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What makes a good team leader?
Old 06-12-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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I am team leader next year for my team and although I've done it before (not with this same group), I am anticipating it being challenging. Our team just doesn't seem to mesh very well - we all get along fine, but everyone's work/thinking style is very different - one likes to talk every idea to death and consider every possible alternative to the point that she stresses the rest of us out, one is a very "big-picture" person and has trouble keeping up with details (disorganized), and one is pretty normal although very idealistic (young) and can be emotional.
I am very organized and also detail-oriented, although I don't agonize over decisions. My principal praised me today for a decision I made about next year after the team debated and debated and couldn't decide - I finally just made the decision for all of us and he said he appreciated that and hinted that I may need to do more of it. My disorganized teammate was team leader this year and that didn't work too well - nothing ever seemed to get accomplished. So, my question is, what qualities do you think make an effective team leader/grade chair? What do you like or dislike? I don't want to come across as bossy or as a bi@ch but someone has to sort of "take charge" of this group!


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Old 06-12-2008, 07:15 PM
 
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I've been disappointed in our team leader. Not all of our team members have the same type class. Some of us don't receive the same things as the rest of the team. For instance, she gets planning, so there's no incentive for her to buck schedules which deny planning to a few when presented at team leader meetings. It's not a priority to represent other team members that might not. It's easier to go along with the flow rather than really represent the needs of the whole team.

When events come up, she doesn't follow through and then it's always the team's fault. Recently team leaders were asked to discuss something with the team. Instead of doing that as we asked several times, she just responded to the prince with her own view...which was not reflective of what the team as a whole wanted. She has made up team minutes several times this year after she cancelled team meetings and never rescheduled.

We wanted to elect a new team leader last year. We voted and the prince overrode our vote. She even had the team leader calling all of us to ask if we voted because they were trying to see who voted for the other person since the other person won. That person never got to be team leader. Shame too because she was energetic, outspoken and would have represented everyone on the team not just what affects her. Because over half of our team is quitting this year, we get stuck with the same one for next year. I feel like if they can't express the whole team's view and support the team while in these team leader meetings with the prince, then she has no business being team leader.
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team leader
Old 06-12-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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We don't have paid or even official team leaders, but if our team has one, I'm pretty sure I'm it. First of all, it's good that you know your team members' strengths and weaknesses. You will definitely be able to steer things better w/ that info. Since you are organized, I'd probably keep a record of who's doing what or what was decided when decisions are made. One of the most important things is to be able to manage the time available. You'll want to get input from the others (without the one who likes to talk things out going on and on too long) and after some ideas have been presented, say, "So what I'm hearing is that we have options A, B, C with these pros and cons(briefly summarize). Does anyone have any strong opinions on any of these?" Then take a vote or make the final decision having all of the needed info.
I've found it's very important to be an effective communicator, making sure all members of the team know what's going on when, and what was decided. Email makes this very easy, esp. if you don't have a common planning time. Also, you'll need to be the go-between for your team with the principal.
Personally, I don't like being told what to do, since I am an experienced and trained professional, too , but I appreciate it when someone takes charge and leads in a well planned manner. I can't stand it when people are wishy washy. Open minded, yes. Indecisive, no.
Good luck!
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Hi. The best team leaders I've worked with:
Old 06-12-2008, 08:42 PM
 
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- established working guidelines for the team and referred to these when necessary
- ensured that the team had clear 'big picture' goals and objectives and that there was agreement about these
- worked hard and were willing to complete some of the same tasks they asked others to do
- were consultative, but made decisions based around clear goals and objectives
- looked after their team and were sensitive to the times when people were pressured, stressed etc.
- acknowledged successes and celebrated progress. Praised publicly and criticized privately.
- didn't 'flog a dead horse'. If something (or someone) was not working and they couldn't change the situation, they didn't stress, they moved on.
- understood that everyone was trying to achieve common goals - they just might not agree on some of the ways to get there!
- maintained a sense of humour and worked hard at building relationships.
Good luck in the role. Leadership can be challenging, but very rewarding.
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What do you prefer??
Old 06-13-2008, 02:14 PM
 
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I'm leading my group this year, too. My question to elementary teachers is:
Do you prefer to meet frequently to be reminded about upcoming activities and deadlines, or would you prefer to meet only when decisions must be made? I prefer meeting only when necessary. We all have plenty to do. I would rather email "laundry lists" of dates, times, events, etc. How do you feel? I don't want to appear too "hands-off."


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Not a choice
Old 06-13-2008, 04:26 PM
 
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In my district, each grade level is required to meet once a week to work collaboratively. Now this works at each school and team is slightly differents. We use this time to discuss lesssons for the next week, problems we may be having ,venting ( if needed), details that we as a team need to work out for upcoming events. Just routine update are sent via email. Also, our school has a calendar feature on the email program. Even our faculty meetings are not "business" items. They are used to teach strategies, provide time to work on portfolios, PLC's, etc.

What I appreciate in a leader is someone who can balance listening with keeping the tasks at hand moving along. The person must be confident in making the final judgement when the team is struggling. The person does need to be timely in presenting information and be willing to go to admin with team concerns. Although, my team often goes all together so we can all voice our concerns.

I wish everyone could work on a team like mine. Each of us understand that we must give and take. One thing we also do is we try to meet outside of school several times a year. We also as a team by birthday presents for the member having a BD. This year, we have a new member coming and hope that his person will fit right in. We are very accepting, so we hope to show her some Southern hospitality.
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