I know it’s been quite a while since my last post. It’s amazing how short the days become as the year progresses.
As I travel on this journey toward School Administration Mastery, I have learned so much.
Some of the most recent lessons I’ve learned are:
1. Write stuff down. With all that I have to do and all the people I communicate with on a daily basis, I have learned the hard way that my memory isn’t as good as I thought it was. I’m taking advantage of my iPhone’s Siri application, and having it remind me of what I need to remember.
2. Don’t take work home. This is a tough one for me. I don’t like leaving things unfinished, but if I want to home life, I need to let work stay at work.
3. Make time to stand and move around. I could easily stay in my chair all day somedays. As a teacher, I was always up and around the classrom. As an administrator, I’m doing a lot, and I mean a lot of sitting. I don’t want to get used to sitting. It’s bad for my posture and bad for my posterior. So, I consiously make it a point to stand and walk around. If there is something that has to be delivered to a classroom, I volunteer to take it, just to get up and move.
Another lesson that I’m learning, and it’s not really a lesson, but more of a revelation, is that my success as an administrator really boils down to two words – Effective Communication.
Being able to effectively communicate is the most essential ingredient in the recipe for my success as an administrator.
As administrators, our job is focused on trying to convince, encourage, reassure, motivate, inform, etc. Whether we are trying to share our vision with teachers or reprimand a staff member who is breaking a rule, how we communicate will determine our effectiveness.
I look back at the many administrators that I’ve worked under and for, and I can now see how those administrators who were the most effective and most respected were the ones who communicated well. In the same way, those administrators who didn’t communicate well were the ones who did not gain respect or make any lasting impact on the school.
Being an effective communicator has become my primary focus as I grow in this position.
With all the people who I come in contact with, either in person, over the phone, or online, I need to make sure that I am communicating in a way that allows me to continue to be listened to, respected, and followed.
Does that make sense?
If I am not careful with how I compose an email or state an opinion or share information, I can close the door to any future communications, and I can fall into that category of administrators who are not making a difference nor having an impact.
I know that some of the course work that I was required to complete to get my admin credential was focused on communication.
Now that I’m sitting in the administrator’s chair, I’m realizing that it wasn’t enough.
I believe that there should be a mantatory course called Effective Communication for School Administrators 101.
Here is what I believe the syllabus should look like:
Effective Communication for School Administrators 101
1. Composing Emails
Emphasis: Writing to be understood and keep from insulting recipients.
2. Communication with Teachers
a. Sharing vision
b. Motivitating teachers
c. Holding teachers accountable
3. Communication with Classified Staff
a. Avoiding office staff drama
b. Effective maintenance of maintenance staff
4. Communication with Parents
a. Recruiting parent volunteers
b. Addressing parent complaints
5. Communication with the Community
a. Connecting with local business
Although I’ve only been a school administrator for a couple of years, I think I could teach this course. I doubt if any accredited school of higher education would hire me as a professor, but I think I have enough experiences to share that I could fill a semester, maybe two.
My point is that as administrators, we need to make learning how to effectively communicate one of our life-long learning objectives.
I know I have.
The admin team here at my school has recently begun reading a great book called, Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzler.
Whether we’re speaking with parents, students, or teachers, there will be times when we’ll have to have one of those uncomfortable conversations. Crucial Conversationsexplains how to successfully conduct these discussions.
Another resource that I use is the Essential Communications website at www.EssentialComm.com. Here I have learned valuable lessons on how to make my communications more effective. I’ve downloaded each podcast, and listen to them on the way to work. I enthusiastically recommend it for any school administrator. I wrote a post about it earlier this year.
I want to be an administrator that will have a positive impact on a school community- staff, students, and parents.
To do this, I’ve come to realize, I need to make sure I master the art of effective communication.
I’m not there yet, but I’ve made it my goal.
Hopefully, I’ve made myself clear.
I welcome your comments, encouraging words, complaints, etc.
Until next time, here’s to your journey toward School Administration Mastery!