If you read my last blog post (here) you will know I sent a 3 question survey to the staff at my school. The survey was designed to gather feedback for the principal and I so we could reflect on what we are doing well and where we need to focus some of our attention. All of the responses have given me a reason to pause and think about what I am doing (or not doing) as a leader. In that blog I cautioned people who are thinking of creating a survey like this to be ready for the cold, hard truth. I asked the staff to be completely honest, and believe me, they have been!
One of the suggestions a colleague put forward was a simple one. This person wrote, during your admin time is there a way you could make your self even more visible? I understand there is work to be done, but we also need to see you. This respondent was right, and I began thinking of ways I could juggle the managerial work that needs to be done on a daily basis, and still manage to connect to the staff and students. I then thought about a little trick a fellow administrator does, he simply moves his work to a place where he can be more visible. So that's what I did today, I grabbed a table and chair, took my laptop, pen and journal and moved out to the hallway.
I was shocked at the reaction to my simple move. The first group of people to question me were the senior students. Many of them joked, asking if the secretary kicked me out or if I was in some form of detention. The teachers were the next group to stop and inquire as to what I was up to. Finally, the youngest students stopped to chat, not asking what I was doing, but taking the time to tell me what they had been up to. The interesting thing is that while I had many more casual conversations with teachers and students than I usually would, I still managed to get all my work done. I realized today that a simple thing like moving my chair can make a huge difference when it comes to connecting with the staff and students in our building.
Do you have a table, chair, laptop and wireless access? If so, I challenge you to move your chair to a more public location and see what happens.
As always, comments are welcome.