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How Effective Is Your Leadership Team?

The effectiveness of leadership teams is important and has a massive impact on school culture, staff morale and student learning. Whilst many school leadership teams are exhausted and in ‘survival mode’ at this time of the year, it is important that they reflect on how effective they have been this year to identify opportunities for being even more effective in 2018.

The following lists are provided for leadership teams to reflect on three key areas of responsibility – Strategic, Operational and Communication.


Strategic – School Improvement

Leading educator Ben Jensen’s list of the main elements of effective learning communities provides an ideal framework for school leadership teams to reflect on how effective they have been this year in strategic initiatives designed to bring about school improvement.

  • Focus and purpose: leadership teams must have a focus that is compelling and challenging.
  • Shared values and vision: leadership teams should have an end goal of student learning but also a short-term goal of answering a question shared by the whole team.
  • Evidence collection: formative assessment practices should be integrated to encourage reflection on student performance data.
  • Relationships: positive relationships create alignment, trust and support.
  • Collaboration: team members must have their beliefs challenged, hear ideas from others, get productive feedback and share knowledge.
  • Inquiry: groups should question current practices, examine new ideas, try them out, get feedback and reflect on results.

Jensen, B., 2016, Beyond PD: Teacher Professional Learning in High-Performing Systems


Operational – Meetings are efficient and effective

Time is a precious commodity in schools. It is essential that meetings are efficient, purposeful and lead to informed decision-making and action. For each of the meetings within the school (eg leadership team, staff, year level, faculty etc) consider the following aspects.

  • Meetings start and finish on time
  • An agenda is provided in advance
  • Meetings stick to the agenda
  • A variety of viewpoints are heard
  • Decisions made are recorded
  • Next steps are summarised at the end of the meeting and it is clear – who will do what, by when.
  • Commitments made at the previous meeting are revisited to ensure they have been actioned


Communication – Ensuring everyone is on the same page

It is important that the leadership team effectively communicate with staff, parents and students. The larger the school, the more challenging this is.

  • Are effective strategies in place for each group?
  • Are we proactive or reactive?
  • Do we plan in advance for coming events or is it always ‘last minute’?
  • Does each group feel informed?
  • Are the right people involved in decision making?
  • Are we clear about whether we are consulting or informing?