In our research on the biggest challenges that are limiting school growth, administrators expressed a growing concern about improving faculty morale, including how to deal with negative attitudes.
Advancing the culture is part of the role for every school leader, and it requires understanding how to set clear expectations, defining and enforcing culture-building habits, and improving hiring/re-hiring practices to ensure alignment with the mission, values, and goals.
Over the last decade we've conducted strategic planning focus groups with thousands of teachers and other school employees. One of the consistent messages that comes through loud and clear from these educators is:
Tell me what you want,
Hold me fairly accountable
to those expectations
Craft a Performance Rubric
Vague expectations that vary day-to-day, administrator-to-administrator are a cancer to faculty culture. Teachers and staff want to know how to win. The best want to know how they can contribute to the bigger goals of the school, beyond the scope of their classroom or area of responsibility. They're working for the mission and leadership, not just the paycheck.
A well designed performance rubric defines how each person contributes their talent, energy, and engagement to the mission, culture, strategies, and expectations of the school.
This rubric should be collaboratively introduced to the faculty in a manner that builds trust and gathers input through constructive dialogue. With agreement on the evidences of performance, this tool can then be used to determine opportunities for celebration and growth.
The goal isn't perfection--it's cohesiveness and clarity. Over time, the rubric will be adjusted based on application and feedback.
Building Faculty Culture requires accurate data regarding progress on quarterly and weekly goals. Who on the faculty is contributing most to the vision and plans? Who is struggling to appropriately engage?
A reliably predictive key performance indicator (KPI) for schools is the Talent Quotient (TQ), which is calculated based on the ratio of faculty who consistently meet or exceed expectations compared to those who don't. We have found that a school's TQ, when authentically assessed, provides a solid pathway to improved student performance, greater economic sustainability for the school, and a higher quality of live for the school's leadership.
The TQ can be calculated at least quarterly so that the administration can provide timely feedback and make adjustments that reflect wise stewardship of the school's mission, brand, and resources.
Provide concrete, behavioral feedback
School leaders will spend months, even years, venting about destructive faculty members, but fail to ever give them concrete feedback about how they should be acting and what they should be doing differently.
Professional mentoring and feedback is hard--it's one of the most difficult and uncomfortable duties for an administrator. But to grow the quality and impact of your school and leadership, this is a mission-critical part of the job. It can't be delegated nor delayed if you want a healthy school.
The video webinar provides additional tools for you to improve faculty morale.