Posts Tagged ‘senior team’

Are you a team of leaders?

February 25, 2013

You may not be a team leader in the official sense, but you may have taken the lead on something that your team has done.

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These days teams work at speed, with several things happening at once. Quite often this involves reacting to internal and external factors, many of which come in at short notice.

By taking the lead on some elements of the day-to-day (and longer-term) tasks or projects – it can have a positive and successful outcome for the overall efficiency of the team … not to mention morale!

Don’t get me wrong, a team leader has an overall responsibility for his/her team, but that doesn’t mean that they have to lead on everything.

So when might a team member lead?

Here are some thoughts …

1. When you have specialist knowledge and skills

This doesn’t just mean subject expertise; it can also include the following:

  • you’re skilled at building rapport with other teams in school or parents/families in the local community
  • you have specific knowledge of a child’s history (behaviour, medical history, etc.)

Which of your skills/strengths have you led on in the past?

2. Your experience

The team may look to you if you have experienced a similar situation to one the team are experiencing now. For example:

  • moving classrooms & resources to a newly built part of the school (or new school building). This can involve some good organisational skills, as well as identifying ‘must-do’ tasks and recognising possible pitfalls of a particular course of action
  • working with a significant number of new team members (e.g. you may have led an induction meeting for staff new to the school)

Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is being discussed about which you have some experience.

3. You can see the light!

Are you good at spotting solutions to delicate situations, challenges and problems that your team is faced with?

If so, and the team goes with your recommendation, you assume some sort of leadership role; e.g. team members may come back to you while the situation is ongoing to ask for further suggestions. If you don’t have them it’s a good idea to work with that person to help find a solution.

Remember to listen to, and debate, other possible options … don’t be blinded by your light! This will help others to take you seriously.

And finally …

Whenever you have the opportunity to take the lead on a task, and you feel you have the skills to deliver, grab this opportunity! It will help to develop leadership skills for the future, if that’s where you want to go, and if not it can certainly help build your team into a stronger and more effective one. 🙂

Maximising Relationships with … #1: Your Senior Leadership Team

April 23, 2012
  • How strong is your relationship with your SLT?
  • Could it be even better?

 

Successful leadership and management of a school (or other organisation/business) relies in part on a leadership team which is strong individually and collectively.

The size of the SLT will usually depend on the size of the school and how staffing is structured (and the budget!) I’ve worked with SLTs ranging in size from 1 (the Head of a small school) to a team of 8, in a larger city school. As with any team, the larger it is the greater the potential for a richness of ideas, strengths and experiences … as well as a greater risk of conflict and power struggles.

A range of factors contribute to an effective team, one of which is a positive and productive working relationship. Heads new to a post can come into a school with an already established SLT, which can create its own challenges.

To build and maintain effective relationships with the SLT, there are several things that I’ve found in development work with Heads…

1: Clear vision – shared with (or developed alongside) the SLT

It’s important that each member of the SLT knows how they contribute to the vision. Teaching staff can lose sight of the big picture (which the Head tends to hold), as they deal with the day-to-day tasks. This is why the vision needs to be revisited and reviewed on a regular basis.

2: Role clarity

It’s also important that each member of the SLT knows his/her role in the leadership and management of the school.

– Which parts of their role are leadership and which management? 

– Do their combined leadership roles (I’m including the Head here too) provide appropriate coverage of all development areas within the school or are there gaps?

– How do you know?

– Are tasks appropriately distributed and is there fair delegation?

Lack of role clarity can lead to staff losing focus and direction, resulting in feeling demotivated. Staff who are externally motivated will need more direction and feedback on how they are doing, otherwise relationships could break down.

3: Building rapport

Building rapport is easiest with people who are similar to ourselves; it’s a subconscious thing. There’s a saying: People like people like themselves. This is fine when choosing your friends but can be limiting when choosing staff to be part of a multi-skilled and dynamic team, where complementary expertise and experiences are key.

Having common values helps build rapport, as does speaking the same language. (A focus for a forthcoming blog!)

4. Maximising strengths

As a Head / leader, how well do you know your SLT’s individual strengths (and your own!)? Not just curriculum strengths or a wide range of experience; I would also include here leadership and emotional intelligence strengths (e.g. optimism, initiative, building bonds, conflict management).

This is not an exhaustive list – so what would you add to it? 

How do you maximise relationships with (and within) your team?

(Photo credit: renjith krishnan)

A Senior Leadership Team or a Senior Management Team?

February 14, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 14

I have recently been working with staff in schools who have used both terms Senior Management Team (SMT) & Senior Leadership Team (SLT) interchangeably to describe their senior team of staff. So which is it?

You could argue that “SLT” is just the new term for the same team which was once termed the SMT. But whether you’re a senior team of staff working in the public or private sector, I would suggest that what you call yourself is a reflection on how you see your roles.

When attempting to define a leader, you may be able to recognise one, but there doesn’t seem to be a single template to define one. In a previous post about emerging leaders, I suggested their top 3 features were: Influencing, Inspiring and Ideas. In Practising the Art of Leadership I discussed Communication, Empathizing and Building followers as key qualities. I am sure you have seen leaders who have displayed these qualities and many more.

Managing is about getting things done. Owen suggests this involves a combination or IQ, EQ (emotional quotient) and now PQ (political quotient). He contends that the latter is at the heart of managing – using power to make things happen through others.

I don’t think it’s as simple as saying ‘leaders lead and managers manage’. I would suggest that leaders can manage, but not all managers can lead.

So when a senior team of staff come together to run a school, an organisation or a business, do they believe they are leading, managing or both?

Furthermore, how do the rest of the staff view the members of these teams?

And … how much does this matter?

This blog may ask more questions than it answers, but I believe this area is evolving as new responsibilities are added to job descriptions.

What’s your experience?


(Photo courtesy of Graur Codrin )