What Role does Leadership Play in Improving Team Processes?
Leadership plays a huge role in improving team processes. I think a team is only as good as its leaders. Within a school environment, a leadership team plays the role of communicator among the grade-level teams. Attending leadership meetings, making decisions that affect your colleagues, and then being able to not only report those decisions back to your team, but also help implement them within a team is a very big responsibility. A leader has to know how their team functions and be able to understand where their team’s weaknesses lie to in turn improve the processes that keep the team running. A team often looks to their leaders to make sure things are functioning efficiently, and if not, for guidance on how to make changes to ensure the success of the team. Park University imparts these skills within their educational leadership students.
More specifically, within my grade-level team, we start the year by setting up norms for our meetings. We have a facilitator who acts as the leader for each meeting. We also have someone who checks standards when planning as a team, a norm checker, a timekeeper, etc. The facilitator runs the meetings and ensures that each team member is fulfilling their assigned role. Within our team, we also have a leadership team member. This person is responsible for attending the building leadership meetings. In these meetings we have discussions and make decisions regarding building processes. In both of these scenarios, a leader is being utilized to assess and implement ways for our teams to function in a highly efficient way.
Through my program at Park University, I was able to fine-tune my leadership skills in regards to team processes. In particular, we talked a lot about the PLC process. This is a process I go through with my own grade-level team each week. We work through data cycles to ensure student learning, and Park University helped me feel better prepared to implement this process and to help my colleagues implement it as well.
What Role does Leadership Play in Improving Professional Learning Processes?
In education, it is so important to always be learning and bettering your craft. Professional learning allows us to do that and is very important. Education trends and approaches change frequently, and an educator must stay on top of that.
Leadership plays a role in professional learning processes because it is a leader’s role to assess where professional learning is needed and what the staff may be having an issue with. Team leaders can communicate this to building leadership who can then communicate with building administration. This chain of communication allows building leadership to know what professional learning might be needed. Administration should be in classrooms as much as possible, but with the amount of work they are tasked with, it is impossible to understand exactly what each teacher within their building may need in the way of PD. This is how different layers of leadership within a building can work together to improve these processes.
Recently, as a leadership team member, I had the opportunity to attend a symposium on The Leader in Me, which we are adopting as a school for next year. My role was to attend, absorb, and understand as much as I could, and come back to share with my colleagues. It is unrealistic to imagine that every school can send each person who wants to attend a professional learning opportunity. Financially, that is often impossible. That is why it is so important to have building leadership who can act as a liaison for these invaluable learning opportunities.
Through my courses at Park University, the professors encouraged us to work on our professional dialogue and communication skills. We spent time weekly having a dialogue, sharing thoughts and experiences, and responding to others via message boards. This practice in professional discussion and dialogue has proved to be invaluable as I work through providing information on professional learning opportunities to my teammates at school. I feel better equipped to share my learning with others in an effective way.
Potential Problems that Arise from Lack of Leadership
Leadership provides an infrastructure to the teams that keep a school running. Without that infrastructure, the whole structure can fall apart. There are multiple layers of leadership within a school. You have the administration team, the leadership team, grade-level representatives, and so on. You have to be able to trust and communicate among each layer of leadership to ensure things are running smoothly. Particularly within a school setting, communication is key. If you are lacking leaders who are able to communicate with staff, you run into a host of culture and climate issues with your colleagues.
Collaboration is another key function of a school, and once again, must be encouraged by leadership. I personally believe collaboration and communication are two of the most important facets of a highly effective school environment. This must be modeled and implemented by a strong leadership group.
The master’s in educational leadership program at Park University helps provide you with the skills and tools you need to feel comfortable taking on a leadership role within your school. The potential problems that can arise from a lack of leadership are endless. While I entered the program at Park University feeling that I had a significant amount of leadership experience, I left the program feeling more prepared than ever to work as an effective leader within my role as an educator and teammate.
Are you an educator ready to step into a leadership role? Explore our educational leadership program and get started today!