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OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: Interpersonal skills vital

Reverend Errington Massiah

OUTSIDE THE PULPIT: Interpersonal skills vital

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Come September 1, the beginning of the new academic year for 2014 to 2015, there will be seven new principals in our secondary schools, namely St George Secondary, The St Michael School, St Leonard’s Boys’, The Lester Vaughan, Grantley Adams Memorial, Graydon Sealy Secondary and Harrison College.
I believe the interviews for some of these schools have not been completed as yet, but I would like to offer a little advice to the interviewing panel, which is made up of the Chief Education Officer, the chairpersons of the respective schools, a representative from Personnel Administration Division, a representative from the University of the West Indies and other personnel that I am not too sure of.
My main concern is that too much emphasis is placed on those people who hold a BA, MA, or PhD, which, yes, is important but I feel that more emphasis should be placed on the human relationship skills. These skills are very important because there are people who may possess all of the qualifications but cannot get along with people. A principal cannot run a school by himself or herself with a roll of a 1 000 students, plus there is the ancillary staff which could be over 30. Teamwork is the key.
Gone are the days when principals can talk down to the staff and there are some in the system. It will not work because the staff will find a way to deal with you (the principal) because some of them have very poor management skills and human relationship skills.  
These days workers can shut down any organisation through their union and something called “sick leave”. Bad management can and will force the sick leave method and if the situation demands it, there is something called “situation ethics” and it could be used.
To the interviewers, please pay attention to the human relationship skills for persons can do a very beautiful interview and yet cannot get along with people.