Self-Analysis of Communication and Listening Skills for the School Leader

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Results of the Communication Style survey developed by Gower training are as follows for each category: a score of 9 for the category entitled Battler; a score of 16 for Helper; and, a score of 12 for Thinker. According to survey interpretations, my greatest strengths are characteristics that include the qualities of trust, optimism, loyalty, caring, and helpfulness, devotion accepting, polite and adaptable. Liabilities of this communication style are the risk that others may perceive my style as impractical, wishful, passive, self-denying, and submissive. Additionally, the Helper must be cautious about expecting others to be as concerned about how others feel as the Helper does; being quick to blame himself for anything that goes wrong; and, struggling to maintain harmony at the expense of facing the facts.

The Listener Survey developed by Karen Zupko and associates indicate that my listening skills are well developed. The total score based on the self-assessment is 74.

As I reflect on my own beliefs about communication and listening, I am in agreement the interpretations of both surveys with regard to my own values about community relations. I believe firmly in the ideals of trust, adaptability and acceptance. My communication style is one in which I seek and respect the input of others in an effort to build consensus and cooperation when implementing a particular practice or strategy, or when addressing a problem or determining a solution. I have often said that humans are simply designed to listen more than we speak because as a species we have two ears and one mouth. While I consider myself to be an effective communicator, I am at the very least my own worst critic with regard to my belief that it is an area in which I can and should constantly improve. Communicating effectively is extremely difficult task that seems to become more complicated when one considers the volume and variation of constituents who make up an organization with the complexities of a large, comprehensive school community.

Personal Reflection on Communication

As a school leader, I believe that communication is the most critical component of any relationship and also equally one of the most difficult tasks facing school leaders. In the text, Lunenburg and Ornstein (2004) characterize communication as the process involving the exchange of information between the sender and a receiver.1Lunenburg, F., & Orstein, A. (2004). Educational administration: Concepts and practices (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth as cited in Coleman, J. Craig (2007). “Know Thyself” The Importance of Self- Analysis for the School/Community Leader. Version 1.1, p. 3. While I have rarely considered communications in the terms describe by the authors, I have intentionally pondered the challenges and processes through which we communicate. In the school setting, I am most comfortable communicating individually with students, parents, teachers, assistant principals and the host of various individuals and groups who comprise the school community. I believe that my personality, interpersonal skills, educational training, and personal life experiences have enabled me to effectively communicate with people in meaningful ways. In one-on-one communication situations the exchange of information between the sender and receiver is immediate, personal, and both parties have the advantage of interpreting non-verbal cues and clarifying verbal exchanges. One-on-one communication also provides the unique opportunity to build a meaningful relationship between the sender and receiver because of its personal nature. It is fair to say that this form of communication enables both the sender and receiver to address and clarify how messages should be interpreted and to use techniques to enhance the meaningfulness message.

However, the demands, duties and responsibilities of the principalship requires school leaders to be able to effectively communicate with large groups of constituents...
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