Mary-Jo Hill

29 Sep 2016

“How do leaders respond when someone isn’t meeting expectations: is the person unaware, unable, or unwilling? If someone is unaware, that’s my fault. I need to communicate expectations more clearly.If someone is unable, that’s a joint task; a ‘we do.’ I need to help them develop the skill or capacity to do the work. If someone knows what’s expected and has demonstrated the ability to do it but still isn’t getting it done, then they’ve moved into the unwilling category. The ‘you’ do. It’s important to try to understand why they aren’t doing it, but the reality is, if they’re unwilling to do the task that you need them to do at the level you need them to do it, that’s not OK.”  Brian Sims of Ark Education posted this last week and it keeps turning in my head as a really useful way of looking at things.

As a specialist coach with over 850 hours of professional talk with school staff, I would like to suggest an additional category..unsure..making that a continuum of UNAWARE, UNSURE, UNABLE, UNWILLING. 

If someone is unsure, that is also a joint task. Unsure if they are doing things in the way SLT want them to be done..stalling on matters as not too sure what the requirements are under the bigger headlines. Flagging confidence as they begin to work in a vacuum of demands and expectations. How do you let your leader know about the detail of what you are doing (for recognition and monitoring purposes) without sounding like you’re bragging and thereby alienating colleagues? How does the leader ensure he pays enough attention to all the staff and not ignore the ones that are quietly getting on with it:  to extend, cherish and continue to nurture even when skilled and competent? This is the ‘quietest’ challenge of people and pupil management. Easy to overlook amongst all the other noise.