Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Characteristics of an Educational Team Leader

Team Leaders are not just for the business community. Developing Team Leaders for education and especially at the K - 12 levels is a chance for administrators, principals and staff to get "actively" involved within their schools.

I will provide more write-ups and examples as they are developed.

I would like to first start with the Educational Team Leader Characteristics:

The Graphic below depicts the different Roles that a Team Leader may encounter when working with teams and planning for change. Many of the Roles may overlap but that is to be expected.

Following the Graphic each Role is expanded to include the Responsibilities, Percentage of time and some tools and processes to help a Team Leader be successful.

Click on PIC to Enlarge

Role Model – Serve as Role Model for teachers and students by demonstrating the desired behavior of a trusted and responsible representative of your school(s).

Ø  Gains support from and confidence of others
Ø  Listens and collaborates effectively
Ø  Takes accountability and Risk (if they go bad, serve/protect your people)
Ø  Provides constructive feedback to teachers
Ø  Builds servant leadership relationships with teachers
Ø  Inspires and motivates
Ø  Communicates openly, early and often - build commitment face to face
Ø  Provides clear direction  - clarifies roles and responsibilities
Ø  Replicates the model way for your team - shows others by example:  i.e., walk the talk to build credibility and trust
Ø  Creates opportunities for teachers - rewards and recognizes them - plans for fun to help boost morale
AND - Leaders take Responsibility and give Credit to others

Updated 9/14/14
Coach - Educate teachers and help them develop their plans; by enlightening, enabling, empowering, executing and knowing when to encourage the positive and prevent the negative.

Envision + Enlightment + Enablement + Execution (added in 2006) + Empowerment + Evaluate + Encouragement = Employee Excellence. I call it the 7es.

ENVISION – It is my job to relate/communicate to you the corporate, departmental, etc… objectives into a meaningful AIM or purpose for us to follow.

Caution: If the vision cannot be described in a short amount of time (i.e., 15 minutes or less) then you have not thoroughly planned, measured and communicated a vision that will be successful. If you force the change it may happen but it will not be manageable or sustainable.

ENLIGHTEN (Pre-requisite to Enablement) – This is where we as a Team create an awareness, understanding and sense of urgency as to what is expected of us to meet the objectives.

Caution: If your audience is not excited or at least interested in a short amount of time (i.e., 15 minutes or less) then you may be in for a very tough time in implementing valued change. If the top echelon of leaders do not believe and equally importantly communicate and actively live out the proposed changes nothing will take place.

ENABLE (Pre-requisite to Empower) – Provide the tools, training and education to do the job in order to meet the objectives.

Caution: If you do not seek, serve and gather input from your people that are to do the work and manage the change you have done nothing other that was has been done time and time again and that is create fear, mistrust and non-value added change.

EMPOWER (Pre-requisite to Encourage) – Based on previous EEEs, provide by which we are to operate with each function/process of our work.

Caution: If the culture/environment has not been prepared/nurtured for change it will be short-lived and will not take hold. Effective leaders are sensitive to the challenges facing workers in a changing environment. Not empowering them with the authority, skills and tools to make change happen then you are doomed for another failed attempt for an efficient and effective change. Also, if you do not allow obstacles (That means people too) to be removed from preventing the change you failed as a leader.

EXECUTE (Pre-requisite to Empower) - Based on previous EEEEs, provide the methods and procedures (As developed by all stakeholders) by which we are to operate with each function/process of our work.

Caution: If you do not establish process and quality measures that can identify errors/mistakes then learning and growth will not take place. True learning and change must come through testing and correcting mistakes for improvement. If "Fear of Failure" is evident then people will provide you with false readings and numbers that will eventually leave the change effort in a tampered and damaged state.

EVALUATE (Pre-requisite to Encourage) - What Gets Planned and Measured Gets Done!

ENCOURAGE - Recognize and nurture behaviors for on-going improvements and culture change. Each of us has the responsibility to recognize and praise the good work done by others.

Caution: If you do not celebrate short-wins along the implementation route then long-term change will not take place. Praise and encouragement that is delegated is worthless. Go to where the learning is being done. Be an “Active” Participant and Leader.

Updated 10/25/14

Transformer – Understands the big picture and is able to identify and communicate a clear understanding of what is changing to stakeholders.

Provide an environment for team to excel, where we can have some fun, and if we make a mistake, we learn from it, share the knowledge and go forward. Where change, while often out of our control, is discussed, but more importantly where we as a team can control change.

For example - here are some good traits:
Ø Lead, Not Control
Ø  Seek continual improvement
Ø  Embrace (not encourage) error or mistakes for learning when they happen
Ø  Plan, Measure and respond/predict the future
Ø  Make the hard decisions when required
Ø  Welcome Change and be flexible

Updated 1/25/15

Change AgentChallenges the status quo; acts as advocate for teachers, students and the school. Team Leader should utilize servant-leadership (The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible) type approach to capitalize on the knowledge and wisdom of all stakeholders.

Ø  Have a clear understanding of what is changing - Vision
Ø  Know who will be impacted. Do they have the training and expertise to be successful - Skills
Ø  Know what teachers and stakeholders have to gain and lose – What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)
Ø  Anticipate what teachers need to be successful (i.e., Technology, Dollars, Tools, etc.) - Resources
Ø  Communicate changes and resulting benefits to teachers and other key stakeholders – Action Plan

“What Gets Planned and Measured, Gets Done.”

Facilitator -

Brings together the necessary tools, information and resources for teachers to develop the total student. Being able to ask the right questions will bring quality results.

Facilitating learning opportunities among team members is a valued role for a Team Leader. When teachers learn with and from one another, they can focus on what most directly improves student development and learning.

The following guidelines can assist Team Leader to “GROW” for “Facilitating” a Planning session with their team or a one-on-one face to face meeting with a team member

G = Goals – determine the purpose/aim of the session
1) What would we like to accomplish in the time we have available
2) What would make this time well spent and value-added?
3) What would ultimate success look like to you/team?

R = Current Reality - describes as accurately as possible the current situation.
1) How do you/team know your perception of “X” is accurate?
    What indicators tell you/team that is the case?
2) Whom else might we check with to get more data/information about the larger perspective?
3) What have you/team tried so far?
4) What are your beliefs about this situation?

O = Options - options for potential actions without judging the ideas merit or practicality, initial focus is on “quantity” not quality of options. Quality comes later as you reduce options down.
1) If money, time or resources were no obstacle, what option might you/team choose?
2) What might some “Sky the Limits” options look like?
3 Who else could help?
4) May I (we) offer some options that were thought of while you were describing your options?

W = What’s Next
1) What are you/team going to do and by when?
2) What’s next? What steps are involved?
3) How might you/team minimize/remove the barriers/obstacles?
4) What are the contingencies if you/team can’t remove the barriers?
5) How will you/team monitor performance and collect data for feedback over time for predictability?
6) On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you/team that we will do this?

Data AnalyzerHelp teachers improve efficiency and effectiveness. Allows team members to prevent & predict outcomes using data analysis, student “approved” information and measures.

By following the guidelines below you will not only improve your data collection activities, you will also reduce cycle time in analyzing and displaying your data with the appropriate graphs and charts.

Clarify Data Collection Goals

  • Decide why you are collecting data
  • Decide what data you need to collect and how much (sample size) data you need to collect (i.e., are you looking for point in time or for an on-going trend)
  • Decide what you will do with the data once you have it 
2. Develop an Operational Definition
  • Define what you are trying to evaluate
  • Decide how you will attach a value to what you are trying to measure (develop data collection form and corresponding data base if necessary)
  • Decide how you will display/record the data (i.e.; graph/chart, spreadsheet, report, etc.)
  • Determine the period of time you will conduct the data collection activities
3. Test for Data Consistency
  • Determine factors that may cause your data to vary from one item to another (i.e., people, your own subjectivity, location, time, size, different process, etc.)
  • Reduce impact of those factors 
4. Data Collection
  • Train all involved in study to ensure consistency (use associated data collection forms and input data base if required)
  • Make data collection procedures error-proof
  • Have frequent process checks (do a sample test on small group) to determine if data collection forms and tools are accurate and appropriate (i.e.; does the data look reasonable and actionable)