We are all busy people. Our staff is busy carrying out their mission. I am fond of saying, "teachers are where the rubber meets the road." I can preach all I want, provide some excellent Professional Development, and support staff with a budget that provides wanted resources, but really....it all comes down to the hard work of the staff to ensure we are completing our mission of student learning. That is our goal.
So should I get that upset when they come to me with questions I have already answered in the e-mail that went out last week.....or yesterday? When it was something I clearly noted in the last staff meeting? I suppose I could. I could send out another e-mail, stating it over again with a couple of exclamation points at the end. But will that help? Or just chase away questions?
Is suppose it depends on your leadership style. I prefer a servant leadership style. I am constantly asking myself, "what can I do to make their job easier?" This practice comes without spotlights, and recognition is not what its about either. Instead, you are focused on your team and giving them whatever it is they need. Sometimes......they just need an answer to a question.
Taking on the leadership role in a school is not an easy matter. You now have chosen to be the "go to" person for a whole building. Not just teachers, but for students, parents, school board members, the superintendent and a whole bunch of community members. You are now seen as thee answer person. The person who is responsible. The person with the vision. The LEADER. I am hoping you didn't take this role on as a feather in your hat, or because it was the next job on the ladder. You have taken a role, consciously or not, that is no longer about you. You are now there to make sure everything goes well and smoothly for everyone else.
My guess is, you knew what you were getting into and that you did it for the right reasons. Yes, even the best leaders get frustrated with the day to day, the wasteful paperwork, the demands on your time by so many people and probably some of the repeated questions. But if you take a minute, and recall what it was like when you were back in the classroom, with that laser like focus on your students and giving them the best that you had.....well, you can probably remember that you too forgot some of the answers that were provided to you. Information that was shared at a staff meeting (when you were thinking of what to make for dinner for your family), or when the principal popped into a team meeting and shared when classroom budgets needed to be turned in (and you forgot to write it down as you worked on improving lesson plans), or the time when the procedure for posting something to your classroom website was shared in an e-mail (and you accidentally put it in the trash forgetting that the trash is emptied at the end of each semester to save storage space). It happens to all of us.....and Leaders, instead of taking it personally, step back....put on your empathy shoes.....and remember that they are human too....and our job is to serve them and to clear the path.....so that they can become the leaders......tomorrow. Hopefully, they'll be a leader with empathy and patience.....just like you.
So take on those questions with a smile. All of them. Give them the answer they need, even if it is how to find the answer for themselves, and be the leader they can count on. The one they trust enough to go to with the smallest of questions, the questions that are requests for information you already shared, and the questions that are really requests for you to change your mind. Remember, the questions are really more about them and not about you.