We set up a new leadership team in My eCoach, mainly because we have been receiving support requests from new and veteran principals. The question that keeps coming up from many of these leaders is how to build a positive school climate especially with all the budget woes, teacher layoffs, and violence happening in schools today.
Schools represent people serving people. Administrators need to come from the heart. What I mean is that the key task of the leader is to get inside the ethical culture of their school and the school community. Leaders and their staff can be more productive when they align their personal values with their school. Yet, this can be tough if the leader believes the school culture needs changing especially when the values are deeply entrenched.
"Manís search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life and not a ísecondary rationalizationí of instinctual drives. This meaning is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone; only then does it achieve a significance, which will satisfy his own will to meaning."
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
How do you create a valid and core ethics within the school community? Unethical behavior involves teachers and others in the school community deliberately intending to cause harm to themselves or others. This behavior comes from destructive motivations such as fear, greed, anger and jealousy. Ethical behavior reinforces emotions such as joy, generosity and compassion by enhancing the well-being of everyone in the school community. [Source: Effective Leaders]
Leaders: Ask your stakeholders what the core values are that define your school. Bring everyone on board and use it as a professional development opportunity.
You have to set the standard yourself, constantly keeping your actions above reproach. Talk through hypothetical scenarios with the staff so they will know what to do when they come up against an ethical dilemma.
Knowing what is right is absolutely critical for personal and professional ethics. Yet, good ethics only happen when good beliefs lead to good behaviors. Without the action part, all you have are good intentions.