How a Great Educational Leader Shows They Care
One of the most important characteristics of a good leader is caring about their team. If your community doesn’t believe that you care about their well-being and success, they will not trust you to drive change and progress. As an educational leader, it is easy to get bogged down with crises, paperwork, and goal setting. As a result, you may forget to demonstrate your care and gratitude for your community. There are many ways to show your school that you care – even during the busiest and challenging of times. Here are several ways to accomplish this.
Every successful leader must master the art of active and deep listening. Every member of your school community, from the principal to the students (this includes you), shares the need to feel listened to. When you make eye contact, set aside distractions, and listen to others, you are showing that you respect them, and value their contributions to the team. On the other hand, poor listening skills demonstrate the opposite – that you think their ideas aren’t worth your time. That will not encourage trust between you and the people that you lead.
Every member of your community works just as hard as you do to reach the goals your leadership team sets for the school. A caring leader never takes the credit for their community’s success – they know that each and every triumph was a group effort. Be sure to demonstrate your gratitude for the work of your community – and make it personal. Even small, unexpected gestures like a handwritten note and a favorite candy can do. Any action that shows that you recognize the work of your team will show that you care for, and appreciate, them and their efforts.
Allow for Growth
Everybody makes mistakes, has questions, and wants to learn more. Never make your team feel uncomfortable or inadequate when they make a mistake or don’t understand something you have said. If you show them that you care about their growth by offering your guidance, you are demonstrating that you have a stake in their professional and personal development. Allowing for growth also includes providing challenging work for your community. When you push their limits, you are essentially telling them that you believe in their ability to achieve more than they could have imagined.
As a well-known saying goes, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is especially true in educational leadership – a field with many opinions and strong personalities trying to effect change. Additionally, there is empirical evidence that shows us that caring can be a driving force for positive outcomes. A caring leader sets an example for the rest of the community and contributes to a culture of support and growth. If you consistently demonstrate care for your community, they will be grateful for your guidance, trust your decisions, and be happy to follow your lead.