Seeking advice……

After having quite a long and thorough conversation about how our local authority has supported our school over the past year, I have realised something very important.  I had realised this fact before, but today it was cemented and confirmed.

I have worked with many other leaders who don’t ask for help….or they seek help in the wrong ways.  When I have a question, I like to go to the top, I want to find out the best, most recent advice that I can.  Who better to go to than the top person in that area?  So, for example, if I have a question about an issue I have with human resources, I go to the head of human resources for our county.  Similarly, if I have a question about health and safety, I go to the top point of contact to get the most reliable information.

I always like to make sure that I do things correctly.  Therefore, in order to do this, my information has to be correct and from the most reliable source.  But why doesn’t everyone feel the same way?  What is it that stops others from asking for help – but more importantly asking for advice from the correct place?

There are people in county who have the answers to all of the questions that us as leaders, are expected to know.  But that is the thing…..who has said that we are ‘expected’ to know it.  Yes, we are ‘expected’ to have a very high level of knowledge of a whole range of topics – but no one has actually asserted that we need to be the ‘font of all knowledge.’  We can’t be.

Therefore, when we come across something that we just aren’t 100% certain of, isn’t it wise to seek expert clarification to ensure you are doing things exactly the way they should be done?  I don’t know if it is pride or looking as though we may not know the answer to everything (I’m sensing a ‘fixed’ mindset here!), but I know that I would rather be safe than sorry.  If that means making an extra phone call to an ‘expert’ in that field, then that is what I will do.

This is what I will always continue to do…..

What I found out today was that from recent research into newly appointed heads – a majority found that the local authority was not supportive.  However, from my point of view – a headteacher who seeks advice and support from the local authority – I could not be more pleased about the support I have been given.  I am surprised by this, considering how many cuts there have been in staffing, but any advice I have sought has been acted upon quickly and reliably.  In fact, every point of contact has gone above and beyond my expectations, making visits to meet with me face to face and calling to follow up the advice they had given me.

“Take the attitude of a student, never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new….” ~Og Mandino~

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