Tag Archives: Manaakitanga

Workplace Culture

25 Jul

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Keep it on the quiet but I love the people that I work with and the mahi that we do. I believe is truly a special vocation. But even in the strongest of relationships (especially in the strongest relationships—we take those the most for granted) we can unintentionally slow down progress or build resentments if we’re not careful to honor what’s important; not just what’s important to me, but what’s important to we.

Come to think of it, how much better would all of my relationships be if I started to pay closer attention to the “we” importance over the “me” importance? I must be careful about the language I use eg Leading my team. I know when staff get frustrated because they refer to me as a manager rather than leader. Very subtly of course.

Because I suppose the truth of it is, we’re all right about what’s important? So rather than trying to figure out who gets to decide which one of us is more important, why not try to hold both as equal? Because in the end we just want to feel heard; we want to feel respected; we want to feel understood. And the best way to do that for each other is to listen and ask questions… to take the time to find out what each other wants.  To take the time, period.

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Relational Trust is Key

28 Feb

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A complex art if there ever was one, building relationships and creating relational trust is the foundational skill. Without trust, no amount of content knowledge, pedagogical know-how, or formative assessment is likely to move students to want to learn from you.

In a recent TED Radio Hour  called “How Does Trust Happen in Music?” orchestra conductor Charles Hazlewood recalls that during his early days as a professional, his conducting sometimes resembled a “rabid windmill.” The more forceful his body language, the less his orchestra members complied. The more disappointed he became, the more his direction became a blur. Trust erodes when you don’t embody it yourself, he learned.

He later directed a racially diverse group of South African singers, some of whom had previously been bitter enemies. And he founded another ensemble made up of musicians with severe disabilities, many of whom had never had the opportunity to play instruments together. From these disparate groups, he learned that the creation of music relies on trust and builds more trust. Yes, the conductor needs to have a “cast-iron understanding of the outer architecture of the music,” but he or she also has to trust the players to reveal the music’s inner truth. He came to believe that conducting music is like holding a bird. Hold too tightly, you crush it; hold too loosely, it flies away.

This will be part of my own manaakitanga goal this year. How are your own annual goals developing in your appraisal document?

All on the Waka Together

12 Dec

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Over time, I believe as a leader and teacher I can have the capacity to improve the whole-school culture through excellence in teaching. Our dispositions of Ako, Wahine Toa and Manaakitanga have their foundation in the generous impulse to assist students and colleagues. If we are true to the Manawa Mission philosophy here at Sacred Heart staff fundamentally influence others without generating resentment. Staff are consistently working to benefit the school, so he or she is not in competition with others. We are on the waka together.

In the end, only way to stay the course throughout one’s teaching career is by discussion with great teachers who motivate, inspire and remain connected to the classroom. In the company of others, teachers can uncover the best work being done in our schools. This links a little to last week’s post. Dedicated to their own professional development, all staff are capable of improving teaching and learning despite the many other mandates. This is critical to their continued enthusiasm. Through the retreats and professional learning communities, colleagues enhance their own teaching and further the practice of others. Thus we are living the mission together.

Connectedness and Relationships

7 Dec

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My manaakitanga goal this year was to build an environment that shows a shared sense of contentedness and belonging. The key to this for me has been not to moan at work. Everyone vents about the job at times. We are a vent-oriented society. Listen to talk-back for half an hour. Complaining is okay so long as you do it to your significant other, relative, non-work friend, or cat in my case. I have tried to keep it outside the school if can.

There’s a line in the movie Saving Private Ryan where Tom Hanks, the captain of the unit assigned to find and rescue Private Ryan, tells his subordinates, “Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.” That’s excellent advice. We should never as leaders display frustration about our community to staff. It will trickle around; that’s a guarantee. It just fosters an unhealthy victim-hood culture. If there’s something you can do, do it. If not, address it through the healthiest means possible. OK I am off to complain to the cat about our latest change. No just kidding but you get my point.

Strategic Thoughts

6 Feb

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As our new strategic plan and annual goals for the year kick in I have been thinking about some key values surrounding them. I see myself as connected and innovative educator. At any school, being connected requires the learner to develop a secure sense of their own identity to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

I have been thining about ako, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga.

I will use these concepts and their definitions to frame my current thinking for the year.

Ako is being a learner. A life long learner. Being willing to fail.

Whanaungatanga focuses on building relationships with each other, the community and our children. The relationship that develops as a result of manakitanga – the strength of the group – see people as people not just their role, working collaboratively and collectively. Therefore a teacher knows how to use managed online learning tools to find people and knows how to connect with them. A teacher should have a robust PLN. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions. They use social media  to make connections and to build their own personal learning community.

Manaakitanga is about developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions. It is about cultural awareness. Teaching is about being innovative and collaborative. A teacher knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. This again complements the gospel values of the Catholic school.

Kaitiakitanga is the notion of stewardship by ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions. I believe teaching is about leaving legacy with students, teachers and community alike.

 

I’ve been thinking…

4 May

As a member of a Senior Leadership Team in a secondary school I take time over the holidays to reflect, think, write and read. And I mean read. I have an addiction. I admit it. I love to lose myself in fiction and nonfiction alike. I digress this week I have read and reflected about leadership and what is good leadership.

When you’re in the presence of great leaders, you just know it. Their energy is infectious, they inspire with ease, and when they speak about their mission, you want to get involved. Some of my best friends have these though will deny it. As I have written before you are not born with it. You develop it.

What I have done here is summed up my Big 5 if you like.

1. Treat people well. Look no further than Luke 6:31. This is not easy. When you think about it, this requires trust, going that bit further doing anything to insure that their emotional and professional needs are being met. This type of care requires time, a willingness to invest financially in your people, and an ongoing commitment to evolving how that’s executed.

2. Be humble. This hard but this moves us from good to great

3. Walk your talk – all the time. Saying one thing and doing another is a common trap that leaders find themselves in. Most of the time, it’s not intentional.

4. Have a clear mission and moral purpose. Great leaders aren’t driven by financial gain. They do what they do because they have a higher calling. Here I go back to the Kiwi Leadership Model. Awhinatanga. Awhinatanga is about having empathy with groups and individuals in the school community. By being able to appreciate the point of view of others, leaders can help build a strong learning cultures if the store is living the mission and purpose. And Manaakitanga: Leading with moral purpose. Effective leaders have a central belief system that is focused on student learning and well-being. They set clear goals, and pursue them to ensure success for all. They focus on closing the gaps between the highest and lowest-achieving students in order to raise learning standards and outcomes for all. They create schools that welcome and include all members of the community.

5. Keep asking questions and being Ako. Great leaders are non-stop learners and they know they don’t have all the answers. Ako is about building collaborative learning and teaching relationships within the school. It suggests a reciprocal approach to leading learning. When principals demonstrate ako, all members of the school community participate in identifying significant issues and solving problems

Enjoy your week.

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