3 Tips for Practicing Open Communication with Your Administrators

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
As a school counselor, we know how valuable a strong relationship with an administrator can be. This relationship can benefit a student, a caseload, or even an entire school. As you can see from my 3 tips for practicing open communication with your administrators, the keyword here is "TOGETHER." 



1. Tackle big issues TOGETHER. 
Use your strengths and work together to best serve the student or family. If this requires a meeting of the minds before a bigger group meeting, do so to touch base to lay out your plan. If one of you needs to remind the other to stay on track in the meeting, figure out how to do that tactfully ahead of time. If one of you needs to be there to comfort the student while the other lays on the tough love, be sure you're both a part of the meeting to do so. If you just need each others' backs going into a challenging parent conference, have a game plan and an action strategy. 

2. Follow up individually, but come back TOGETHER. 
Leave a meeting with a plan of action and a checklist of items that each of you need to get done. If one of you needs to follow up with a parent and the other needs to make a referral to a someone (like a social worker, school psychologist, mental health worker, or drop out prevention specialist), then make sure those things happen! Be sure to circle back around to keep each other in the loop and share any important updates. When you're dividing and conquering big responsibilities like this, more can get done when you having a school counselor/administrator team working together. You are helping students succeed from all angles!

3. Figure out the way you communicate best in order to work best TOGETHER.
One administrator (that I worked very closely with) and I would always have trouble catching each other because we were rarely at our desks. I would often call her and leave a voicemail starting with, "I'm just leaving you a message, so I don't forget to ask you about ___/follow up with you about ___/talk to you about ___." I don't know how many times I have left that message in my career! I also had another administrator who I knew to always send anything important via email because I knew it was a good way to keep a record of everything we needed to do together. I also worked with another admin who didn't mind text messages during the day... just to figure out where each other were in order to meet up and touch base. (I didn't have a walkie talkie.) There is not just ONE way to communicate best with an administrator. If you have different people you're working with, you may need to utilize different communication styles to vibe well with everyone!

What can you do to move forward on the same page as your administrator(s)?

As you continue to work through figure out how your counselors and administrators best communicate, it would also be worth considering how you plan for the semester or the year. Use this free, editable "Responsibilities Matrix" with Google Sheets to lay out your year and your responsibilities!

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