Communication skills are at the heart of effective leadership. As a school leader, you must effectively communicate with your staff, students, parents, and the broader community. This means you must have excellent communication skills and practices that enable you to build relationships, inform others, and seek consensus.
Communication Practice: Building
Building is an essential communication practice that involves adding to the speaker’s ideas and letting others know that you value their input and that you have something to contribute. When you engage in building, you create an environment of respect, trust, and collaboration. Building can take various forms, including active listening, acknowledging the other person’s perspective, asking clarifying questions, and sharing your own experiences.
To build effectively, you need to actively listen to the speaker, understand their perspective, and acknowledge their contributions. You should be curious and open-minded, seeking to learn from the other person’s experiences and insights. This helps to foster a sense of mutual respect and understanding, and it encourages others to share their perspectives more freely.
Communication Practice: Informing
Informing is another essential communication practice that involves sharing information and knowledge to enhance understanding and address the speaker’s needs. As a school leader, you are responsible for providing accurate and timely information to your staff, students, and parents. This includes sharing important updates, policy changes, and other relevant information that impacts the school community.
To inform effectively, you need to be clear, concise, and accurate in your communication. You should use language that is accessible and understandable to your audience and provide additional resources or support as needed. This helps to ensure that everyone has the information they need to make informed decisions and take appropriate action. A key aspect of informing effectively includes staying on topic and listening carefully as others inform. These behaviors highlight the value you place on others.
Communication Practice: Seeking Consensus
Seeking consensus is the third communication practice that involves reaching an agreement to ensure that everyone involved understands the goals and the ways of achieving them. Consensus-building is critical in school leadership because it ensures that everyone’s needs and perspectives are considered when making important decisions. This helps to create a sense of ownership and commitment among stakeholders and ensures that decisions are more likely to be implemented successfully.
To seek consensus effectively, you need to be inclusive, collaborative, and respectful of everyone’s perspectives. Seek input from all stakeholders and consider their unique perspectives when making decisions. Be transparent about the decision-making process and communicate the rationale behind the decisions made. This helps to create a sense of trust and transparency among stakeholders and ensures that everyone understands the rationale behind the decisions made.
Strong communication skills are critical for school leaders. Building, informing, and seeking consensus are three essential communication practices that help to showcase how much people value each other and their opinions, experiences, and values. By engaging in these practices, you can create an environment of respect, trust, and collaboration, and ensure that everyone feels heard and understood. As a result, you can build strong relationships and achieve your school’s goals more effectively.
Buysse, V., & Wesley, P.W. (2005). Consultation in early childhood settings. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.