I am working on the assumption here that connecting with others in a positive way is a premise that people would not disagree with. I consider myself to be a ‘people person’ and an ‘Investor in People’ in the truest and widest sense, so in this context my interactions and relationships with others both personally and professionally are really important to me. People matter.
Whilst the premise of positive relationships would seem to be a sound one, we do not however always take the time to reflect on what we mean by that – the underlying behaviours which are conducive to making it happen. In the context of the workplace, this is what we did as a school team – we set about agreeing a set of professional behaviours that we would all subscribe to.
It was a whole team activity, starting with an individual reflection and a task to write 5 words / 5 behaviours, moving on to a refining process in pairs, then small groups until the full staff discussed and refined further the core behaviours we felt underpinned our ethos and way of working. When one member of staff said during the discussion, ‘I am really PROUD to work at this school’, it all fit into place!
These agreed set of professional behaviours are embedded into the school ethos and the way we work as a team for example:
• They are used right from recruitment and selection e.g. at interview a question may be ‘Choose one of these 5 behaviours, say why you have chosen it and how you would demonstrate it in your work at the school?’
• They are explicit on our ‘meet the staff’ page on the school website http://tinyurl.com/l7af485 as well as on the staff vacancies page http://tinyurl.com/ngu9p5s
• They are included in the introduction of all policy statements with the PROUD behaviours made bespoke to the particular policy.
• They are used as part of dialogue during appraisal discussions
• They are used in the annual staff questionnaire…Tell me how during this year you have demonstrated……….
• I often hear the terminology used spontaneously by staff during meetings or during conversations on the corridor
• If you follow me you may have noticed me tweeting it once or twice too!
The impact of this in school has been a common language for us to use around working as a team and our professional behaviours. Our expectations of each other and towards others are clear and fully permeate aspect of our school life – the way we do things around here!
Whilst this was done as a school / workplace activity, you might agree that actually being PROUD of your friends and family, being Passionate about wanting to spend time with others, being Respectful of their views, being Organised in maintaining contact with them, being Understanding of their needs and being Dedicated to support them when they need you is not a bad way to live your life.
As for me I have a real Passion for the job I do, best job in the world! I Respect my staff as colleagues and human beings and as such Understand that the job can be both rewarding and challenging and whilst I expect high standards and hard work – absolutely, I want staff who are happy in their work and feel supported in turn being at their best and giving their best to the pupils and their families. In this context, I ensure I am Organised in my role and responsibilities and make myself available as needed. I Understand that in a diverse school community the needs and wants of individuals and groups can vary on a day to day basis and therefore there is a need to be flexible and I am Dedicated to being the best I can be at what I do. I am a PROUD headteacher
Mary Isherwood @Mishwood1
Camberwell Park School @CamberwellPark www.camberwellpark.dbprimary.com