5 Tips For Improving Educational Leadership Communication
Being an education leader is not an easy task. It takes a combination of nuanced knowledge and skills to pull it off, and even if you possess these attributes, things tend to fall apart at a moment’s notice, and at the worst possible time. When things go completely haywire, your ability to communicate will be your most powerful weapon.
So how does an education leader become an effective communicator? Well, the first thing that you need to understand is that communication is more than what we say and how we articulate our directives. It’s about emotional intelligence, understanding your audience, and an ability to listen.
Here are five things to remember when communicating with your fellow educators.
- Speak less, listen more. Most people have a terrible habit of thinking about what they want to say next instead of actually listening to the people they are having a conversation with. If you do this, then you are not totally invested in the conversation. Being an education leader is not about barking orders at your subordinates and expecting them to implement your directives. No, being an effective leader requires you to talk less, and listen more. The more we listen, the more we will understand what is going on in the world around us.
- Ask the right questions. Effective education leaders quickly realize that asking the right questions, at the right time will facilitate efficient communication within our organization. If you have built your professional and support staff the right way, then you have hired educators just as or even more talented than you are. If you have, instead of spending your meeting time giving out orders, you can spend it guiding the conversation with a specific end in mind, and allow the talent around you to get you to your destination.
- Be present. Being an effective education leader is a fast-paced, busy lifestyle. A typical day may entail dealing with a fight one moment and rushing downtown for a meeting the next. The whirlwind of events that happen in one day is enough to make our heads spin. However, in spite of this state of constant motion or flux, make it a point to be totally present in the moment. Whether you are talking to the janitor or the state superintendent of education, be fully engaged with the audience in front of you, no matter how casual the conversation is.
- Stay calm and be positive. Calmness can be contagious. The ability to stay even-keeled no matter what the situation is will rub off on your employees and make you the envy of your district’s leadership team. Watch your body language and make sure it exudes a state of serenity. Keep your tone and delivery within a steady level, even during a crisis. You can add a sense of urgency to your voice, but let your tone convey a high level of confidence as well.
- Work on emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence seems to be all the rave in the world’s leadership community. Everyone wants to master this skill to reap its multifaceted rewards. Emotional intelligence is about being self-aware, being aware of the emotional states of others, being calm and positive, disciplined, and of course, empathetic. For most people, these are not innate talents. So if you do not possess them, you can always develop them over time, with perseverance and hard work.
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