School Leaders Build Trust when they Value the Expertise of Others by Toby A. Travis, Ed.D.
Research has shown that school leaders are trusted when they exemplify the attribute of Compassion. One of the most significant ways in which leaders can demonstrate this attribute is when he or she involves “teachers in the design and implementation of important decisions and policies.”
In 2008, the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium (ISLLC) established Educational Leadership Policy Standards focused on setting expectations for educational leaders, which would result in the success of every student. One of the standards the ISLLC identified related to educational leaders in organizational management. Among the functions enumerated is the expectation that school administrators, “Develop the capacity for distributed leadership.” This capacity is identified as the key leadership behavior, which school leaders implement toward continual school improvement and gaining higher levels of trust.
When leaders place their trust in those they lead, they are rewarded with a greater level of trust in return.
Trusted school leaders know that they lead a team of talented professionals who have the potential for thinking, being creative, acting with maturity, and accepting responsibility. For those who may lack natural talent, or professional training, their very presence indicates a desire to be a part of a quality educational program. Therefore, there must be human talent and expertise so the school leader can confidently distribute the responsibility of carrying out educational improvements.
The leader can, or should be able to, entrust his or her team with a large voice in defining what those improvements are, as well as the planning of the steps to enact those improvements. When he or she does so, they demonstrate Compassion by valuing team input and they gain a higher level of trust.
©2016 Toby A. Travis
 Marzano et. al., School Leadership That Works, 712, Kindle.
 Richard Gorton and Judy Alston, School Leadership and Administration: Important Concepts, Case Studies, and Simulations (New York: McGraw Hill, 2012), 3, Kindle.