Vicky Saumell: What makes an effective manager

In my experience of both managing and being managed in multiple and varied situations, I have come to collect some useful tips, which I would love to share with you.

You may have the most wonderful group of teachers in your institution, but the difference between success and failure is a mindful guidance from the manager or coordinator to give your team a sense of common direction. So here it goes:

Have a plan!

Respect your teachers’ individuality

Promote and value teamwork

Take advantage of your teachers’ talents. Help them discover what they are and let them share what they do best so that the whole team can grow.

Create opportunities for professional growth. Encourage your teachers to explore new paths, give talks, engage with teacher’s associations, etc.

Listen to your teachers! Listen to their concerns and help them to overcome them. Guide them in their own path to become better teachers. Celebrate their successes.

Try to make decisions by reaching consensus. If this is not possible, clearly explain to your teachers the reasons behind your informed decisions.

Be open to new ideas coming from your teachers.

Within your guidance, allow teachers some choice in what to do or how to do it.

In meetings, have clear objectives. Prepare an agenda and share it before the meeting. Set a starting and finishing time for the meeting and keep to it! Use time wisely, ask teachers to prepare for the meeting and do not use up time for things that can be debated in an email exchange or a Facebook discussion.

Make sure you reward teachers. If meetings are not paid, bring something to eat, make coffee or give teachers a treat at the end. Thanks them for their time and cooperation. Sincere acknowledgement works wonders! Sometimes, it does not take more than a personal note.

In a few words, an effective manager is knowledgeable, open-minded and human. They guide, facilitate, inspire, rather than tell you what to do. I wish I had had such a manager at times…

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