Today's schools have never been so much in the spotlight. Their perfomances are being constantly judged and compared. The success or failure of a school is attributed to the strength of school leadership and their ability to ensure the high performance of their staff. We also, however, live in tough times when recruitment and retention is becoming an increasing issue.
School leaders need to research and understand what inspires staff to engage and put forwards their best efforts in the school.
The majority of school leaders still haven't figured out how to get the best out of their staff. They naively think it is linked to salary. It helps, but it is not only about the money.
Today's quality staff are not totally lured by the promise of a higher salary. The power of the internet and social media gives them the tools to research about school leaders and their schools. The quality staff want opportunities to continue to learn, to grow, to develop and to do a role that has a purpose and impact. They also want leaders who inspire and support. They're looking for leaders who can guide and shape careers. They don't want a leader who just talks a good game, they want someone who shows a personal interest and gets involved.
Great leaders start with themselves
Great leaders realise they need to transform themselves first in order to transform their schools. They know who they are, their moral compass and are aware of their own boundaries, limitations and how they communicate with their staff.
Staff are your greatest asset
Within a school, staff are the greatest asset. Staff need to be treated as individuals and to be understood. Staff all fit together like pieces of a jigsaw and the relationships between staff becomes your school's greatest quality. Culture is key. Leaders need to model what they want to see their staff do. Leaders have to do more than talk. They have to believe and do it. All meaningful change comes from the inside out.
Quality staff engage and need rewarding for aligning with school values. Creating a team mentality of all staff working for the success of the school, by making a positive difference to the lives of pupils and recognise how they contribute to the outcomes of the pupils. Everyone in the school, irrespective of their role, is a leader. All staff influence and therefore are rewarded for their input. It's not enough to just have staff agree with the leadership about the direction. It is about being empowered and contributing to the school direction.
The world has changed and so have school staff
We are living in an increasingly changing world. Change therefore needs to change with education. We can't keep living in the past. We need to look to the future. School leaders need to look and treat their school staff differently. Andy Nicholls, Headteacher at Moorcroft Wood, addresses his staff as colleagues. He truly values his staff and that is evident in his conversations. There has been almost a complete shift in staff needs. Staff needs and expectations align more to Maslow's Heirarchy. Schools need to ensure that staff fulfill the basic needs of having money for food and shelter, but also feeling safe and secure in their well being and workload. Staff aren't just looking for a job anymore - they don't just go to work and then go home. They're looking for accomplishment and fulfillment of potential.
School leaders need to not only understand how their staff have evolved and changed, but they must also reflect inwardly to understand how the changing face of schools must inspire and how they lead. By placing less emphasis on salary and greater emphasis on leading with purpose, leaders are able to inspire, engage and retain staff more effectively.
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