This week’s call to blog for #SAVMP is related to communication and how leaders’ methods and messages have great impact. We can all think of leaders whose methods and messages were unclear, to the point that people hardly understood what was expected of them or even know what the vision was for the final product. When this happens, frustration builds and morale declines.
There is, though, a deeper layer to a leader’s communication than clear expectations that lead to a known vision. I was poignantly reminded this week about the importance of conveying passion for students and the learning community of the school. When I was preparing to become a school leader, I didn’t realize the entent to which it really matters how much the school leader communicates passion for students’ growth in all areas. All school leaders HAVE to care about the achievement as measured by standardized test scores. All leaders HAVE to care about making data-based decisions and effectively evaluating instruction. However, leaders can care about all those things but still be a “shell” of a person using only their brains to make logical decisions that may work some of the time. Conveying passion for the students and their continued growth towards a productive and moral adulthood demonstrates the desired example and supports the other teachers and staff members in the building who are also passionate about students and their success. This builds a safe community around passion for greatness and those who aspire to be such, not just academically, but in all ways (through kindness, grace, humility, and perseverance). The leader communicates this by meaningfully interacting with students consistently in public areas of the school, focusing every decision on the needs for students, etc. This well-communicated passion for making moral decisions that always keep the students first and foremost in mind and heart, can provide the catalyst for learning environments to go beyond good to something great when paired with a clearly guided plan to reach an understood and agreed upon vision.