Staff morale. Wikipedia defines it as a job satisfaction or a feeling of well-being in the workplace. But we all know morale offers more than just happiness at school. There is strong evidence that shows a clear link between staff morale and better job performance. As a result, student achievement increases. The downside of all of this is that morale is a moving target.
Good leadership is common sense. Leadership is about people; management is about systems and processes. The leader’s behavior is one of the most significant factors in staff morale.
We must lead with our head, heart, and our hands.
LEAD WITH YOUR HEART, HEAD, AND HAND
As school leaders, we must show that we value our staff and students. If you don’t have positive relationships built on trust, no amount of morale boosters and snacks or treats will push your teachers to perform at high levels. How you interact with those around you is a crucial part of our positions. Honestly, you can be the most talented, courageous, and driven school leader, but that is simply not enough. You must have personal skills and the ability to connect. Put your people first. I know that sounds simple, but unless we are intentional in making people most important, to-do lists, deadlines, and juggling tasks will be what wins your attention. The bottom line is to understand that everything we do involves us being connected. Build stronger relationships daily. This makes two-way communication and true dialogue with your people critically important. Leading from the heart is about relating, having conversations, working together, and caring for the people you lead.
COLLABORATION & CONVERSATIONS
Believe it or not- the school’s physical environment and building can influence the culture. This physical environment that we all occupy has a significant impact on how we interact and how we will engage with one another, as well as, how we engage in our work. Although we can’t knock down walls in our school, we can provide as many opportunities to make our environment appealing and provide time for teachers to collaborate and interact. Create opportunities for your campus staff to work together or just have lunch together. At least once a month, we have a luncheon. Typically during the day, teachers eat lunch in their classrooms. However, during the luncheon, we set up a meal in a common space so they can sit and talk and just enjoy some conversations.
CONSISTENCY & CHAOS
Being consistent is a consistent challenge. We are challenged to put on a stoic or poker face every day regardless of how crazy the situation. Personally, I cannot handle people who are consistently inconsistent. You know those kinds of people. They are a different person every single day or week. It seems as though they invite chaos or create drama. Their actions keep everyone at a heightened state of anxiety. It is our job as leaders to create an environment that will stimulate, motivate, and develop people. This will, in turn, bring out the best in everyone. Changing behaviors of your staff can take time. However, you do have immediate control over how you “show up” every day. People admire and respect consistent leaders. If we don’t accomplish any of our to-do tasks, at least we showed up to work with consistent behavior. As far as me, I plan on tackling every Monday morning head-on. Being consistent is a way to empower others to act based on what they know the leader’s direction would be. It also is important in developing desired behaviors and culture.
CONSISTENT ACTION CREATES CONSISTENT RESULTS.
Retaining key staff members is critical to the long-term health and success of your school. A high turnover rate will lower your chances of being successful in meeting any of your goals and carrying out the vision.