I'll never forget the first meeting I had with Jon Hunter, then Principal of Bethlehem Central High School, Delmar, NY. Jon had this effusive personality that made you matter as a teacher in his school. He was inspiring in everything he did, and the model of leadership he provided to his community was outstanding. But, the manner he made others feel important in a simple conversation was truly worth following.
He earnestly listened to each and every individual in any and all conversations. He took an active interest in your work, issues, or other challenges, and he would make you feel that he was invested in you as a person for what he remembered about you.
You matter most when you make others matter.
Some ideas that School Leaders can consider in developing this important trait to support the learning experience for school community.
1) Visit classrooms on an informal basis and send a note of appreciation to the teacher for allowing you to be a part of the class.
2) Send birthday notes to all of your employees, no matter how many there are in the organization.
3) Never interrupt someone that talks to you about a concern. Practice active listening skills.
4) When you ask someone how they are, listen and hold a meaningful conversation with them.
5) Follow up with people.
6) When meeting people the first time, remember their names.
To strengthen and support your organization, build a network of supportive relationships within the work environment and change may be an easier thing to implement.