Trust: Our Finest Currency
When you work in a building that has almost 900 students you quickly learn what it means to have double that in parents and guardians. What does your name mean to them? Does it mean security, quality education, or trust? As soon as you have to make that difficult phone call, you realize that the trust you may have gained through your life in your work is just not there. In order to be impactful and effective, you have to gain it immediately. How do you do this? To gain overwhelming support in a crucial time where your skills are in question, your decisions are in question. Sometimes you even feel as if who you are is in question. Is it? Well, yes it is. Your response in this critical moment shares your character and builds your reputation. How?
Assume Positive Intent: always remember that this person is, after all, a person. They love their children very much and, like you, want what is best for them.
Remember perspective: You have many things in your mind including campus safety, reasonableness of the information, personal biases, students genuinely trying to stay out of trouble (at all costs), and educational benefit. Their perspective is often limited to that situation, their care for their child, as well as concern for safety.
Find Places to Align: we are both centered around a safe and loving environment for their student, a growth in education, justice for all, and a positive learning outcome.
Prepare Solutions: Think ahead. Any additional options you have in your tool kit to offer more support is beneficial. What more conversations can you have? Are there any additional people that need to be made aware? What are some ways to solve the situation in the future?
Focus on the Future: As you end the conversation, draw the others back to what needs to happen in the future. Summarize the solutions and the actions you will take.
When facing these difficult situations, it is easy to become lost in the fact that many people do not know you well enough to trust you and your work. The reputation you have worked many years to build will be under question and scrutiny as a leader. This is part of your responsibility, to build trust conversation by conversation.