When challenges arise, the most inspirational school leaders use seven powerful questions to promote professional dialogue, encourage staff ownership and ensure clear communication. David Weston explains

Communication is the life-blood of an effective school. Dialogue needs to be honest: seeking objectivity, reducing bias and never covering up truths or views to make things “comfortable”. However, a habit of bad conversation stifles problem-solving, dampens enthusiasm and encourages the building of defensive routines.

As a leader there is always an enormous temptation to jump in and start giving advice without having really listened to the issue, without having sought several perspectives, and without leaving room for others to grow their own solutions.

The trouble is, however good your ideas are, they come with a big shiny sign that says “the boss likes this, I should prioritise her/his thinking above my own”. What we want is a culture where great ideas and great thinking can take root, driven by everyone. Here are seven questions which I think can help.

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