Education is full of teams, pastoral teams, curriculum teams departmental teams, faculty teams but how much time do schools spend on developing the leaders to develop their teams.
At a most basic level, there is the Foreman model of Group Development ( 1965) with its forming–storming–norming–performing stages. This has been, and I feel, a really useful place to start especially for the new leader or for the classroom teacher with their use of group learning. I think that in the current educational environment and the potential creation of more teams outside of the traditional faculty/department model it is important that those new leaders are given the understanding of the process of forming a team/group but this rather “old ” research will not be the focus of our talk about teams rather Google’s work on teams in their Project Aristotle.
Project Aristotle looked at team effectiveness. Much of what they found is highly applicable to education so why are schools not developing this knowledge in potential leaders before they become actual leaders? In New Zealand, as we move into the exciting new landscape of Communities of Learning ( CoL) how many CoLs have someone to develop those skills in the “new leaders”
The image below summarises the most important aspects for teams. If we reflect on teams that we have led or teams that we have been in how would they rate in respect of what is below?
Psychological safety is crucial but how do we know if we have it in our teams. Do we as middle leaders have time to identify it? As a middle manager both the research and the talk from Amy Edmonson got me thinking about the team that I lead, how I lead it and whether the team that I lead is effective? How do I, or should it be the organisation that measures the psychological safety of the team or does that matter so long as the results are there? I would hope that I have developed the three feature that a psychologically safe team should have according to Amy Edmonson from her TEDx talk. These being
- Framing problems as learning problems
- Being open about and talking about failure
- Model curiosity
In reality, whether I think I do this or not is a question not for me but a question for the team I am in. The joys of the middle leader.