Building Trust Through Change

Principals and School Leaders and Build Trust, But How?

Building Trust Through Change

How do a principal and school leadership team lead change without starting a mutiny? Because you very well know that mutinies are real, and even good principals can be thrown overboard if they make the wrong missteps.

Namely, if there is strong distrust on campus.

So let's stay on the ship. Safely with our to speak.

Today I want to share the great advice from other educational leaders and principals that can help you build trust through times of change.

Building Trust With Your Staff

Let's start with a big challenge: staff members or teachers who we perceive aren't "keeping up" with the profession. Change for them is usually the hardest.

"Yes but how do we get that thought through to those who aren't keeping up with their professions...without it looking like "top-down" initiatives? Blame-shame for 3rd parties is so much easier."

Blame and shame usually lead to a culture of fear...definitely not the way to go. Here's some advice that can help:

"I would say the first year folks were intrigued but waited to see if it was really true. After that the teachers ran with it. It was amazing to watch what teachers can do when you acknowledge they are the true experts and unleash their power!"

Focusing in on the Teachers

Leading change is really about the teachers - they drive the school. Really.

So how do we go about creating the right changes with the teachers driving in the right direction?

"Since adding more hours in the day is out of the question, continue to be intentional about my time and focus; follow the 80/20 rule discussed in the book "Impact Coaching."

The Pareto principle is huge in a school, but so is embedding staff members in a strong culture of collaboration:

"Get right with collaboration! Get out of this old model of 9-month school & hire Ts & Ls as real pros that work at PD & shifting yearly. Not having access to the collaborative culture w/ right people is killing us!"

Collaboration, in general, is not the goal. Collaborating to create growth is.

"Authentic growth measures in place of standardized assessments. Differentiated for each student with student, teacher, parent, and grade level academic, social and emotional/mental health goals." 

"Help develop capacity in teachers to grow by giving them chances to lead and share with others! Let the teacher help drive the change!"

Lead With Questions

Leading with questions is one of the most powerful ways to demonstrate your ability to listen, value others' ideas, and act based on feedback.

Of course, questions alone are not enough.

questions + listening = distrust.


The equation for building trust through periods of change is:

questions + listening + action = trust.

"We need kids who question norms, respectfully, of course. They may have exceptional leadership skills that need to be honed in on. The last thing I want is complete compliance where learners seek constant direction from the teacher."

"Listen. Be willing to hear all thoughts without bias. Give feedback and support in multiple ways. Realize that different people need different things, so pay attention and build those relationships."

"...Just as we need to know where our students are and less them, so do we need to learn our staff. Can’t generalize either. Get to know them. Just know and grow. Also, helping our staff learn about the generation with whom we are working!"

You know it's true: your school faces changes from within and from without constantly. What's important is how you go about leading through change and building trust through change.

I hope you enjoyed the insights in this blog post. If you did, please consider adding to it by commenting below.

Thanks for reading.


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