Do You Have The Right People Around You?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

When did you last evaluate the people around you and your team’s capabilities?

Regardless of whether you are a head teacher, a head of department or a classroom teacher, whether you run a successful business or work as a governor, at some point you will be asking yourself some of the questions outlined below.

  1. Do we have the right people around for this project?
  2. Do we have enough collective knowledge?
  3. Do our skills complement our goals?
  4. Are we capable of achieving what we want to do?

The Team Model

I have been unpicking more of the ideas in The Decision Book, and have been reading about ‘the team model’ which is useful to help judge the team around you. “Begin by defining the skills, knowledge, expertise and resources that you think are important for carrying out the project.”

Job descriptions and person specifications are necessary to help find the right people for the job. I’ve written hundreds during my school leadership career. Clarity on paper attracts the right person, so it is vital to distinguish between knowledge and skills – particularly hard and soft skills, such as knowledge of foreign languages (hard) and motivation (soft) for each area.

In this model, the leader should define where the critical threshold lies on a scale of 0 to 10.

For example, working as a teacher, you may insist on having an acceptable level of literacy, and quite rightly, this should be on a scale of nine or ten. Or, the use of technology in the classroom at a level 4 or 5. Important to be able to use ICT, but in the classroom, it is not critical. Whatever the knowledge or skill identified is, the graphic below should allow you to create a simple overview for quick evaluation.

The Critical-Limit

A good team working in a school is aware of everybody strengths and areas for development. A good team leader will delegate tasks according to people’s capacity and capability, pairing people up to help develop their areas for development. Of course, this is a real challenge for every school because teachers are time poor and many of the tasks required for completion are common. However, not everyone can do all of them to the desired standard.

Using this model as a template, why not consider evaluating the people around you and then sharing it with them? The best school leader is the one who has the good sense to work with people around them and allocate tasks according to the strengths of the team and the things that have to be completed.

In the book, it is recommended to connect the points with a line to identify the team’s strengths and areas for development to identify the critical limit. I have provided an example below.

The Team Model

Taking it further …

You can take this further by sharing your evaluation with the team members. A good team would be one that can correctly judge its own capabilities. If there is sufficient demand, I will create a template here for you to download. If you are interested leave a comment below. There are over 1,800 academic articles available in this area of decision-making and leadership.

To take this further, you may wish to consider my middle leader and senior leader reflection questions and use these not only for appraisal, but for teacher professional development in terms of evaluating competence (before stepping up to the next job, or evaluating how you are currently performing).

@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account in which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated for '500 Most Influential People in Britain' in The Sunday Times as one of the most influential in the field of education - he remains the only classroom teacher to feature to this day ... Sharing online as @TeacherToolkit, he rebuilt this website (c2008) into what you are now reading, as one of the 'most influential blogs on education in the UK', winning the number one spot at the UK Blog Awards (2018). Today, he is currently a PGCE tutor and is researching 'social media and its influence on education policy' for his EdD at Cambridge University. In 1993, he started teaching and is an experienced school leader working in some of the toughest schools in London. He is also a former Teaching Awards winner for 'Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School, London' (2004) and has written several books on teaching (2013-2018). Read more...

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