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Communication skills for the D.O.S.

March 27, 2008

Hello again,
As I suggested in my last entry, the D.O.S. occupies a somewhat uncomfortable position, being sandwiched between the teachers and the senior management. I think this has implications for the communications skills...

...needed for the job.

It is important to understand that effective communication is a two-way process. Don’t make the mistake of believing that because you have said something or issued written instructions your audience will have understood it, agreed with it and will act on it. To give you an example, I once wrote a comprehensive manual for summer teachers and presented this to them during their induction day. But on a daily basis I had questions from the teachers concerning the matters that were explained in the manual. My mistake was to have simply given out the manual and assume that it would be read and digested.

So, remember that each act of communication has to be planned and implemented. What is the most effective means of delivery? How will you check that the message has been understood and what feedback do you need to ensure instructions are carried out?

My next point is that because the post requires sensitive handling of colleagues and bosses, not to mention students, you will have to be far more considered in the way you communicate with others. Your teachers may be angry over a management decision but you may have to consider how to interpret their mood when you report to the bosses. If you convey their anger you might make the situation worse. What might be more effective is to present an analysis of why this is an inappropriate decision.

Another of your audiences might be external to the school: agents, the press, patrons, parents and sponsors. Again you will need to communicate tactfully and discreetly with these groups as you have a responsibility for the school’s PR.

A D.O.S. also needs to be a good listener. Conduct any delicate interviews in private. Ask appropriate questions to get the key facts. Keep a record of the conversation and agree with the person the steps that you each need to take to deal with the issue.

You need to run efficient meetings. Meetings tend to be viewed as a necessary evil and people often resent the way they encroach on their precious time. A crisp and no-nonsense style will be better appreciated than a lot of waffle and long-windedness. So, have an agenda, stick to it and give people a limited time in which to speak.

Pitfalls to avoid in communication style are being patronizing, being too familiar, being too formal and being inconsistent.

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Comments

  1. R.Bhupathy Says:

    D.O.S need s to communicate among 1.colleagues 2. Your boss3. other managemet staff.
    With your collegaues dont just throw your ideas anddecisions but presnt the task/problem in a very lucid clear language and ask for posiible solutions if you have enough time. if short of time give your posiible sloution and ask for their comments and possible problems in implemen-ting the solutions.Make sure tey have no objections to it. Then record the minutes and send around the copies to your colleagues. Once they accept the solutionthere will not any problem

  1. Emma Says:

    What is a D.O.S?!

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