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  • Rich Haglund

We don't have relationships with roles. We have relationships with people.

Last week, Mark Horstman, one of the founders of Manager Tools, talked with Dr. Jared Smith, an Iowa public school district superintendent. It was great to hear them talk about applying the "management trinity" in educational settings:

  1. Holding weekly one on ones with each member of your team

  2. Giving feedback that's focused solely on increasing effective future behavior

  3. Delegating to train team members to do your job when they're ready

  4. Coaching team members to develop competencies

I've seen the difference in team member satisfaction and performance when these practices are used. They've been developed based on research conducted in thousands of organizations across the world, with people of all backgrounds, and in every type of setting (including many schools and districts). You can listen to podcasts on the basics and the entire knowledge library of Manager Tools for free, on their website.


If you're involved in educational organizations, I encourage you to watch or listen to the entire conversation (on YouTube and pasted below) to get a taste of the material and to find some actionable advice. Here are a few highlights:

  • One on ones: One of the reasons not to hold check-ins with multiple people in the same role at once is that "We don't have relationships with roles. We have relationships with people."

  • Feedback: "If you're scared of giving feedback, you're doing it wrong. The entire purpose of feedback is to influence the future.” It’s not about the past. Nor is it “redirecting.” You should be giving feedback in a ratio of about 9:1 positive to negative. “If you deliver [negative] feedback with a tone of forgiveness, [not judgment], you won’t get any pushback.”

  • Delegation is how you train someone to do your job (principals delegating to teachers who are future principals). If you don't delegate to your teachers and they are promoted to principals and fail, it will be your fault. If everything in the new role is new to them, it will crush them.



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