Forming Successful Leadership Teams In Schools
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A team is a group of individuals will a determined intention of attaining a certain goal or a set of objectives through collective resources, abilities and take responsibilities for the outcomes achieved. Teams have been long in existence and are formed fro challenges particularly to achieve challenging objectives. Leadership in schools requires a lot responsibility from the management and for this reason, a leadership team is very essential. This allows distribution of authority and brings about efficiency because of then diverse contribution of leadership traits from different personalities. The ideas contributed are also increased and so is the decision making process since wider consultation is enhanced.
Forming a leadership team in school will assist in sharing the leadership effectively and across the entire school fraternity. Proper sharing of the leadership responsibility throughout the school is bound to positively change the way students will learn (Belbin 2005). The formation of a leadership team is based on three principles;
- the leadership team will maintain success (performance) of the school
- there is dire need for shared leadership at all levels of the hierarchy
- the establishment of a pool of talent for future leadership
The shard leadership has the implication of the top managers, the leadership team and the intermediate heads. Schools that have shared leadership, the top mangers continue being the key players. They however establish the circumstances for others to have an opportunity to lead and to develop the skills of leadership (Fullan 2007). The top managers also make sue that the middle heads play their role in the improvement of the quality of education in terms of learning and teaching.
There are however some challenges that come with distribution of leadership responsibilities across the school. Some of them include the long-established beliefs in the single handed leadership and the conception that leaders take care of the roles of the organization (Fullan 2007). Despite the strong belief in the value of the shared responsibility in leadership, there is still not a great deal of verification that it works and how it works in real practice or whether more or less sharing really maters.
Formation of the Leadership Team
There is defiantly an existing leadership that has to be integrated into the new team of leaders. These leaders are the ones who really understand the vision of the school since they have already been making decisions about the school policies. It’s quite natural for them to make assumptions that they will be leaders of the school in future. The new management team has to comply with some of their terms (Belbin 2005). Insecurities may set in because some leaders may feel that they are loosing power while some new members or junior staff to be included in the leadership may be intimidated by powerful personalities the team.
Team selection is the first step towards the development of a leadership team. This is very challenging but if done effectively the outcomes could be very profitable (Spillane 2005). There are a lot of people who have the zeal to serve for the organization or make their contribution to the society but never get the opportunity because of dominant lone leadership. Potential leaders are selected according to personal traits; aptitude tests, and other leadership characteristics observed by the administrator is very critical (Fullan 2007).
The manager or the administrator in charge can call a group of people whose objective is to contribute to the management of the school in making very significant decisions. The participants will be explained to clearly that they are being invited to take part in very significant leadership decisions up until a definite management team will be established (Spillane 2005).
The evaluation of the progress of the selected individuals is the second step. The top administrator may choose a taskforce or personally evaluate those capable of staying in the management team. Formation of teams usually takes a variety of forms because in some cases, the school executives may just come up with a list of leaders and endorse them to work (Belbin 2005). But a winning team takes time and procedure to establish. In this case, the leaders will then dissolve the first group that was selected and take time to consult with other middle leaders in formulation of a new leadership team to drive the school to the next level.
The third step is the invitation of members to the leadership team. Some newcomers will be selected from the junior workforce and some leaders will to pave way and step aside to create room for others. This step is very challenging but for the survival of the school its necessary that changes be effected despite the pain to few individuals and as a result benevolent dictatorship will have to be applied (Spillane 2005).
Fourth step is formation of short-term leadership team; the team selected above will be given duties on a short-term period to check how the team will fair on. The objectives could be set for like one academic year. The teams will share the responsibility of the administration to wider range of people so that more duties will be delegated from the executive leader to the rest of the leaders (Spillane 2005). The team will be in charge of making critical decisions collectively so that each of them gets a chance to contribute and that every role and jurisdiction of all the leaders are clearly defined.
Formal leadership team is the final step of coming up with a successful leadership team for a school setting. By this time, a lot of realignments will have been made and the leaders will defiantly have a better idea of what should be done, who can work with whom, and which person is best qualified or rather suited for a formal leadership duty with longer dedication. Many issues would also have been resolved and several benefits achieved as well. The leaders can confidently now create long-term leadership team and allocate responsibilities accordingly (Joyner et al 2004).
Fruitful Professional Relations
After the team has been developed, it’s the duty of the team to work for the school and fulfill the mission on which it is based. This makes the relationship aspect very critical in team leadership. Schools that develop teaching expertise, the leaders actively depict the flowing norms; non-defensive self assessment of performance, de-privatization of learning practice with experimentation and group critiques, ability to discuss critical matters, willingness to accept responsibility and hold others accountable as well for agreed upon student outcomes and norms, involvement in healthy professional discussion, viewing disagreements as robust, curiosity and learning constantly, appreciating and recognizing achievements made by others and readiness to ask for assistance (Joyner et al 2004).
Having self acquaintance and the skills of engaging courageously in healthy conversations in leaders daily life enables them to develop these similar capabilities to the team of other teachers. Powerful models of communicating as directly associated with the ability of the team to enhance instructions. Having conversations that build teamwork are very rare in many schools because teachers are deficiently prepared and have little training to effect the discussion to be otherwise (Early & Weindling 2004). Establishing a more productive relationship among the leaders in a team is a frontier for the success of the school.
This is also attained in phases. Phase 1, the leaders will discuss issues and talk sense so as to be able to develop skills and self knowledge on face to face circumstances where high emotions are involved or conflict present. Important skills for the leaders will be to have an understanding of personal emotional profile from the past encounters and reaction thereafter; realizing when one is rising up in inference and coming down; appreciating others feelings as well as personal ones in a very hard situation and bring them to the table (discussing); exploring the other individual’s story; use of “I” messages to make requests and regaining personal equilibrium in conflict situation (Joyner et al 2004). It’s very important for the leaders to also develop problem solving skills that will enable them even to resolve interpersonal differences and also to deal with character that deem dysfunctional and set limits instead of holding negotiations since its not always the proper way for leaders (Day 2005). Most of these skills are built in a team of leaders where they work together to practice these skills and get feedback or more skills from each other.
Phase 2 begins when the leadership team has become skilled in handling very thorough discussions and they contribute their experience to the team. The principle, for example, this could be the time to build instructional leadership. The leaders here are very efficient in discussions, they use temperate language, and their interaction skills allow the discussion to be free (Day 2005). They know how to balance inquiry and advocacy ands also making intents and reasoning explicit and surface those of others.
The third phase is final and this is when fellow colleagues to practice these skills in the team. The leaders function practically as staff developers, teachers, and student counselors, disciplinarian and so on. The phases usually overlap though there should be an explicit plan since the skills are rare in most workplaces yet they are pivotal in establishing an efficient leadership team (Early & Weindling 2004) High profile leadership teams are able to bring to table even to most undiscussable issues for instance discussing examinations for student even when other teachers on them team have performed very poorly and other better. The underlying skills here include humility, attitude, curiosity and mindfulness.
The Importance of Leadership in Schools
Most people will agree that leadership is essential in school while others still arguer that leadership is not particularly important in organizational efficiency. This brings the question as to whether the values characteristically accredited to the school leadership are really warranted by practical evidence. There are several evidences for this according to research (Day 2005).
One such evidence is qualitative research carried out in exceptional schools. The setting is belied to be the major contributing factor to success of the students. The effects of leadership top the list of influence on student performances. Large scale quantitative studies form the second evidence and the conclusions drawn indicated that the direct and indirect impact of leadership to the performance of the students was small but of great academic significance (Early & Weindling 2004). Apart from overall leadership practice, specific leadership impact was also studied ands the evidence derived intermittently in the study alluded to the above inferences. Leadership was also assessed on student engagement as an independent variable of research, some evidence purported that student engagement was a very powerful determinant of student achievement.
Its very imperative the with the current development and changes in the society, the institutions of government (like schools) and other organizations to proactively encourage the use of the new and emerging models of leadership and in the school context, to develop a national program that support student achievement. Distributed leadership allows those in power to delegate duties, share responsibilities and have collective accountability. The current mechanisms that limit the bureaucratic burden on schools should be reviewed to provide clarity and regulate policy making in schools.
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Day C. (2005). Passion For Succesful Leadership. School Leadership and Management 24 (4) ; 424 – 436
Early P & Weindling D (2004). Understanding School Leadership. Paul Chapman
Fullan M. (2007). Leading in System off Change. Paper arranged for Conference on systems Thinking and Sustainable School Development. Utrecht. OISE University of Toronto
Joyner E.T, Ben-Avie M & Comer J.P (2004). Transform School Leadership and administration to hold up Pupil Learning and Development. The Field Guide to Comer Schools in Action. Corwin Press
Spillane J.P (2005). Distributed Leadership. The Educational Forum Vol. 69 Issue 2; 144 – 152