited about how much of a return on your investment you get when they are able to be a part of the discussion.
This seem obvious, but get out of your office! It’s more than just having an open door policy. You need to be available for quick conversations, urgent matters and everything in between. Most of us live by our calendars, so if necessary, add time to your schedule each day that just says “AVAILABLE” or “GET OUT” to remind you of this priority each and every day. The more your staff sees you with them, the more they know that you’re there when they need you.
Have their backs
Teaching is an intense and emotional profession. There are so many victories and losses each day. Your educators need to know that when things get tough, they have someone on their side. One idea is to spend some one on one time with each teacher each semester. This could be something as simple as a coffee chat in your office or a lunch in the staff room. The more people know they are valued and appreciated, the more comfortable they are to take chances and put their all into each day.
These simple additions to your day will quickly make a big impression on your team. When trust and focused attention on your valuable team members are added to your schedule, morale increases and the team thrives together for the remainder of the year.