Are you a team of leaders?
These days teams work at speed, with several things happening at once. Quite often this involves reacting to internal and external factors, many of which come in at short notice.
By taking the lead on some elements of the day-to-day (and longer-term) tasks or projects – it can have a positive and successful outcome for the overall efficiency of the team … not to mention morale!
Don’t get me wrong, a team leader has an overall responsibility for his/her team, but that doesn’t mean that they have to lead on everything.
So when might a team member lead?
Here are some thoughts …
1. When you have specialist knowledge and skills
This doesn’t just mean subject expertise; it can also include the following:
- you’re skilled at building rapport with other teams in school or parents/families in the local community
- you have specific knowledge of a child’s history (behaviour, medical history, etc.)
Which of your skills/strengths have you led on in the past?
2. Your experience
The team may look to you if you have experienced a similar situation to one the team are experiencing now. For example:
- moving classrooms & resources to a newly built part of the school (or new school building). This can involve some good organisational skills, as well as identifying ‘must-do’ tasks and recognising possible pitfalls of a particular course of action
- working with a significant number of new team members (e.g. you may have led an induction meeting for staff new to the school)
Don’t be afraid to speak up if something is being discussed about which you have some experience.
3. You can see the light!
Are you good at spotting solutions to delicate situations, challenges and problems that your team is faced with?
If so, and the team goes with your recommendation, you assume some sort of leadership role; e.g. team members may come back to you while the situation is ongoing to ask for further suggestions. If you don’t have them it’s a good idea to work with that person to help find a solution.
Remember to listen to, and debate, other possible options … don’t be blinded by your light! This will help others to take you seriously.
And finally …
Whenever you have the opportunity to take the lead on a task, and you feel you have the skills to deliver, grab this opportunity! It will help to develop leadership skills for the future, if that’s where you want to go, and if not it can certainly help build your team into a stronger and more effective one.
I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.