To lead schools successfully, the relationship between the various leaders in the school and the teams that they lead is critical to establishing a healthy school culture and to achieve continuous improvement.

There are times, perhaps, where leaders focus too much on the team members driving improvement as opposed to whether the team members are actually healthy themselves. A healthy school culture comes from a mixture of both healthy people alongside a quest for improvement.

At times, meetings can be awkward and time-pressured events. When meetings go well, we can get lots done, when they don’t tensions and arguments often result. Norms and procedures are essential to running good meetings, along with feedback on how the meeting and the team are going.

I, for one, however, have at times overlooked the importance of relationship building within the team, through the use of a check-in procedure to see how everyone is faring before we start the business of ‘work’. While I may have one-to-one meetings with colleagues and direct reports each week, where a lot may get shared, the opportunity to highlight important things with the team maybe missed.

There are a number of mindful check-in protocols that teams can use at the beginning of a meeting. This TLNT post reminds us that mindful check-ins are worth it to remind us all that we are human and relationships matter. I have always said we need to seek to understand others, but too often do this after the fact, or event.

A more proactive approach is of considerable benefit to allow teams to begin to understand each other, celebrate the successes we achieve each week and to share our vulnerabilities or challenges when things are not going so well.

10-15 minutes at the beginning of a meeting is a worthwhile investment if we learn to understand each other a bit more for the benefit of the team and what we are trying to achieve.