As a Principal, Head of School, Marketing Manager or in any leadership position do you often find yourself saying to an employee or even a parent, “I’m too busy for that right now” or “I’m just getting to that, but you know, lately I have been so busy”.
In most cases this may be a perfectly true statement, a leader or managers job will always be busy and realistically you will not be able to deal with all requests and duties that are required with the timespan expected by the other party.
The problem with these sort of statements, irrespective of how true they might be, is that quite often they may communicate something else entirely to the recipient of the statement. What they could be interpreted to be is that they may convey the message that you do not really care about their issue and thus it is not of high priority to you. In addition, the hearer may just be as busy as you are in their role in the school and so be offended by your claim of being too busy to attend to their problem when they feel that they in the same predicament. Repeated often this can erode the respect for a school leader with a resultant erosion in the overall team or staff morale.
The statement can also give the impression that the leader is not coping. In the field of battle, a good officer does not let on how fearful he or she may be as this can reinforce similar emotions that those under his/her command are confronted with.
In any sort of significant leadership position, there is a need at times to put up a good front for the sake of those you are leading.
Perhaps a simple; “thanks for reminding me I’ll get to it as soon as I can”, will go a long way to diffusing the potential for a problem to develop.