To cultivate a positive environment within your school, you must first create a strong loyalty fence with your team. Sometimes it can be tough to create a bond with your staff and get them to buy into your vision and mission, but with a little consistency and implementation, you will have your staff singing your praise & excited to be there.
To help you start creating your loyalty fence, I would like to share five strategies that I have implemented as a director that has tremendously helped me connect with my staff and get them bought in.
1. Set Boundaries
It is important for your entire team to understand and be on the same page with you about how you operate as a leader and understand when they are crossing a line. Define your boundaries, and then work with your team to document them and create a system to hold each other accountable to abide by them.
While it might seem harsh to create boundaries with your staff, think about it this way if the script was flipped; your teachers wouldn’t want you barging in and interrupting them during story time with a bombshell or out-of-place comment, would they? If you did that you would completely throw off their routine and ultimately end up stressing them out (and the children) with your interruption. Setting boundaries helps everyone know when and how to appropriately address issues and bring up concerns without creating an unnecessarily high level of stress.
2. Walk Around the School
Get out of your office and check out what is happening throughout your school. Pencil in the time and create a daily routine out of walking around every morning to say hello to everyone. Doing this will help eliminate everyone bombarding you the second you walk through the door, and you will demonstrate that you truly do have an interest in what they are doing in the classroom. Walking through your school each day will also allow you to be aware of what is really going on throughout it and help you gain perspective on some of their thoughts and concerns that your staff brings up to you.
3. Show Gratitude
Let your team know that you appreciate them. Showing your appreciation doesn’t always have to involve spending a lot of money or doing anything big. Here are a few simple ways to show your staff that you care about them that will go a long way.
- Notice Them: Just simply notice something nice about them, such as something neat they did with their class or an act of kindness you saw them do and tell them that they did a great job.
- Write a Note: Mail them a handwritten card or give it to them before they start their day, just to remind them how much you value all they contribute to your school.
- Post-it Note Compliments: Give your team members each a pack of Post-it notes and explain to them that throughout the day they should write one word on a Post-it that describes each team member. Have them all stick their Post-it notes for each person on that individual’s classroom door or any designated spot throughout the day. By the end of the day, everyone will have a door or a wall full of compliments to remind them of how special they are.
4. Schedule Out of Office Time
At one point when I was working in a center as a director full time, I started to block one day a week as a No Office Day. On that day each week, I wouldn’t plan any office work and I would spend the entire day being fully available to my staff with my door always open. On that day staff had the opportunity to schedule 15-minute meetings with me, I would hang out in the classrooms observing, I would offer support wherever needed, or I would help rearrange rooms.
Allowing myself a day with no pressure to get any other tasks or office work done allowed me to be fully present and engage with my staff. While an entire day a week might not be realistically doable for you, maybe a half of a day is or an hour every afternoon is; even if you start small, blocking time to be present in your school is an absolute must.
5. Be Consistent
Maintaining consistency is key in building a great team and school culture. A great leader can be defined in so many different ways. Take some time to think about how you want your team to view you, pick three qualities that you believe define you as a leader, and then consistently hold yourself accountable to demonstrate qualities. As a leader, the three most important qualities I hold myself accountable to are positivity, integrity, and self-awareness. My team can always guarantee that I will show up every day living these qualities to my absolute best ability.
I invite you to check out these other great blogs we have available from our amazing expert team of coaches and faculty that may inspire you with ideas and steps you can take to build and maintain a loyalty fence with your team!