I promised myself I'd create a list of realizations/ideas/strategies for penolong kanan (senior assistants) once I had enough experience as one. Well, since I've been transferred, I won't have any more time to gather experience. Therefore below is the List compiled by one with only 28 months' experience.
a) Remember always that you are dealing with people. They are not unfeeling documents that can be filed away. Take time to win their trust. Take the effort to keep their trust. Take pains to find out what makes them tick. Without the staff backing you up, you are like a ship standing dead in the water.
b) Begin the day with a smile. And try to remember that no staff ever begins their day by thinking,"What rule shall I break today?" So whenever I face a problem with staff, I will always ask myself why this person is doing this and what could be influencing his or her actions. I dare to say that in my 28 months, I have yet to meet a person who deliberately sets out to break the rules. There will always be a reason behind their actions, even if it's something as simple as procrastination or lack of respect. With proper diagnosis, there will be accurate medication. Even if that medication has to be a gentle reminder in the form of a memo.
c) Rules are to be kept. There should never be one set of rules for the staff and another set for yourself. The staff are intelligent observant thinking beings. Once they see that you do not follow the very rules you safeguard, you will begin to lose their respect. I had a problem with this one when I faced the dilemma of sticking to rules and winning the support of an important person. In the end, the situation became untenable and I chose to stick to the rules. I've never regretted the choice as gradually that important person (with a double set of rules) lost support among the teachers.
d) Do not have favourites on the staff. No matter how you may argue that you will be neutral and you won't play favourites, the most important thing is you must be SEEN to be neutral. This may mean that you have to sit with different groups every time you go to the canteen. Or you don't eat at the canteen at all. However eating with staff is good for food always helps create bonds among people :)
e) Always write down what you plan to say during a speech or a meeting. There will be less possibility of you saying something upsetting. This is important for once you have hurt people's feelings, it is very very difficult to heal wounds. Not impossible but it will take precious time. I try to prepare powerpoint slides of whatever I intend to deliver during a meeting or briefing as I can upload it into the school website or online group for records or future viewing. This will also help inform those who are unable to attend the meeting or briefing.
f) Be transparent in all you do. Or in most things you do. Staff will be happier when they know what you are doing, how you are doing it and what part they play in it.
g) When you allocate duties, make sure the staff have a list of steps to be taken. Talking about it won't be good enough for after the third sentence, everyone would have forgotten what the first sentence was. Besides, when a problem arises, it is very easy to just open the 'senarai tugas' and check whose duty it was supposed to be.
h) Tomorrow will always be a better day. So take heart.