Ultimately schools are people places. Whilst a school can have great programs, terrific resources and beautiful facilities, if you don’t have GREAT people, you can’t be a great school. Many leaders are acutely aware of the impact that 2020 has had on their staff and are keen to ensure that staff well-being is a priority in 2021. The following three principles of staff well-being are vital.
The Principal is NOT Responsible for ‘fixing’ staff well-being
Staff MUST take responsibility for the choices they make, how they utilize their time and energy and the attitude they have to the challenging work that staff in schools do.
School culture is important and has a massive impact on staff morale and well-being Providing an optimal environment that supports and facilitates staff to do their best work needs to be the focus of the well-being team. Happy staff are more likely to be engaged, to take responsibility and contribute above and beyond expectations. When morale is low, staff fall into ‘survival’ mode. They will focus only on the core aspects of their work and withdraw their discretionary effort. They retreat to protective behaviours, only do what
HAS to be done, keep their heads down and look for safety.
The ideal culture can be described as the behaviours, values and norms required to create an optimal learning environment that achieves learning outcomes for students, engages and supports staff to do their best work and exceeds the expectations of parents.
It is vital that the school is well-organised and has clear processes in place. Staff well-being is enhanced when a proactive rather than reactive environment is created. The fastest way to improve staff morale is to find out what annoys or frustrates staff, fix what you can and acknowledge that you have heard the rest.
Leadership is the number ONE factor in staff morale
As role models their attitude is important. Attitudes are contagious, especially the attitudes of the leaders. Each day we have an opportunity to choose our attitude. The decision we make will be visible in our behaviour. Staff don’t care how busy leaders are, they care how busy THEY are.