Common sense: we hear the term all of the time, and usually it means the ability to see that which is obvious. However, in my experience, many administrators lack this capacity in their relationship with the teaching staff. I therefore offer the following advice gratis to those wayward principals who are seeking a new beginning in September.
Recognize that you are dealing with a well-qualified and well-educated group of people who both expect and deserve to be treated like mature adults.
Don’t be afraid to compliment people for their efforts. It will cost you nothing and you will be surprised at the dividends you receive in return.
Keep your ego in check. Although you hold the top post in the school, your elevated status means nothing to the staff unless they respect you.
Although there may be times you need to intervene in situations, trust the professional judgment of teachers, and don’t interfere in that judgment simply to curry favor with your superiors.
The term ‘principal’ used to mean ‘principal teacher.’ Try to remember what it was like to be a classroom teacher. It will keep you grounded.
Never use your authority to threaten, intimidate, or demean your staff. Once a trust is broken, it is very difficult to restore.
Recognize that one of your most important functions is to provide a positive climate for both staff and students. Lead the school with moral conviction, not craven career ambition.
Finally, be humble. Despite whatever prideful promptings you may have, recognize that you are not the most important element in your school's success. That distinction has to be reserved for the teachers.
Have a great summer.