According to Tony Wilson in his book, “Jack and the Team That Couldn’t See”, if you don’t see the following behaviours as the norm in your team, then, chances are, it can be healthier.
Minimal infighting or politics
A high degree of loyalty and negligible turnover.
Lively meetings that are full of input and debate but still have clear outcomes that are actioned immediately
Team members who can clearly articulate vision, strategy and expectations that include behaviour and results.
Team members who take full responsibility for their actions, behaviour and results.
Shared leadership – everyone is accountable.
Team members who are willing to go the extra mile to achieve their own goals and also to help others achieve theirs.
People who are 100% on board even when they disagree with a directive.
Wilson goes on to describe symptoms of unhealthy teams.
Are you experiencing any of these?
If your meetings are boring and you can’t get people to speak up;
if you have people who cannot clearly articulate the big picture and have trouble prioritizing;
if you (as the leader) have to be there for things to function well and for people to accept accountability;
if you have people who pout and dig in their heels when a decision goes against them;
and if you have people who make excuses for their failures or, even worse, blame other people;
then your team could be healthier.
Teamwork is important. Schools are busy, complex places. Working in teams needs to be beneficial or individuals withdraw and isolate themselves. This can become evident in them operating in lighthouses or silos.
In highly effective teams there are four clear benefits.
EFFICIENCY – working in a highly effective team saves us time. We don’t all have to do everything.
EFFECTIVE – each team member brings their own areas of strength and experience. If we share our expertise with others, they in turn become more effective. A rising timed floats all boats!
CONSISTENT – Every student in a school deserves a good deal. It should not matter which teacher or class they are allocated to, they all deserve a good deal. One of the key remits of the leadership team is to identify good practice that benefits the clientele and then consistently deliver that, so that all students benefit.
SENSE OF BELONGING – one of the key benefits of teamwork is the support provided by our colleagues. Leaders try to build great cultures within the school. The bigger the school, the harder this is to achieve. Building this supportive culture starts with the staff member’s immediate team.