We’re in a season when being a campus leader is challenging.
I don’t know about you, but these days, I’m about less and not more.
The idea of ‘leading’ sounds like a lot and who wants to be overwhelmed right?
When I was asked to chair my team this year–for the first time in 25 years of teaching–I was a little overwhelmed and a lot humbled.
We honestly had the best year together and it wasn’t at all what I thought it would be. A good team is all about the energy you put into it from the very beginning. I called each of my teammates and asked them about our year together and what made it resonant for them. Here are some reflections from us!
Communication is KEY!
I can’t really say this enough.
Reminders are a love language, y’all. I am absolutely certain.
I am a big fan of calendar appointments. If you have a shared calendar space in the planning room or electronically, use those! It’s an informal way of keeping everyone on the same page. We also use a lot of shared documents on our team as well. This cuts down on meetings and increases the opportunity for people to connect at a time that is convenient to them–which brings me to my next point.
Honor people’s time and capacity.
See each teacher in their humanity. We are all busy people.
Planning time is sacrosanct. Make sure that you’re not booking people up every day.
Make time for your team members to do the things THEY need to do with their plan time.
Check in with your people. Overwhelm can easily creep up on you if you’re not careful.
Create a culture on your team where your people can self advocate and tell you what they feel they have capacity to do and what they do not.
Share ideas freely.
Stay on the same page with others by sharing ideas and taking in ideas as well!
Consider having a shared drive for your ideas and thinking.
I built a shared drive on our Google Drive for our team where I host all of our plans and resources. It’s been a great place for everyone to put their ideas and also to adjust things for the good of our whole group. Setting this up in the summer was really helpful, especially for the ‘early planners’ who like to get things set up early. I have a blog post on what our drive looks like. You can access that post HERE.
What happens on the team, stays on the team.
There will be the temptation to talk about your colleagues rather than speak directly to them.
Resist the urge. Your team’s optics are just as important as the reality. When folks mess up, and trust me, they will. You need to speak directly to your colleagues about that. Not to a coach, not to a peer, not to a principal or assistant principal. Your teammate. The culture of your team is defined by your ability to develop it. Make sure that it is always one of trust and support.
Leading a team of your peers can be a challenge because there are different levels of experience and even philosophical differences that can make collaboration tricky. Building a team requires the leader to trust each member of the team with responsibility. You don’t have to do everything, be everything, or have every answer. Love and lead your team with humility and grace. The rest will honestly take care of itself.