Change happens every day, either small, large or without us even noticing.
When I first took on this headship, I thought that just me (being a big change in itself) was going to be more change than anyone wanted. I thought my biggest battle was going to be people rebelling against a new headteacher – I have seen it many times before. I was expecting the worst. I knew that I wouldn’t have everyone on my side…..
You have to earn people’s trust. Here I was, taking on my first headship, still quite young (age did get in my way many times!), with an American accent (this often gets in my way!), who is constantly smiling……….what were people to think? I would have been dubious of me!
However, a year on, and people realise who I am. They know that I am always smiling, remain overly positive (no matter what the situation) and am open and honest. They have seen that I will fight their corners, that I will support them, that I walk the talk and don’t just expect them to do it all. And this is the truth……they are an outstanding team……I will stand up for them – I will fight whatever battles they need fighting. I see them put in 110% every day to make sure that the children in our care get an outstanding education. They take risks – whatever I ask of them, they go above and beyond.
So, now any change that comes into school, we all tackle together. We discuss and think about the advantages and the disadvantages. We think about how things will fit together and if they can fit comfortably into the vision we have created.
When I have ideas (which I have many!) I bring them to the staff – we debate, we analyse, together…..things get rewritten, we discuss and together we come up with a solution.
Many people find change very difficult to adjust to. But after trust is established, it is about keeping people onside, keeping them involved, listening to their ideas and their opinions and actually taking them into account. It is very easy to say that you listen to people, but until you actually implement other people’s ideas – they won’t believe that you really were listening to them in the first place.
It is about teaching people how to cope with change effectively, putting in strategies to help people adjust, giving them support. It is also about making people feel comfortable enough to always question change, to seek answers before jumping on board.
Change is about everyone…….keeping people informed and making sure they are a part of the change that is coming.
How we deal with change determines how effectively change is managed, embedded and sustained.