Building Staff Leadership in Your School

Dr. Benjamin Washington
Dr. Benjamin Washington
Project Director for 21st Century Community Learning Centers; Ed.D. Educational Leadership
Workers all fist bump, representing teamwork.

Building capacity in the school building is crucial for sustainability, staff morale, and promoting the goals and visions of the school building. School leadership is about effective communication, understanding organizations, and collaborating with others for student success.

Why is Staff Leadership Important in Schools?

Staff leadership is important for schools to bring a sense of structure, community, and establish a positive school culture and climate. Teachers and administrators benefit from effective staff leadership. Furthermore, effective staff leadership allows for teachers, students, and parents to trust the academic and social growth of the student to the faculty and staff. It is important that parents feel that their child is getting a high-quality education and an increased sense of self-worth in a global education system. Leadership at the school level should involve ways to bring professional development to staff and also find opportunities for teachers to share their ideas with others to promote student growth.

Ways to Build Staff Leadership in Your School

There are a variety of strategies to support school staff. When building staff leadership, it is important to allow access and opportunities for staff to grow professionally and have space to express their concerns with leadership. Key traits of effective school leadership can be facilitated by relationship building, providing professional development, and providing feedback. Additionally, understanding the school climate and supporting positive morale are pathways to school success.

Establish Relationships

Building relationships is fundamental to enhancing staff in the school building. Principals and assistant principals are tasked with providing the vision, structure, and goals of the school. In order to maximize the staff’s ability to impact learning there must be positive relationships. As an administrator, there should be an open door policy so teachers and staff will feel that administration is supporting their needs.

Establishing relationships can be as simple as doing a walkthrough in the morning and checking in on teachers. Relationship building can also come from having schoolwide meetings that allow teachers to unwind such as potlocks, a faculty rewards occasion, or celebrating specific holiday seasons. Once a positive relationship is built with staff then the school as a whole will have a team approach and be able to work together for the betterment of students.

Provide Professional Development

Professional development of staff is one of the most effective ways to help staff members grow. This can be in many forms. Encouraging a teacher to pursue a graduate degree is one way to optimize the professional development experience. Establishing professional learning communities (PLCs) or bringing in a consultant to give strategies to teachers and administrators are also effective ways to provide on-going professional development. An effective leader will be able to find innovative ways to train staff and help staff members optimize their skills.

Support with Increasing Staff Morale

Increasing staff morale is becoming increasingly an important task for building administrators. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought challenges to the learning environment. There have been many options for students to learn including virtually, hybrid, and face-to-face. With the changing dynamic of teaching and learning, having multiple platforms for students to learn can be beneficial to students, but can also be stressful to teachers and administrators who are focused on the most effective way for students to learn. Teacher fatigue can be an issue for many educators. It is important when building staff in the school that administrators support the needs of teachers and find ways to reduce stress.

Provide Effective Feedback

To optimize the skill set of teachers and staff in the building, providing feedback is a way to focus on the strengths of staff members but also find ways to enhance the areas that need growth. Providing feedback to staff can build a level of trust when done effectively. Feedback can be in the form of classroom observations, a one on one conversation, or a quick email encouraging a staff member.

Regardless, providing effective feedback is a way for staff members to continue to grow professionally. Building staff leadership involves leading staff members from where they are. A teacher who is an inspiring administrator, or a staff member who wants to become a guidance counselor or instructional coach all have the capacity to learn and grow.

Encouraging growth, modeling expectations for staff, and finding effective ways to provide professional development all are effective ways for leadership development in the school. By building relationships with staff, supporting staff members instructionally and socially, and providing feedback all contributes to the betterment of the staff and school leaders. When done effectively this creates a positive learning environment where students, teachers, and staff can all learn and grow together.

Teachers never stop learning; check out our available graduate degree programs  to hone your skills and promote lifelong learning and academic excellence.

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