How is your immediate team led?
The most important thing school leaders can do is to adapt their leadership style to the situation at hand.
I’ve led several teams throughout my teaching career, including whole-school projects for over a decade. Some of the teams I have worked in were highly productive and highly motivated, whilst others were a little dysfunctional and sluggish in terms of output.
There will be many reasons for both of these levels of success, including my own part in the process.
In The Decision Book – 50 models for strategic thinking – a model is offered to help those successfully manage their employees. The Hersey-Blanchard model (situational leadership) distinguishes between instructing, coaching, supporting and delegating.
When a teacher or leader is starting a new job, employees need strong leadership. When they are new, their level of commitment is usually high, but their level of expertise is still low. Employees are given orders and instructions.
The employees’ level of expertise has risen. The initial euphoria of starting a new job falls and employees are asked questions and they look for answers themselves. Sustaining this level of work becomes a challenge several years into the role, as priorities shift and external factors influence our working habits…
At this stage, the level of expertise has risen sharply! A teacher’s motivation varies as a result of being given more independence. Employees are encouraged to come up with their own ideas and sometimes this is not always possible. How often have you been left to ‘get on with it’?
Employees are fully in control of their work. Motivation is high and they are given their own projects and lead their own teams. School leaders should lead other teachers in such a way to become superfluous.
All leaders should work with employees to be successful so that one day they will be in a leadership position themselves should they choose to do so. Richard Branson once said: “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Coaching is proving to be very popular with teachers in schools at the moment, however, it is not the only way to help improve the people around us…
How do you instruct, support and delegate colleagues around you?