Leading your school through a crisis

Leading your school through a crisis

The realities of the education sector can land even the best-led schools in crisis mode. Cases of workplace and classroom bullying, policy or administrative changes or reform, and unexpected injury or illnesses are commonplace across our school system.

Although there are procedures in place, even the best-laid plans can unravel. Every school, whether big or small, should have a contingency plan for the worst-case scenario.

As educational leaders, would you know what to do to stay the course if your school faces a crisis? Here are a few tips on leading effectively when chaos strikes.

Acknowledge the problem

It’s absolutely critical that you admit there’s a problem. Ignoring or avoiding the reality of the situation serves no one, and in fact usually makes matters worse. Take time to discover the root of the issue and your role in it, so as to effectively mediate or rectify the cause.

Be transparent

This is also crucial, as lack of transparency breeds distrust within your team and students. Open communication, where appropriate, builds trust and confidence in your leadership. Recognise that those around you have skills and ideas worth considering.

Make decisive decisions

Lead confidently, sacrificially, calmly - you can’t control the situation, but you can control your response. The way that you react will have a direct bearing on the morale of your students and staff so approaching issues head-on with confidence and being able to make the hard decisions will foster strength within your team.

Be honest and show humility

Humility is a key trait of an effective leader, so be honest about any role you may have played in creating the problem. It is not about placing blame, however, if you make wrong turns in your attempts to rectify the situation, be willing to admit that you’ve made a mistake. Lead your team by example, and display that it is okay to admit mistakes.

Find support

Take care of yourself mentally, emotionally and physically so that you’re able to lead effectively. Acknowledge the strain and stress that others in the school are also facing. Encourage everyone to ask for help when needed, and remind them that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness.

Be flexible and adaptable

Develop a specific recovery plan, and offer a vision for how your institution can recover from the blow. Put the plan in motion, but listen attentively to feedback and adjust to the changing situation. Be humbly open to suggestions so you don’t get stuck on one ineffective solution.

Stay true to your values

One of the biggest challenges in our society today is remaining true to the values you have. As leaders, the pressure is on you to make hard calls, however it is important to remain in touch with the values that got you where you are.

Trust your employees

Great leaders can often do more by standing back from the action and providing an overall perspective. Encourage your staff and students to step up to the challenge of carrying out the vision of recovery, and seek to create a positive, can-do attitude which encourages them to meet the challenges head-on.

Excelsia College’s online Master of Education strives to develop leaders who approach their role with integrity and wisdom. To find out more about how to strengthen your leadership skills, talk to one of our dedicated Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 917 916.