Human Resources- People Management
Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships" Stephen Covey
It's been a very busy few months in the office, with a change of CEO, and a new strategy being agreed. Ordinarily it is assumed that the holiday periods are quiet for schools, but in our case, it never is, and this summer holiday period will be no exception. I did manage to get a week away a few weeks ago but the mountain of emails and paperwork on my return made the holiday seem a distant memory!
One of the big issues facing MATs is that of people management. This is such a massive topic for a blog entry that I’ve decided to focus on just one aspect of working alongside others. Over the last few weeks something that has rung true for me is the issue of trust. I was reminded about the quote from Stephen Covey, above, recently and it's so true. Covey is the author of the crazily popular “7 Habits...” series, and if you haven't read some of his works I recommend that you do. You can find his books here.
Schools are, at our heart, people organisations. We exist for the benefit of our young people, we're run by talented and amazing colleagues, and our 'product' is delivered in the form of knowledge transfer between people, by, hopefully, creating wonder, intrigue, and a passion for learning. My last blog post talked about these organisations being Learning Organisations if we want great results. But also, people need to trust each other in order for Learning Organisations to come to life.
Trust exists between people. Having it makes life so much easier, and we need it at all levels of our schools.
I never lose sight of the trust that parents place in our primary schools. It's quite amazing. Trusting us to take care of their precious little children, for the majority of their waking hours is something that I know I and the rest of the management team never take for granted. I'm beginning the process of looking at schools for my little boy, and I want to be able to trust, completely, the school that I send him to, to do the very best for him.
We need our children to trust their teachers, that they have their best interests at heart and know how to teach them to master whatever it is that they're learning each and every day.
We need trust between our colleagues that they're pulling their weight, sharing appropriate information and we're all working to the same ends. For which of our children across any of our schools is not warranted our best efforts?
This all makes interpersonal relationships so crucial. I am lucky that I work with some of the best people I have had the privilege of calling colleagues. People that I know would force their heart, nerve and sinew, (as Kipling would say) to ensure that we do everything we can for the children entrusted to us. It makes work less work like, and helps to create an environment where I love every day in the office, no matter what it brings.
I see trust, and the impact of it, all around. None more so than the looks of joy on our former year 11 students when they collect their GCSE results. It's a really heart-warming day. To see these 16-year olds, who have trusted their teachers for 11 years, and who have worked really hard to get the best grades they can, open their envelopes and have, more often than not, unbridled joy on their faces. Without the years of trust and devotion by countless people, those smiles would be just a little less bright.
I think you can very easily see when an organisation does not have trust amongst its people, and just as easily, you can see when it does. Most of the issues that occur in HR can be traced back to some deviation away from the organisation’s vision and values, which could have occurred for any number of reasons. If there are doubts about Trust in your schools, then I would urge you to look at your vision and values, - is everyone buying into these?
Have a great summer holiday period, try to get a break!
By Stephen Mitchell - August 2017