Well done! You have been working hard to implement many of the required steps to improve staff wellbeing and school culture. You have already begun the journey of improving wellbeing at your school by reviewing multiple sources of data and formulating a Wellbeing Action Plan for your school setting. Read on to learn about how to strengthen and manage the relationships between staff at your school.

The relationships you have in the workplace are a significant part of your life

Social support in the workplace, as well as perceived support from the school leadership and greater staff, appears to have a protective effect against mental health difficulties and a decline in health and wellbeing. This involves building strong relationships amongst staff but also addressing any potential conflicts as they arise.

Strong relationships can be addressed in a number of ways from fostering the development of relationships right through to creating opportunities to maintain and strengthen them. The best way to do this is to regularly bring teams and groups of staff together to create shared experiences and common reference points and stories. (Haas and Mortensen, 2016).

In-school and out-of-school time events cater to the needs of everyone. Not all staff have the availability to attend events outside of school hours so it is suggested to create the opportunity for staff to connect inside of core business hours, where possible. This could mean in lieu of a staff meeting one afternoon or during week 0 at the beginning of the year.

Step 1: Plan in-school and out-of-school relationship-building events

Ways to do this include:

  • Find ways to schedule shared experiences inside work hours. This could include planning a team/relationship-building activity during a team or staff meeting. It is important to invest in staff wellbeing as much as it is to focus on curriculum support.
  • Schedule regular out-of-school activities. This may include dinners, group sporting events, interesting new hobbies, or exploring the interests expressed by staff (e.g. Tony loves going to the driving range weekly, so let’s explore this).
  • Review some of the team building ideas provided below.
Adrienne Hornby coaching an executive school teacher

Step 2: Check-in often

It is vital to check-in regularly with employees, address grievances, and find ways to offer and receive feedback. Regular meetings require time and effort, but personal check-ins are very useful and can help develop positive relationships with staff and keep communication lines open. Supporting staff with discussions around ways to manage the 8 dimensions of their wellbeing is a way to support them holistically. 

Adrienne Hornby on couch with a school wellbeing consulting client

Step 3: Offer perspective

Some staff require support to have a true awareness of others and a higher level of emotional awareness. This is not something to get frustrated with, rather a skill to be developed and nurtured. This is where we as leaders can role model what it means to show empathy and understanding and offer perspective about an apposing point of view to staff who are feeling frustrated.

Step 4: Manage conflicts as they arise

It is important for leaders and staff to respond to conflict as soon as it arises. Encourage employees to communicate openly with each other, particularly to resolve conflict as necessary. The best thing you can do is seek the support and guidance of a school leader. Conflict resolution may require some coaching/training on negotiating solutions or conflict resolution. Consider restorative practices or engage with local training organisations.


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In this appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss your school's concerns, goals and your next strategic steps towards a more positive school culture.

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