Why Comprehensive Employee Training is so Essential

employee training

After a long process of interviews and reference checks, you may think your new hire has all the skills required to be successful. While somewhat true, it is crucial to continue training opportunities.

Providing resources for training and employee development helps keep quality staff. It also saves you money in the long run.

Still not convinced? We’re here to show you a few of the top reasons employee training is good for you and your business. Keep reading to find out more!

Ingrain Work Ethics and Culture

New hires can have diverse backgrounds and experience regardless of their applicable skills. Creating a training and development program helps bring new staff into your business’s culture.

Communicating work expectations will ensure new hires understand their role. They will also be more likely to ask for help where needed.

While crucial for new staff, regular refresher courses can also be helpful for all staff.

Staff Consistency

You will only hire qualified staff, yet they still may lack some core knowledge needed. Creating a comprehensive employee training program will provide all new hires equal footing.

Include specific knowledge or skills that your business requires. Cover all policies as well. This will help staff understand important elements like safety and discrimination.

Improve Employee and Bussiness Performance

By giving all staff the tools required for their job, they will be able to work at a high level. The increased knowledge and skills will give any employee more confidence.

As newer staff become more confident in their work and their role, they will more often volunteer new ideas. They may also offer to work on more complex projects.

Through all this, your business will grow and shine. Include training on leadership and emotional development for all levels of supervisors.

Employee Training Leads to Happy Employees

When staff has access to tools they need to succeed, they will not only perform better, but they will be happier. Providing learning and development opportunities shows that you care about your staff. It shows you care about their career.

Happy employees are more likely to stay in their positions, which means less turnover for you.

Keep Current With Best Practices

Finally, investing in development helps staff stay ahead of new technologies and trends.

If your business doesn’t invest in learning and teaching new practices, you will fall behind the field. This means you will be less competitive with peers in your field.

It is crucial to understand and use the latest technology because, in current society, customers expect the best.

Focus On Training for Longterm Success

It should be clear now how important employee training can be for new hires and existing staff alike. No matter your industry, thorough training ensures your staff has the knowledge needed to succeed.

Want to discuss staff training and development further? Please contact us and we would love to help!

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

4 Ways You Might Use the Supports of an Executive Coach

executive coaching

Being in a position of leadership and managing a team of people working towards one goal is challenging, but rewarding. Executives often put supports in place for those they lead, but seldom put a support plan in place for themselves.

Leadership can be a lonely place, and while you focus on the growth of your organization and of other people, it’s important not to forget to commit to your own continuous improvement.

Don’t panic. Here are three ways that having an executive coach can help.

1) Time Management

Have you ever seen your incoming emails balloon by the hundreds before you’ve even had your first cup of coffee on a Monday morning?

Or have you ever been in a meeting and felt that you wish you could get that hour of your life back?

Time management is an increasingly important skill in this modern world. Often our jobs start out one way and we add more to our plates.

Finding an executive coaching session that will help organize how your time is spent is a lifesaver!

2) Career Development

Have you been promoted to a new and different branch of management? Are you looking to change up your position?

Executive coaching that focuses on career development is the way to go. It’s a great option whether you’re looking to advance to a different career or have been given responsibilities beyond your scope.

3) Intervention Coaching

This type of coaching is more about helping your employees be their best selves. Of course, you might be able to get something out of it as well.

Intervention executive coaching is all about finding a manager or employee that shows promise but can also be problematic.

Whether they’re struggling to keep their head above water or need guidance in managing others, intervention coaching swoops in and nips issues in the bud. It’s a better solution than simply tossing an employee out when with a bit of structure, they could improve.

4) Therapeutic

The title o this type of executive coaching – therapeutic -probably calls to mind a psychologist and a couch.

While it’s true it can be very personal, it’s still all business. This method helps you, as an individual, develop skills that are beneficial to your job.

You’ll receive support along with nurturing advice to help manage any stressors you have on the job. In turn, your morale, productivity, and creativity can improve.

What Type Of Executive Coaching Is Right For You?

We’ve only touched on four different executive coaching methods but there are many others out there. It’s all a matter of doing your homework and seeing which one is the best fit.

These four methods are great to start with. If you’re interested in how executive coaching can benefit you, we’re here to answer your questions.

We’ll take a look at what you can do to improve your leadership skills, time management, and effectiveness and guide you along the way.

Schedule your consultation today and become your best self!

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

Top 3 Tips for Building Team Culture for Educators

building a team culture

Looking to boost morale within your team and create a better workplace climate? Want to take your staff’s cohesiveness to the next level?

Building a strong team culture is imperative for workplace success and employee satisfaction. It promotes a healthy and happy environment, and it makes your leadership job easier!

Let’s get into the top three tips for building and enhancing team culture.

Establish and Nurture the Norms

In schools, each office and classroom environment and every adult-to- student and adult to adult dynamic impacts the overall school climate.

Building a strong school culture requires a set of norms for how everyone will work together, treat and support one another to build and nurture healthy relationships. A climate a mutual respect – students to students, students to staff, staff to staff, staff to students, staff to administration, administration to staff, administration to students and on and on.

The environment must be primed for collegiality and respect as the standard and best practice. That means that there is a high expectation and accountability for a standard of practice, grounded in mutual trust and confidence. Without this foundation, the rest of the work will always be difficult.

Build and Celebrate Authentic Relationships

Getting to know the people you work with is one of the easiest (and most effective) ways to strengthen your team culture. Be intentional about allowing people to bring their authentic selves to work and allow them to express that beyond just “what they do” but also bring “who they are”.

Create a “connected” workplace by establishing some workplace traditions, celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, or retirements. Host potlucks or specialty appreciation lunches on a regular basis. Carve out time for celebrating holidays or even just small successes. Acknowledge accomplishments and recognize strengths so people feel appreciated and can reciprocate that with colleagues.

A happy workplace where employees feel supported and can support one another is a productive workplace, so it’s a win-win for everyone.

Provide the Appropriate Resources

Even if you have the most talented employees, the greatest team needs the right resources and tools to thrive.

Provide the adequate budget, materials, and space for your teachers to convene and strategize. Protect them and their time and buffer them from distractions that derail. As the leader, stand between them and the things that could serve to hinder their success.

Create ample opportunities for growth and continuous improvement and share feedback and constructive criticism in a way that doesn’t damage relationships, and that helps people grow.

When individuals feel encouraged to grow within their organization and feel safe to make mistakes and learn, they are more likely to feel satisfied with their career.

Final Thoughts on Building a Team Culture

Even if you have your hands full with daily tasks and responsibilities, neglecting the cohesiveness of your team can be a costly mistake! Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

At the Valbrun Consulting Group, we specialize in leadership development and executive coaching. Check out our expert services today!

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

How to Develop Leadership Capacity Among Members of Your Staff

leadership potential

The Professional Standards for Educational leaders, (formerly known as ISLLC Standards) suggest that effective educational leaders develop the professional capacity of school personnel and provide them with opportunities and mentoring. We know that simply leading from the top doesn’t work and that good leaders understand the value of shared leadership, and know that many voices and diversity of thought, yields better results.

Having leaders on your staff is a huge asset. When you know how to pinpoint leadership potential, you know who to engage in discussions, gather input from, and delegate authority and responsibilities, all of which benefits the organization. But how do you spot the leadership potential of those among your staff, and cultivate and capitalize on their skills and talents?

1. Pay Close Attention

The saying that “cream rises to the top” is generally true. Leadership potential should be obvious. The best future leaders demonstrate a willingness and desire to learn more, are often thinking ahead and are aspirational.

These are the people who are willing to put in the extra effort and show that they have both high skill and high will to work for the good of the organization. They are also the people who other staff members respect and trust and can help to build critical mass.

2. Consider Both Potential and Readiness

As you think about succession planning, ask yourself who might be able to fill your shoes in a year or two if they are supported, coached and mentored? That’s potential. These people demonstrate some ability and may have even articulated a desire or aspiration for greater responsibility.

Now ask yourself, who could do your job today? That’s readiness. These are people who understand the role and already possess many of the skills necessary for leadership.

Understanding the current and future needs of your organization can help you better develop a support strategy for both of these individuals. For example, a person who is ready, might be given autonomy to lead and complete a project or task in his/her own way, while a person with potential might benefit from opportunities to be on a project team where they can work with and learn from other leaders.

3. Recruit and Retain the Right People

In some cases, we inherit staff members, but when possible, be intentional and recruit and hire people who, among other skills and talents, also possess leadership potential. Instead of looking to fill a position or role that is specific to content knowledge, or that matches the performance criteria, also look for leadership potential.

Ask questions about how the candidate handles conflict or overcomes challenges, and how they can work with others to solve problems. Ask about how they work best when they are part of a community of practice, and what strategies they employ when plans are derailed.

No job is completely predictable. A good leader can face challenges at work with responsiveness and confidence, rather than sticking to a routine approach no matter what comes up. You want a leader who can take on challenges as they arise and handle them appropriately.

4. Look for Passion

Think about your own mentors. It’s likely you would describe them as passionate about their work. The employees who make the best leaders are always looking for ways to do better. They want to learn more, develop new skills, and bring fresh ideas to the table. They are motivated and determined to do better every day. They are PASSIONATE!

If an employee shows a real passion and hunger to learn more about how to be better at the job, they have great leadership potential. If they’re passionate, they create a greater likelihood of bringing out the passion in others. What they say matters, but how they say it matters more, so they should be warm, friendly, and relatable, showing a high level of emotional intelligence. They can easily have a conversation with students or staff that doesn’t feel one-sided and be a good listener who pays attention to others and can hear people out and respond with genuine interest. The best leaders are often not the people who talk the most or the loudest.

Now You Know How to Spot Leadership Potential Among Your Employees

As a leader, you have a responsibility to foster leadership skills in all of your employees. Share your expertise with them and share leadership responsibility because you can’t and shouldn’t do it all alone.

Want to learn more about leadership development and education? Schedule a consultation with us today.

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

National Summit for Principal Supervisors

Valda Valbrun and Mary-Frances Winters will share best practice strategies for building culturally proficient leadership to address issues of equity, diversity and inclusion district-wide. We will discuss the leadership imperative to solve equity challenges by dismantling deficit models, exploring inequitable practices and policies, developing cultural self-awareness and using leadership strategies that support inclusive environments and lead to improved student outcomes.

Participants will learn ways to respond to the diversity of school and district populations, leverage the diversity and welcome ethnically and culturally diverse communities. Participants will also have an opportunity to hear directly from a panel of Charlotte Mecklenburg district and school leaders who will share how they have applied the learning to advance the district’s cultural proficiency initiatives.

Register today at http://principalsummit.browardschools.com/registration

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

3 Ways to Improve Your Strategy Implementation

Improvement Strategy

Most districts require an annual school improvement plan. In many cases, creating one is more of an act of compliance, rather than a real roadmap for change.

Here are three ways you can advance an improvement strategy for results.

1. Be S.M.A.R.T

While most improvement plans have a series of goals, it’s important to make sure the goals are SMART- Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-driven, and Time-bound. A simple online search will yield tons of resources, templates and tools for SMART GOALS development. But then what? This is just the first step and the easiest. The real work is developing the tactics and strategies that will be needed to advance towards reaching the goals.

Ask yourself where are you now and what’s missing or preventing the advancement you seek? What barriers (perceived or real) need to be overcome? Be clear and have a vision for where you want to be and articulate what success will look like when you tell the story that has the happy ending. This will be your Theory of Action. “If we do (fill in the actions) then we will (fill in the desired results.)” Determine what needs to happen to get there. These actions should direct your steps and help you decide if you have the necessary people with the needed skills, and the right resources, tools and supports in place to move forward.

2. Now Be S.M.A.R.T-ER

The reason why most improvement strategies fail is not because the goals were not SMART or because they were not developed with the best of intentions or attempted with fidelity. Instead, they fail because leaders failed to measure the impact of the execution. To avoid this be SMART-ER and add Evaluation and Review to your goals.

Most leaders make the mistake of thinking that once the plan is written and submitted, the work is just to enact the strategies that were outlined, assign tactics to the individuals responsible for them, and then hold them accountable, perhaps by checking in periodically. This link between strategy and action sounds feasible but is most often the place where the breakdown occurs. Leaders can’t be expected to oversee every aspect of implementing an improvement strategy, but to measure if the return on the investment (of time, resources, and people) is making a difference, there must be an ongoing commitment to evaluation and review during implementation and not just after. Sometimes a mid-course correction will be necessary, or an unforeseen obstacle pops up. The only way to know and address this is to stay diligent about not just the end goal, but the process by which you get there. Determine the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that will help to establish efficient management of individual strategies and help track progress of the work during the implementation.

3. Be R.A.C.I

Avoid the assumption that everyone knows and understands the strategy and action steps. Its not enough to just publish or distribute the improvement plan documents. Involve others in developing the strategies so they can share ownership (rather than just buy-in) and know how to enact upon the improvement strategy in their respective roles. Determine who is RACI- Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. Find out what resource needs or professional development those who are responsible and accountable might require. Focus on the performance of those who will drive the strategy and provide the necessary feedback and support throughout implementation. This will build in a system of accountability and a progress monitoring model that allows those who are responsible and accountable to share data towards the key performance indicators.

By being SMARTER and knowing who is RACI, you can execute your improvement strategy, measure progress towards specific targets that can be tracked to provide organizational insights, create accountability to ensure that tactics and strategies are aligned, attainable, actionable and alive, and central to the daily work of improving your school.

Get Started on Your Improvement Strategy Today

Improving strategy implementation doesn’t have to be a negative or apprehensive process. In fact, it shouldn’t be.

Here at Valbrun Consulting, we help school leaders and executives learn how to create successful learning environments through effective strategy management.

Learn more about our services and sign up for a free consultation!

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

Emotional Leadership: How to Use Your Emotional Intelligence to Be a Better Leader

emotional leadership

Do you have emotional high intelligence?

Signs of emotional intelligence include politeness, self-reflection, and awareness of other people’s feelings. These are great attributes to have in business.

In this article, we’ll explain how these characteristics are crucial for effective leaders. Read on to find out why emotional leadership is important in the workplace and how you can practice it.

How to Use Emotional Leadership

In order to be an effective leader, you need emotional intelligence. Here’s how emotional leadership can improve your business and interpersonal skills.

Regulate Yourself

Emotional intelligence is defined as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions and the ability to use this information as a guide to thinking and behavior. (John D. Mayer, Peter Salovey and David R. Caruso.)

According to these researchers, there are five components that help leaders connect with themselves and others. These include: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills to manage relationships.

Being your authentic self is important, and that means being true to your core values. Write down the values, ethics, and rules that guide you and hold yourself accountable to them. Use them as the filter through which you make decisions. Ask yourself important questions like, “How does this (decision, action, etc.) make me feel? How might it make others feel? How will I address the feelings of others?

Regulate your words, as well as your actions. Sometimes, emotion forces us to react, rather than respond. Using emotional intelligence, allows us to better process the initial reaction, think through the impact on others, and develop a more intentional response. Then, you can express the response in a more measured way.

Be Empathetic

According to Forbes, empathy is essential for moving forward in business.

Many people assume that showing leadership requires quick and decisive action. While that may be true sometimes or in certain situations, it can hold you back when you’re trying to lead a team.

If you practice empathy, you can better understand the people you work with and make better connections with them. If you’re aware of how other people feel, understand what they have experienced, and are able to put yourself in their shoes, you’ll be better-equipped the come to an agreement and a compromise that suits both of you, resulting in better relationships and higher productivity in the workplace.

Using emotional intelligence helps to gauge other people’s feelings before becoming annoyed, irritated or critical, and instead, thinking about why they act or feel the way they do, keeping other viewpoints in mind. This in essential when you’re trying to manage change in the workplace.

Be Self-Aware

When your emotional intelligence is high, you’re more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, which means you can identify the areas in which you need to improve. You’re also more aware of how your actions and words affect others around you. This also means understanding what motivates you, and where you get in your own way. Sometimes that requires embracing the areas where you are vulnerable and where you might need to check your ego and demonstrate more humility.

To practice self-awareness, start by writing a journal. In a Harvard Business Review article, “Managing Oneself,” Peter Drucker wrote, “Whenever you make a decision or take a key decision, write down what you expect will happen. Nine or 12 months later, compare the results with what you expected.” Drucker called this self-reflection process feedback analysis. Writing down your own thoughts and feelings will help you to reflect and evaluate the impact of your leadership actions.

Ask for and be open to accepting feedback from others, and assess your own emotional intelligence using online resources and tools. Here are a few that we recommend: https://www.extension.harvard.edu/professional-development/blog/assessing-your-emotional-intelligence-4-tools-we-love

EI Assessments

Become a Better Leader

If you’re looking to enhance your leadership skills even further, consider taking part in a hands-on training course.

With our leadership training, you’ll learn how to increase your productivity, improve morale, and become more adaptable. You’ll also learn how to make stronger bonds with employees and partners, so you can retain connections and improve your employee turnover rate.

Contact us to see how we can make you a better leader.

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

3 Reasons A Leadership Development Strategy Is Essential For Educators

leadership development strategy

Today, the median salary for a school principal is close to $100,000 — nearly double that of a teacher. Next to teachers, a strong and effective instructional leader is the second most important human resource in any school building. As an instructional leader, the expectation is that you model, coach and mentor to build leadership capacity in others to create the conditions where everyone can meet with success.

Being a leader means also being able to identify, invest and develop talent in others to meet future needs, create critical mass and build a pipeline. This makes the leader’s job easier because they build an internal cadre of other leaders who they can share responsibility with, gather feedback from, and create learning opportunities for, as they advance the school or organization’s vision together.

The best leaders create a solid team culture, such that the school or organization can still run effectively in their absence. They have cultivated effective relationships, and empowered others to make decisions.

Let’s take a look at some strategies for developing your bench of leaders by having a leadership development strategy in place that builds other leaders, instead of just followers:

Leadership Development Strategy Builds True Leaders

A real leadership development strategy creates qualified and prepared candidates for future roles, rather than just filling vacancies or creating empty promotions. In building future leaders, there must be intentional planning for creating the right growth and learning opportunities. For example, as an assistant principal, it is important to learn about budget and financial aspects that would be beneficial when the assistant becomes a principal themselves. This means the principal must be willing to share learning, even when “just doing it yourself” might be faster or easier.

Identify the key behaviors, core skills and functions that are most important in the role of the leader. Be clear on the leadership needs of your school or organization – in the present, but also into the future. Next identify those who might have the greatest potential to assume a leadership role, but who can be further developed so that leadership responsibilities can be shared. Identify the right people, plan for transitions, and create a training and development plan to build leadership in those who are identified.

Many leadership programs in colleges and schools of education may provide theoretical knowledge, but real leaders are best groomed through practical application. As a leader, you create opportunities for future leaders to marry theory with practice.

Leaders Are In Every Classroom

How we define leadership may sometimes be tied to a title. Teacher Leadership happens every day and in every classroom. Leading learning, creating a culture for success, being an effective planner – all things teachers do on a daily basis, and also the best qualities in any leader. Leaders should look into classrooms to identify high potential employees- those with both the skill and will to take on new challenges and welcome opportunities to be stretched. Find those who embody the vision and mission of your school or organization, those who understand the goals and have deep interest in governance, operations and a desire to lead. Don’t assume that previous formal leadership experience is a pre-requisite for those who should be tapped. Remember that skills can be taught, but attitude and will are strong indicators of potential.

Leadership Doesn’t Have To Be A Lonely Job

One of the main complaints of leaders is that there is a certain level of loneliness at the top. It doesn’t have to be that way at all. When faced with challenges, an effective leader should tap into the team culture he or she has created. Leaders shouldn’t neglect the power of the relationships they build, with teachers, students, parents, members of their leadership team, and anyone who they can work with to impact the greater good of the school. These are all opportunities for developing the leadership skills of others. This may take a more formal development approach, like that of a principal grooming an assistant principal, or can be informal, like working with students and parents to help develop better leadership of the PTSA or Student Government. In all of these instances, a leader has the potential to influence others, build their capacity and create a culture of shared leadership.

Solid leaders set the tone and standards for the organization. People that work with these leaders become more skilled and motivated as a result. Every leader can be built from the ground up if they work with someone committed to investing in their development.

Build A Sound Leadership Development Strategy With Us

Need to identify and develop leadership potential in your school? We can provide executive coaching, leadership development, and professional training.

We take education seriously at the Valbrun Consulting Group. Let us put your school in a position to succeed.

Take the time to contact us to learn more.

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

How to Manage Workplace Change Without Causing Panic

workplace change

Resistance is a normal reaction to change, but that fact isn’t comforting in the least while you’re experiencing it.

As an employee, the fear of failure and the fear of the unknown are enough to incite panic and put anyone over the edge.

As humans, we like predictability. We enjoy knowing what’s coming next. So when our sense of normal is disrupted, it can throw us into a severe state of stress and anxiety.

In fact, change is so profound that it can lead to various anxiety disorders.

Today, we’re discussing a few strategies that can help you manage workplace change.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

1. Communicate the Change Clearly

To employees, there’s nothing worse than feeling blindsided or like you have been thrown a curve ball out of nowhere in the workplace. That’s why it’s crucial for leaders to make communication a top priority when implementing any workplace change.

It’s vital to maintain transparency, be upfront and honest — don’t sugar coat anything. It will be much easier for everyone if there aren’t any surprises.

Here are a few ways to ensure everyone is up-to-speed and in the know:

  1. Present the change as it is.
  2. Share the facts and the rationale behind the decision.
  3. Present details on when the changes will occur.
  4. Allow everyone to be involved where possible, and seek ownership rather than just buy in.
  5. Allow those impacted to ask questions to get comfortable with the change.

If you hire a professional for organizational development, this team can help manage change and ensure smooth implementation, as well as assist with developing a communication strategy.

2. Validate Their Feelings During the Workplace Change

Stress and anxiety are two top factors that impact work performance.

If you prepare your employees properly ahead of time, you can avoid having a chaotic workplace after the change occurs. One great way to decrease the fallout from impact is to validate their feelings and let them know they’re not alone.

If decisions still need to be made, gather feedback and input. Where possible, seek consensus about how the change will be implemented, or what processes will be needed to move forward

The last thing you want is a team that’s paralyzed by fear and unable to perform effectively. Open the line of communication by inviting anyone who needs support to meet with you regarding their feelings about the change.

3. Demonstrate How The Change is Going to be Effective

One of the biggest reasons we see workplace anxiety before, during, and after a change is because people are afraid of the unknown. Don’t keep them in the dark, and ensure you sell them on the change.

If they don’t understand why this change is necessary and will benefit the workplace, and them personally, they’ll have a more difficult time coping with it.

If you work with a strategy management professional to look at what’s working and what needs improvement in the workplace, you’ll be equipped to give a detailed look at the benefits. Make sure you share those advantages with everyone.

Final Thoughts

It’s only natural to see reluctance to workplace change, but if you use these strategies there’s no reason it can’t go smoothly.

Just remember that reactions will differ, and preparation is key to ensuring everyone feels supported during the transitional time period.

If you need support with strategy management or organizational development, feel free to reach out by contacting us here.

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.

5 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership in Schools

instructional leadership

Being an instructional leader is an enormous responsibility, and sometimes can feel like a lonely job. Your role is to have an impact to the instructional core and influence how teachers and students engage with content so we get to teaching and learning.

While every school and every staff are different, there are certain key characteristics that principals share.

Below, we’ve outlined five strategies so that you can use the assets you have as principal to improve overall instructional leadership.

1. Instructional Leadership Starts in the Classroom

Instructional leadership starts with just that: instruction. Carve out time each day for informal walk-throughs. Commit (and calendar) to getting into at least 10 classrooms per day and providing teachers with targeted and focused feedback that will help them improve and grow.

These informal walk-throughs are vital for developing teachers, maintaining visibility with students and staff. It builds accountability in a culture of and for learning. They also help you to develop a data-driven snapshot of strengths and challenges. This helps you know where to spend your time and allocate resources and support.

These visits could be short, and the feedback you provide can simply be a “kudo” and “a wondering”. The key is to use the wondering to start a dialogue.

For example, “I wonder if you considered ways to make this lesson more culturally relevant to your students, if the level of engagement might increase?”

2. Give Consistent and Comprehensive Feedback

Both formal and informal observations should provide teachers with effective and manageable feedback. Post-observation discussions should be conversations about what was observed. Allow teachers to share the planning process they used, what students were learning, what mastery would look like, and to share student work products. Requesting specific questions they may want you to help them explore is important.

Post observation feedback is not an autopsy. It is an opportunity to for teachers to take the feedback, implement the suggested improvements, with time for practice and revisiting the impact of the feedback.

These feedback discussions should be part of a cycle for ongoing continuous improvement. They should allow teachers time and space to act on the feedback. Provide the chance to close the feedback loop without feeling that it will negatively impact their evaluation.

As an instructional leader, your greatest asset is working with teachers to deliver high-quality instruction. Much like when teachers provide students with effective feedback, it improves their performance, so too is the case when principals communicate consistently with their faculty and staff.

Keep feedback constructive, open and direct. Make sure that you plan for it by setting up formal appointments to discuss teacher performance. Planning and being prepared for feedback conversations helps insure that you are meaningfully engaged with the teacher in a two-way discussion. This signals mutual respect and value of the work being done to improve instructional quality.

3. Remember to Still Be a Teacher

Instructional leaders are still teachers despite a change in formal title to principal or assistant principal. Your audience may not be students, but as the instructional leader, you serve as the model.

Make sure you understand, and are willing to do what you’re requiring of your teachers. This doesn’t require you to be an expert in all content areas, but it does require that you maintain an understanding of best practice for teaching and learning.

Coach your teachers and provide shoulder to shoulder support as needed.

4. Continue to Learn and Stay Current

Professional development workshops and conferences are just one way to stay on top of current trends in education. Explore opportunities to learn from your professional peers on topics that interest you. This could be useful in your school.

Subscribe to journals and magazines such as ASCD Ed Leadership, read the Marshall Memo, Journal for Curriculum and Instruction, Insight, Journal of Teacher Leadership and Urban Educational Leadership, and ED Week to name a few.

School leadership doesn’t have to be a lonely job. Find and engage with colleagues who are willing to share what they’ve learned, and do the same as a member of a community of practice.

These conversations will be at the core of your growth as a leader and models your commitment to continuous improvement.

5. Reflect on Your Leadership

In the middle of a busy day, it can be hard to find the time for reflection, so it requires that you are intentional in giving yourself that time.

Take a few minutes at the end of each day to make note of anything that stood out to you. Keep your notes in a single place, and read through them to notice any patterns that emerge. Determine what you might need to do more of, start doing, stop doing, or figure out how to scale.

Where are you spending your time and energies?

How did a decision you made impact stakeholders?

What might you have done differently, better, sooner, next time?

Building in opportunities for you to reflect will help build your capacity to be an authentic leader. This helps you become aware of your own mistakes. Be clear about ways to address your challenge areas. Reflecting on your own practice allows you to seek to learn as well as help others to learn.

Ready to Become the Best Leader You Can Be?

Strong and effective instructional leadership can make a big difference in your school and for your teachers.

If you’re interested in learning new techniques or have any questions, contact us today.

We provide all the tools, coaching and strategic tips you need

Valda Valbrun

Ms. Valda Valbrun is an established Educational Leader known for passion toward inclusive, research-based, data-driven pedagogy, a systems change facilitator with a proven track record of supporting schools and districts to change educational practices and establish systems, and a dynamic Professional Developer, Teacher, Administrator, Entrepreneur, Advocate and Student Champion.