There is no question that a principal who has deep and abiding respect for his students will gain their allegiance and perhaps even their love. Those wonderful administrators who go out of their way to greet students as they enter the school and sincerely inquire about their personal lives will quickly gain admiration and connection to their flock.
And what about a principal who is known to maintain relationships with students long after they have left the school? Genuine caring and interest transform that supposed authoritarian into a real person who can assume the persona of a wise and compassionate parent.
Combining the knowledge of precisely what both students and teachers need to be successful with strong leadership is a perfect formula to create a mood of high morale in the school. But what is not so apparent are those things that the principal shouldn’t do and can be detrimental if not avoided. Below are four of the most common.
1. Giving Helpful Reminders to Teachers and Teletherapy Clinicians
Principals who know what they are doing refrain from telling teachers “Just remember that we are here for the children.” Often you will find that ineffectual school leaders will respond to an unenthusiastic response to one of their proposals with this condescending line.
It is as if there may is a presumption that the teacher isn’t in it for the kids. How preposterous! Let’ be clear. If the teacher isn’t in it for the kids, then that teacher needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Therefore, such unthoughtful assertions leave many a teacher wondering how smart this “school leader” is all together.
But it gets worse. Many teachers and teletherapy clinicians interpret such a remark not as an innocent “reminder” but rather as a power play forcing them to submit to the principal’s directive. Although the principal is the school leader, he/she must be cautious not to be disrespectful or trivialize what teachers do for their students.
2. Just One More Thing, Please
Undeniably the principal’s plate is always full. But guess what? The plates of your teachers and teletherapy clinicians plates are also full. Aside from their teaching and therapy, they have paperwork, phone calls to return, preparation and the list goes on and on. When you ask that teacher or teletherapy clinician to do just one more thing you may be asking for trouble.
3. The Lines Can Get Blurry
Every successful principal knows the job isn’t 9-5. Frequently long after the last bell has rung, and the students and teachers have filed out of the school, the end is nowhere in sight for the principal. Be very careful not to share your sense of the “endless day” with your teachers and teletherapy clinicians. Don’t send emails or texts after hours or on weekends at the expense of denying well-deserved family time for your staff. You’ll pay!
4. Hide That Magnifying Glass
If you want to frustrate your educators and therapists, perhaps the quickest and most effective way is to micromanage them. Ironically sometimes principals fail to appreciate their teachers and teletherapy clinicians for who they are, first-class professionals. Know that your staff will not thrive under the threat of the magnifying glass. Put it away!