7 tips for making your principal your ally

These suggestions—directed at librarians—can be useful for all school employees

3. Be seen outside the library.
If your principal sees you on committees, attending school events, and even in the teacher’s lounge, not only can you chat informally about library matters, but you send a powerful non-verbal message as well: I am a full member of the school staff.

4. Disagree with your principal—when necessary.
You may think that some of your principal’s ideas are not in the best interests of your students or staff. If that’s the case, you have an ethical duty to give your reasons to your principal. But this is important: Do so in private. Always voice your support in public; always voice your differences in private.

5. Do not whine.
What is whining and how does it differ from constructive communication efforts? Robert Moran, in his book Never Confuse a Memo with Reality, says it best: “Never go to your boss with a problem without a solution. You are paid to think, not to whine.” I know it feels good to just let it all out sometimes about things that really can’t be changed. But listening to that sort of venting is what your spouse, your mom, or your cat is there for.

6. Do NOT advocate for yourself or your library.
Advocate for your library users. Advocating for libraries sounds, and usually is, self-serving. When you propose a plan, ask for funds, describe what’s happening in the library, or suggest a solution to a problem, make sure the underlying reason is clear: “It’s a change that will be good for our kids and staff.”

7. Be a leader as well as a follower.
Our communication efforts can and should not just inform, but persuade others, guide the directions of our organization, and improve our effectiveness. If we don’t create the positive changes in our schools that improve kids lives, just who the heck will? Clear articulation of our values and beliefs helps create strong relationships.

[Editor’s Note: This article was first published on the Blue Skunk Blog.]

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