Posts Tagged ‘rapport’

Maximising Relationships with … #1: Your Senior Leadership Team

April 23, 2012
  • How strong is your relationship with your SLT?
  • Could it be even better?

 

Successful leadership and management of a school (or other organisation/business) relies in part on a leadership team which is strong individually and collectively.

The size of the SLT will usually depend on the size of the school and how staffing is structured (and the budget!) I’ve worked with SLTs ranging in size from 1 (the Head of a small school) to a team of 8, in a larger city school. As with any team, the larger it is the greater the potential for a richness of ideas, strengths and experiences … as well as a greater risk of conflict and power struggles.

A range of factors contribute to an effective team, one of which is a positive and productive working relationship. Heads new to a post can come into a school with an already established SLT, which can create its own challenges.

To build and maintain effective relationships with the SLT, there are several things that I’ve found in development work with Heads…

1: Clear vision – shared with (or developed alongside) the SLT

It’s important that each member of the SLT knows how they contribute to the vision. Teaching staff can lose sight of the big picture (which the Head tends to hold), as they deal with the day-to-day tasks. This is why the vision needs to be revisited and reviewed on a regular basis.

2: Role clarity

It’s also important that each member of the SLT knows his/her role in the leadership and management of the school.

– Which parts of their role are leadership and which management? 

– Do their combined leadership roles (I’m including the Head here too) provide appropriate coverage of all development areas within the school or are there gaps?

– How do you know?

– Are tasks appropriately distributed and is there fair delegation?

Lack of role clarity can lead to staff losing focus and direction, resulting in feeling demotivated. Staff who are externally motivated will need more direction and feedback on how they are doing, otherwise relationships could break down.

3: Building rapport

Building rapport is easiest with people who are similar to ourselves; it’s a subconscious thing. There’s a saying: People like people like themselves. This is fine when choosing your friends but can be limiting when choosing staff to be part of a multi-skilled and dynamic team, where complementary expertise and experiences are key.

Having common values helps build rapport, as does speaking the same language. (A focus for a forthcoming blog!)

4. Maximising strengths

As a Head / leader, how well do you know your SLT’s individual strengths (and your own!)? Not just curriculum strengths or a wide range of experience; I would also include here leadership and emotional intelligence strengths (e.g. optimism, initiative, building bonds, conflict management).

This is not an exhaustive list – so what would you add to it? 

How do you maximise relationships with (and within) your team?

(Photo credit: renjith krishnan)

The importance of building rapport

February 7, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 7

It’s very important for coaches to build rapport with their clients, and quickly.

In everyday life we know how it can be easier to ‘get on with’ some people more easily than others, hence the saying:

“People like people like themselves”

This doesn’t necessarily mean they need to share common interests, it’s more about sharing common values. In coaching, the aim is not for the coach and their client (coachee) to become friends, it’s about the coach enabling and supporting the coachee towards achievement of their goals. A key part of this is developing a bond of trust which, I believe, comes from having good rapport and an open/honest relationship.

Listening at a deep level is crucial to this process, and my clients regularly comment that one of the benefits of coaching is being really listened to.

As a coach, if you’re not in rapport with your coachee, and you need to challenge their thinking to move them forward, you risk losing the valuable bond you share. As a result, they don’t trust that the challenge is in their best interests, and you end up having to work hard to re-build rapport.

In my various coaching trainings, I have explored a range of methods for building rapport. But at the end of the day, most success in building relationships with clients has come from using intuition, instinct, listening at a deep level, and providing appropriate feed back.

How do you build rapport with people on a daily basis?

If you’re a teacher, how do you build rapport with the children?

If you manage a team, how do you build rapport with them? Is it different for each member?


(Picture courtesy of Renjith Krishnan)