Builds Trusting Relationships

The No-Nonsense Nurturer® Leader:

    1. Models humility
    2. Sets high expectations
    3. Creates a culture of coaching
    4. Builds collective efficacy
    5. Recognizes and develops growth mindsets, always striving to be asset based
    6. Solicits voice and perspective
    7. Innovates
    8. Generates culture (and systems) of accountability
    9. Builds trusting relationships
    10. Commits to being an anti-racist

In this series, CT3 associates share personal stories or examples about how you can commit to each of these behaviors. 

Some of the best and yet most critical feedback I received as a school leader occurred when a teacher told me my struggles with the staff were all my own doing. Teachers believed I was the right person for the job, but they felt like they never knew what to expect. With each of my decisions, the tide shifted in a different direction. One day after a faculty meeting, one of my English teachers told me that if I wanted my team to follow me in the same way they followed my predecessor, I needed to be more like sushi. He went on to share that regardless of where you go to get a California roll, the ingredients are always the same, and you always know what you are going to get. Without this level of consistency, my stakeholders could never truly decide if I was suitable for their palates. 

For me, this was a simple yet profound truth. If I wanted to truly build trusting relationships, I needed to be consistent. I needed to show my team through my daily actions and decisions that I could be consistent. I needed to get clear on what mattered most. 

I needed to learn how to lead in ways that my team could anticipate and respect.  

Respect is at the center of any healthy relationship. Unfortunately, most of the schools I visit operate with a series of unspoken quid pro quo rules for respect. This approach is ineffective, and it ignores the systemic inequities that often make BIPOC reluctant to build relationships. Whether you are new to the community or a tenured community leader, if you are serving BIPOC, you must seek respect, not demand it. 

Operating with an antiracist lens means we respect the traditions, cultures, and ways of being that look different from our own. We make space to acknowledge and affirm the things our community values. We empathize with the disenfranchised, and we take an active role in building equitable replacements to combat systemic oppression. It is through this type of deep investment that stakeholders, particularly BIPOC, will begin to feel seen, valued, cared for, and loved, all of which are prerequisites to earning respect and building relationships.

Below are some tips for school leaders to build trusting relationships that are grounded in respect and accountability. 


  1. Consistently show care for your people. Move beyond teacher appreciation weeks and shout outs. Show a deep investment in who your stakeholders are outside the school community. Get to know their families, support them in a local sports league, engage in professional conversations regarding their well-being and self-care. 
  2. Consistently interrogate your expectations of each other. Job descriptions don’t build relationships, people and their actions do. It’s important for leaders and their stakeholders to get clear on expectations early and often. While some expectations are explicit, others will be implied. Honor and celebrate when expectations are met or exceeded. 
  3. Consistently address the injustices in your community. Host town halls, engage in the difficult conversations, and listen to how your community needs you to show up for them. If you are new to the community, be sure to take the time to listen and learn from trusted members. But most importantly, be sure that all the listening and learning turns to action. 
  4. Consistently make decisions that keep people first. You won’t be able to please everyone, but we should all strive to be known as leaders that value our people. With each decision, be sure to ask yourself, who will and will not feel cared for with this decision? How will this decision impact the BIPOC I serve?

By Joy Treadwell Ph.D., Chief Program Officer

Check out CT3 Education programs such as No-Nonsense Nurturer, Real Time Teacher Coaching, and Real Time Leadership Coaching to find out more about Professional Development for Teachers and Leaders, classroom management strategies, and building relationships with students and their families, and properly addressing important issues in the classroom and school.
Category: Education, Leadership, Teaching