How to Build Valuable Relationships with Your Colleagues

Rae HughartBlog, Lead Better

In this Post :

  • Valuable relationships with colleagues is a must – but how do we use our time effectively?
  • 5 Suggestions for quick ways to build relationships – set a timer, pop into a classroom, & attend a school event all make the list of options.
  • We never feel like we have time, but relationships are worth it!

Just as it is important to build relationships with each and every student, it is equally important to build relationships with our colleagues.

Let’s begin with the basics, how do you build relationships with students?

If you ask my friend Chad (@chadostrowski), he makes it sound easy: “Have a hundred conversations about nothing.” the  truth is, it really is that easy. You talk to them, listen to them, hear them, and then continue this practice over and over again.

The catch? Finding the time.

Well… no one said it would be easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it! Rather, those that take the time to problem solve through this dilemma – those are the ones who make a great impact. The change-makers.  Also known as All Star Educators.

So what does this take with a colleague?Have a hundred conversations about nothing.

As you begin your school year and begin the long trek until winter break, take time to build in moments of conversation. Ask about a colleague’s day, their family, their passions, their success stories, etc. Don’t just be present for your students, be present for your peers.

Here are 5 challenges to help you build relationships with your colleagues :

(1) Stay 5 min longer at the end of the day. Pack up your things and prepare to walk out of the building. However, take a quick detour to pop into another teachers classroom.

Before saying goodbye, take a moment to have a conversation – a conversation about anything! If needed, consider setting an alarm for yourself to go off after 5 min. This could be an appropriate time to excuse yourself and wish them a good afternoon.

Before saying Goodbye, take a moment to have a conversation - a conversation about anything! If needed, consider setting an alarm for yourself to go off after 5 min. This could be an appropriate time to excuse yourself and wish them a… Click To Tweet

(2) Pop down to the Teachers’ Lounge. While some teacher lounges can be known as toxic venues, make your time their purposeful. Pop down during lunch to say hello. Want to know a silly way to insert yourself into a conversation? Start with a compliment. Compliment their clothing, lesson design, smile – you name it, find something to celebrate!

Worried about the conversation going sideways? Hey… teachers are busy! You can always excuse yourself if needed.

(3) Attend a school event. No one likes to go to an event alone. Next time your school is hosting a community event, invite a colleague to go with you. Want to take it up a notch? Suggest a quick dinner before hand. I like tacos!

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(4) In a leadership role? Consider having staff members participate in an ice breaker. Your goal: make them laugh! This is a great way to begin building relationships. Everyone enjoys a good laugh.

(5) Brainstorm a problem together. Teachers are naturally inclined to have a desire to be helpful to others – that’s what makes them so great! So, the next time you find yourself in a pickle, bring it to a new friend to brainstorm. On the flip side, if you have read an interesting blog or listened to a cool podcast, consider asking their thoughts on it. You may turn them on to their next favorite source of PD!

Yes, time always seems to get in the way of building relationships. Nevertheless, we are better than that! Time can not stop us! Take on one of the challenges above and begin building strong relationships with your colleagues!

About Rae Hughart

Rae Hughart is a Middle-Level Math and Writing Educator in Illinois and the Director of Training and Development for the Teach Better Team. In 2017, Rae was honored with the Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award – inducting her into the University Hall of Fame. In 2018, Rae was honored again by the Henry Ford Innovator Award for her work within educators communities to build unity between local businesses and schools.