There is a SILVER BULLET but only if you are STRONG enough for it to be authentically entwined.
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Having had the privilege of working in education for thirty years, the past four years as headteacher of a growing secondary school, experiencing many styles of leadership is a rich immersion. Leadership pedagogy not only changes from school to school but there is also a wide variety within each school. The pyramid hierarchy of leadership is not in question but the fundamental ethic of how decisions are made from head to deputy or class teacher to student needs to be consistent.
There are common drives for every school; value for money, maximise progress, consistency, wellbeing, quality first teaching, the list goes on. The theories of how to maximise these fundamental school targets are explored and developed every single day in every school. So, with the quality of academic prowess, experience, passion and work ethic being so high, why haven’t the outcomes been more consistent across all schools?
Students, staff, parents and governors have a complex relationship based on trust, expertise and accountability. The ultimate goal for students to grow in confidence and become empowered active citizens, whilst maximising both experience and academic success is common for all stakeholders. Developing a toolkit for wellbeing and valuing both themselves and others has also now thankfully become a non-negotiable for both staff and students. With such common ground, why does the average working day get in the way of these sound achievements?
I believe that NOBODY comes into school to do a bad job, however it is true that some days we do a better job than others. This is true of staff and students alike. With an acceptance of this fact, what is left is a fundamental rationale for decision-making that uses the strength of kindness as the right thing to do rather than the weaker alternative of blame, fault and criticism. Seek to motivate, seek to praise, seek to understand and listen before diving in with behaviour management.
Kindness in leadership is the silver bullet that addresses all targets, expectations and accountability with, in my experience, more impact than any ‘stick’. This is kindness between all individuals regardless of assumed role or power. Sometimes the kindest decision is the toughest however remains ‘the right thing to do’. The depth of research in the success of modelling within the classroom demonstrates its importance in learning methodology on an academic, practical and behavioural platform. Professional development needs to lift the importance of kindness in the classroom with an appreciation of a multitude of factors including the power of praise, the unseen body language, the accessible classroom for learning as an example of a few. Along with staff student kindness, middle and senior leadership professional development for staff - staff kindness is the silver bullet for staff wellbeing at every level. This includes an understanding of McClelland’s competencies, motivational visions and personable wellbeing strategies. Why? Staff are the school drivers, an expensive asset than need to value and respect their place of work in order to feel personally motivated to thrive in their role.
Are you strong enough to learn more about using this silver bullet as part of your every day? Are you in a position to influence school systems and strong enough to value kindness? Do you already model kindness in everything you do but want to learn strategies to strengthen the consistent approach within your workplace? Plan A can support your development, we are stronger together.