Home' Independence : Independence Vol 38 No 1 May 2013 Contents VOL 38 NO 1 MAY 2013 INDEPENDENCE 57
with staff, not all of these practices are
used intentionally. When I shared the
initial analysis with each of the four
case study Heads, all were somewhat
surprised at some of the findings, which
suggests that their actions were an
unconscious part of their leadership
skill set. Several commented that they
did not even think about trust when
interacting with their staff.
One Head had made a conscious effort
to overcome shyness and introversion
after a performance review revealed that
in her personal interactions these traits
were interpreted as aloofness and lack
of respect for others.
I don't do the social discussions,
the chats well... if I am not careful
I will be thinking and I forget to say
hello and I do that more often than I
should. It is quite an incongruity in
a way because I actually care deeply
With great courage and humility this
Head responded positively to the
feedback and undertook a course for high
level leaders which, according to her
Chair, was 'life changing' in the way the
Head was then able to communicate with
members of staff and school Council.
If trust and transformational leadership
are inextricably linked, as my study
supports, it follows that a lack of trust
would inhibit transformational change
in a school. It is therefore important
that school leaders intentionally develop
behaviours and practices that engender,
build and sustain trust. Simply hoping
that you will become more trusted as
time goes by is not enough.
As Kouzes and Posner (2003) warn:
'Trust cannot be demanded. Leaders
must earn it before they can expect their
diverse constituents to accept and act
upon their messages.'
Paul Browning's multi-case study was
undertaken in 2011-12. It involved an
examination of practices engendering trust
between the Head and staff members and the
Head and the Chair of the school's governing
body in four independent schools, and forms
part of his doctoral study at the Queensland
University of Technology.
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which many staff members
interviewed valued as being a vital
part of their professional growth.
Building the capacity of staff
members, particularly senior staff,
was seen as beneficial for everyone
in the organisation.
9. CARE FOR STAFF MEMBERS
Even with a large staff, Heads in
each case study extended a genuine
care for individual members of the
staff at their school. Each Head
took the time to demonstrate a
very real responsibility for the
people in their community. Care
was extended in practical ways,
including: offering staff members
an empathetic ear; granting time off
work to support a family member;
follow-up conversations to check
up on a person; and attendance at
weddings and funerals.
While not every member of staff
at each school had experienced
the personal concern of the Head,
they nonetheless had heard of
his/her authentic compassion
for others. For these people the
stories of the Head's care had led
them to offer their trust to a leader
they perceived as compassionate
towards students and staff.
10. KEEP CONFIDENCES
In any kind of relationship,
confidentiality is essential to
maintaining trust. When others
have entrusted a person with
private or sensitive information,
that person has a moral obligation
to honour that trust. The breach
of confidentiality may cost that
relationship (Reina & Reina
2006). Staff members had never
experienced a betrayal of their
confidences and had faith that they
could have 'difficult discussions'
with their Head.
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