Michael Fullan’s work, ‘Coherence’ identifies four drivers for school improvement, all of which are directly linked to the effectiveness of the school leadership team:

  • Focused direction to build collective purpose,
  • Cultivating collaborative cultures while clarifying individual and team roles,
  • Deepening learning to accelerate improvement and foster innovation, and
  • Accountability from the inside out.

The first step in being able to achieve this as a leadership team, is to identify how your team currently functions. Often, we discuss what the team is doing, but not how effectively the team is functioning.

The Sentis Education LMD Leadership Team Assessment provides a comprehensive diagnosis on the health of your leadership team and can lead to significant improvements in your team processes to support the efforts being made to drive improvement.

Lead People, Manage Process, Drive Results

The LMD (Lead People, Manage Process, Drive Results) Team Assessment is intended to determine your team’s capabilities in the following areas:

  • Lead People – Building emotional intelligence and eliciting the best out of the team via effective, inspiring communication, conflict resolution, trust, and psychological safety.
  • Manage Processes – Streamlining and aligning processes and protocols for positive school culture.
  • Drive Results – Deploying strategies to expedite the work and sustain staff shared goals in driving improvement.

The LMD Assessment records individuals’ perceptions of each domain. It should be viewed as indicators of personal experience to reveal gaps in communication, input levels and the like. Identifying the highest and lowest-scoring parts is determined by fine-grained analysis of response rates and indicators.

Common themes encountered by Leadership Teams

Lead People:
  • Trust and vulnerability in team/meeting situations – a need to create a psychologically safe environment for people to share, question, collaborate or discuss.
  • Consistency of standards and expectations across leadership teams (particularly in line management processes).
  • Fear of speaking up – “I sometimes don’t say things as I don’t want to appear stupid.” This lack of vulnerability keeps discussion at a superficial level and does not build trust.
  • Many schools need to continue building empathy for all school roles – especially teachers, who may sometimes feel like they are dealing with added complexity and workload. Leadership Teams need to consider peak periods of increased workload and stress across terms/semesters and determine a means of building first-hand knowledge regarding all elements of the work of those they line manage.
  • Teams rarely seek to understand howtheir colleagues prefer to receive feedback in a way that better facilitates understanding and action. There is also a need for further work on providing and receiving feedback in a psychologically safe manner.
  • Determining the team’s agreed way of working (actions for non-adherence, team accountability, norms, and protocols – including team language) is often not considered among leadership teams.
Manage Processes:
  • Line management, team and whole staff meeting processes are not always made transparent so that all team members can contribute, challenge, ask questions, seek clarity, and disagree in a psychologically safe environment. A lack of meeting protocols created a lack of focus, diminished decision-making clarity, and did not use time efficiently.
  • Leaders are encouraged to challenge the perception of team members to view feedback and disagreement as ‘different thinking’ rather than personal criticism.
  • A lack of communication often contributes to ‘siloed’ work, where leaders are unaware of the scope of others’ work. This can lead to feelings of being undervalued or overworked, creating inequity in perceptions of fairness.
  • Discussions during meetings and accountabilities around the work of all team members need to be solidly linked to strategic priorities and have robust processes (beyond providing an agenda or an email reminder and the like).
  • Scheduling time for strategic thinking as a team – and developing processes to get everyone’s best thinking (not everyone is comfortable ‘brainstorming’ on a whiteboard).
  • Articulate learning from mistakes, as well as successes. Know and leverage the team’s strengths to achieve the best results, help assign tasks, delegate responsibilities, and foster collaboration. Recognising and appreciating the group’s strengths can motivate them, boost their confidence, and create a positive work environment.
Drive Results:
  • A strong line of sight to students is evident across all schools.
  • Schools consistently report having highly passionate staff who put in much discretionary effort to support students/outcomes.
  • Many schools can identify an initiative that has been adopted successfully – but don’t necessarily consider how successful processes might be applied to other priorities.
  • Staff induction processes start strong at the start of the year but must be more focused (or completed) for staff employed beyond Term 1. This can lead to a lack of clarity around roles and a need for more consistency in understanding and applying procedures and expectations.
  • There are, generally, high levels of collegial support among HODs / Middle Leaders, with most seeking each other out as sounding boards and informal mentors.
  • HODs need help finding the time or have the strategies to build leadership density by cultivating teacher leaders.