Strengthening the Relational Trust between a Professional Leader and the Team
Relational trust is defined by Bryk and Schneider as the “connective tissue that binds individuals together to advance the education and welfare of students” (2003, p.44). It is the Professional Leader’s role to consciously look for ways to cultivate closeness within the team, as it is this trusting relationship with each other that provides the impetus for teachers to strive for optimal performance individually and collectively (Bloom, 2003). The aim of this research was to discover what leadership conceptual understandings and practices would help strengthen the relational trust between a Professional Leader and the team. This research took form of a case study within an interpretive paradigm. Data were collected from four different sources – two online surveys, professional conversations, four observations and anecdotes from a personal journal. Findings revealed five key attributes that were important for a Professional Leader to have in order to strengthen their relational trust with the team. These are: communication, active listening, availability/approachability, accountability and consistency. Several recommendations for three stakeholders arise from this study – for centre owners/managers, for the Ministry of Education and the Education Council, and finally, for researchers.