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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lisa Gonzales

Four Questions (part 1 of 4)

Looking to build stronger relationships? Better understand staff needs? Whether a new or veteran administrator, leaders need to discern the needs of their staff and then establish and maintain strong relationships. Much of that leading, since we are in a people business, comes from the heart and not the head.

Leading from the heart can be better navigated with four questions that highlight trust and empathy, understanding and compassion. Each of these questions should be viewed from the perspective of our staff and how we reflect on how they respond can strengthen personal reflection:

  • Can I help you?

  • How can I care for you?

  • Can you trust me?

  • How can you help me?

Can I help you? As leaders, teams of teachers, classified staff, and fellow administrators rely on us, not to mention parents and students. They need to know that we are here to help and are dependable at times when the going gets rough, and all the time in between. Helping others is at the heart of leadership, and competence, but also reinforces the reason our role as leaders exist: to provide some type of support for others. Regardless of assignment at a school site or district office, our focus needs to be on assisting others.

A leader needs to be able to move an organization to grow, expand, adapt, care, support, and the list goes on. Principal Cyndi Maijala in Portola Valley School District meets with teachers during goal setting meetings and specifically asks how she can help them become more effective. “Seeking their input helps guide my work,” she said. “It begins a conversation that often takes my leadership a different direction, actualizing the support that comes with follow through and assistance.”

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