Working in teams and team development

270-degree leadership evaluation

This week I participated in a workshop for school leaders in my county. The topic was working in teams and team development. Before the lecture, the we worked with the results of a 270-degree leadership evaluation, based on a survey that teachers had answered at the beginning of the school year. I think it might have been a pretty stressful period for the teachers when they answered this, nevertheless, it is a useful feedback for us.  My priorities as a school leader are amongst others budling relationships with the teachers, the students, and the staff. I recently read this article in the Forbes; The Eight Characteristics of Effective School Leaders. Here are some characteristics I would like to think are every school leader’s priorities. I know point 8 was a crucial part of the work we did that day, and I like to be reminded of why this is so important and that we should always work on getting better. It is this constant push forward that makes our job so interesting and rewarding.

    1. They have consistent, high expectations and are very ambitious for the success of their pupils.
    2. They constantly demonstrate that disadvantage need not be a barrier to achievement.
    3. They focus relentlessly on improving teaching and learning with very effective professional development of all staff.
    4. They are expert at assessment and the tracking of pupil progress with appropriate support and intervention based upon a detailed knowledge of individual pupils.
    5. They are highly inclusive, having complete regard for the progress and personal development of every pupil.
    6. They develop individual students through promoting rich opportunities for learning both within and out of the classroom.
    7. They cultivate a range of partnerships particularly with parents, business and the community to support pupil learning and progress.
    8. They are robust and rigorous in terms of self-evaluation and data analysis with clear strategies for improvement.

Teams that work

The rest of the workshop was dedicated teams and what makes them work. The pattern of communication is an important predictor of a team’s success. Quote from the lecture.  Here is what Google found ;  after studying this for many years. The 1 thing that mattered most is If you trust someone is looking after your best interests, you will do almost anything that person asks. Other points from the article were:

1. Listen carefully. 2. Show empathy. 3. Ask questions. 4. Encourage others to ask questions. 5. Empower your team. 6. Be a coach, not a problem solver. 7. Commend sincerely and specifically. 8. Make critical feedback constructive. 9. Show concern for the “person,” not the “employee.”

I especially like point 5. Empower your team; explained this way:

We all need a degree of freedom to work happily. If you’re a team lead, make sure your people know they’re free to explore new ideas, to experiment, and to take risks. If you’re worried about them going too far, set appropriate boundaries. (Just be careful not to overdo it, lest you defeat the purpose). This will allow you to manage effectively, without micromanaging.

This week was the grand opening of our School counseling services and I am so happy to be able to work with such a great team. With few resources, they pulled it off and created a fantastic vibrant day for students and teachers who took the time to visit. And as in all great teams, this was not the work of any individual, but a collective drive towards a greater goal. I could never ever have pulled this off on my own. And that is why we work in teams, that is what teams are for.


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