Thursday, March 27, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 86

Before you build , you must build .

We know the importance of community.  The building of community within a school or district is touted as one of the most important steps to successful leading and learning, and truthfully, it is.  Community leads to increases in morale and motivation, and these two "Ms" promote another "M": "MAJOR" learning (though I guess that is an ML).

But community building isn't easy (as any leader can attest to).  And frankly, you can't build any community until you've surmounted the hurdle of trust.

Picture this: You're a new leader just beginning work in a new school.  You've got thousands of aspirations, and you've done your homework. . . "you" know what this school needs.  Of course, the school isn't just about you.  It's about the hundreds of other learners and leaders in the building who, in their shoes, know exactly what the school needs (and their list is likely different than yours).  If you assume that you can simply build community by making changes, you've got another thing coming.

Instead, leaders need to start by building trust, which often means they need to start by listening.  This can be tough for those of us (like me) who love to talk; but it is a necessity.  You can't make change until you understand what others believe needs to change (or stay the same).  This is important, because if a goal is to turn a school or district into a community, then everyone needs to trust each other, unconditionally.

In particularly challenging times, trust is often one of the first characteristics to go in relationships.  That is, unless the trust built up has allowed for the creation of a very strong community, one where mistakes and transgressions are addressed by the populace at large, and people realize that the only way to get anywhere is to believe in those around them.

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