Build Trust by Keeping Circles Small

Whether internal communications address Board concerns, faculty and staff issues, or students, the first rule-of-thumb in building trusted leadership is to keep sensitive communications limited to the smallest circle possible.

If the Board is operating under a Policy Governance model, then all communication to faculty and staff is subject to policy guidelines; typically directing all communication through the Head of School.[1]

Faculty and staff issues should always be addressed only with those involved in the concern. Moreover, student issues should be limited to communication between the individual student, parents, and teacher unless the situation requires specialized assistance such as the school counselor, chaplain, psychologist, or the teacher’s direct supervisor.

If school leaders are not diligent in containing these types of conversations to the smallest circles possible, the result is frequently rumors and misinformation spreading throughout the broader community, resulting in diminished levels of trust.

So, today’s tip on trusted school leadership?  Keep the circles small!

©2016 Toby A. Travis, Ed.D.


[1] See “The Policy Governance Model,”, accessed 3 July 2016,

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