5 Ways School Leaders Can Be Kind

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Daisy-May Lewis

Daisy is Head of KS3 and mental health lead in a Secondary School for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Needs. She is a Religious Studies subject specialist but currently delivers a range of subjects including: English, PSHE, Citizenship, History, Geography and Philosophy. Her...
Read more about Daisy-May Lewis

Will you implement these Random Acts of Kindness?

Sometimes it’s the smallest act that makes the biggest impact, something as simple as saying please or thank you can turn a day around, and make a life seem that much better.

1. Build strong relationships

Teams that have strong relationships will perform better; relationships between staff influence everything from the social climate to individual performance. Good school leaders appreciate that their teams have a life outside of school and that sometimes their commitments at home will overpower those at school, allow you staff the time to visit their children’s sports day, partners graduation and other important life events.

Remember what they have told you about what is going on at home if their cat has been to the vet or their partner is applying for a new job ask them how it is going and they will appreciate the time you have taken to check in on them. Show genuine interest in their lives, their activities, their goals and their struggles.

It is important to always present as an emotionally intelligent leader who is calm and grounded, empathetic, and is able to deal with the daily challenges of your team.

2. Give them your time

Ensure that you make the time for a weekly coaching or supervision session with the staff that you directly line manage; your meetings may even be a mixture of the two with supervision being the opportunity for staff to get things off their chest and discuss things in a confidential, safe environment.

Whereas coaching allows you help someone unlock their personal and professional potential, people value this time and a leader who constantly cancels or has ‘better’ things to do when these meeting are scheduled may lose the trust of their teams. Be present around the school site, greet staff and be welcoming it is not until you give your staff your time and full attention, can you truly know the value of your biggest resource for school improvement.

3. Notice the positives

How often do we do this with our students? School Leaders Now comments that, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know that you care. Many of our students, especially those who struggle, don’t receive nearly enough positive feedback in the classroom or in their personal lives.”

Could this also apply to school staff?

Someone in your team may have been working in the school for years and never been acknowledged for the difference that they make. Take time this week to compliment someone, take the time to notice the positive things that they are doing and let them know that you truly appreciate it.

The use of praise will also improve the productivity of your team, being praised triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps control the reward and pleasure centres of the brain. As well as making us feel good, dopamine can also contribute to innovative thinking and creative problem-solving at work.

4. Treat your team

A particularly positive interaction that I had with my own team was welcoming them to our morning briefing having prepared a team breakfast, we enjoyed chatting about things non-work related and had twenty minutes of our school day to be a team who enjoy each others company.

Remember birthdays, organise non-work related activities and make sure that there is always coffee and biscuits in the staff room. These little efforts make people feel valued, and are well worth the small costs involved.

5. Allow them to grow as professionals

The best leaders grow future leaders, identify the strengths of your team (or allow them to identify their own strengths in your coaching meetings) and allow them to build on these strengths, encourage your team to attend CPD training and then feedback their knowledge to the whole staff cohort.

Role model this, it is not a weakness to show that you are still learning, empower your staff to build on their professional skills and begin to build the skills of others.

Remember we don’t need a day a year to be kind these are the things that you could implement as soon as possible!


Get teaching and whole school resources to celebrate random acts of kindness here.

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