THE BLOG
10/29/2010 09:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Reluctant Staff

A few days ago I received an email requesting a blog about moving a reluctant staff forward.

From this point forward, the PrincipalsPage.com Blog is all requests; all the time. I'm morphing into Ryan Seacrest (or Casey Kasem for you old-timers).

I like the idea of not having to come up with ideas (at least good ones... I've always got some mediocre ones in my back pocket, just in case).

So here we go.

Changing the attitude of a reluctant group of teachers (who may have tenure... just a guess) is simple.

It may be the easiest part of being an administrator.

And by easy, I mean a monumental nearly impossible task that would take 16 men, seven women, four brain surgeons, duct tape, and a miracle to accomplish (less women than men because they are smarter... and duct tape always comes in handy).

This is my way of saying you've got no shot.

None.

Zip.

It's not going to happen.

If the staff doesn't want to change, they win.

Thanks for playing. Game over.

Any administrators in this situation should just punt (football reference for coaches in the audience).

Give up.

Get on with your life (as sad and tragic as it may be).

Possibly consider joining the circus. Or taking up residence in a convent.

You can't change the attitude of an entire staff.

They were there when you arrived, and they believe they will be there when you leave.

Pick a battle you can win.

Like the Middle East. Or world hunger. Or getting Guns N' Roses back together (this would make me and by brethren from the 80's very happy).

Just stay away from changing staff attitudes. At least as a group.

Now individually, that's another story.

If you feel like addressing this issue one by one, you have a chance.

It's tricky, but possible.

All it takes is time and patience (and in this economy, thankfully both are free).

If you have a staff of 50, only half can be miserable and resistant to change (it's in the Constitution... if you don't believe me ask Ben Franklin).

This means you have to focus on the other half. You will recognize them because they are usually the quiet half.

Encourage them. Focus on them. Give them technology, praise, and recognition (many careers have been made by compliments).

Make them the shining stars.

Over time this 50 percent will become 60 percent, then 70 percent. And if you're great, maybe 100 percent.

While an individual administrator doesn't have the power to change an entire staff's attitude, the other teachers do.

So get out there and promote your best and brightest.

Just remember if it was an easy job, everyone would become a school administrator (and we don't want that).