We spend a great deal of time talking about the Leadership Team (LT). The reason is because this is where the work and improvement of the school begins. It’s why so much of the research points to leadership as “the single most important aspect of effective school reform” (Marzano, What Works in Schools: Translating Research into Action, p. 172) . Marzano goes on to say that leadership “influences virtually every other aspect of … effective reform relative to the school-level, the teacher-level, and the student-level factors” (p. 172).
Hattie (Visible Learning, pp. 83-85) includes principal/school leaders among his influences affecting student achievement. Hattie does make the distinction between leadership that focuses on teaching and learning (these have the higher effect sizes on student achievement) versus those who he terms transformational leaders who inspire levels of energy, commitment, and moral purpose (these have a lesser effect size on student achievement). His obvious recommendation is that school leaders emphasize aspects of improving teaching practices, including professional development; planning, coordinating, and evaluating teaching and the curriculum through classroom visitations that provide formative and summative feedback; and strategic alignment of resources.
All of this research explains why there are multiple indicators relating to the role of the principal and the LT in Indistar. And it begs a fundamental question about the functioning of the LT. How can our LT meetings be as productive as possible to move the continuous improvement process along?
An interesting couple of blogs in Leadership Freak address this question. The first, 10 Commandments That Fix All Lousy Meetings, provides some sage advice about running more powerful meetings:
The 10 commandments of great meetings:
Law #1: Thou shalt always declare the purpose of the meeting before it happens. The most important work of the meeting happens before the meeting. Confusion about purpose is always the result of inept leadership.
Law #2: All participants shalt understand and agree that the requirements of law #1 have been fully met. Declaring the purpose of a meeting doesn’t mean everyone understands or aligns.
Law #3: Thou shalt meet to make decision, never to discuss.
Law #4: Everyone around the table shalt have a stake in the pie.
Law #5: The people closest to the work shalt talk the most.
Law #6: The most powerful person in the room shalt talk the least.
Law #7: Thou shalt engage in lively debate.
When law #6 is violated, law #7 won’t happen.
Law #8: The leader of the meeting shalt keep everyone focused and engaged.
Law #9: Thou shalt silence big mouths, even if it hurts their feelings, and engage quiet participants.
Law #10: Thou shalt assign tasks to everyone in the room. The person who leaves the room without something to do, shouldn’t have attended in the first place.
The second blog suggests some great questions for “… 10 Ways to Cut to the Chase and Get Stuff Done
We hope you find these blogs and the commandments and questions they pose useful in the ongoing work or your Leadership Team meetings. Check out other blogs on Leadership and other topics at Leadership Freak.
Also, please share your reactions and feedback to these blogs in the Your Reflections or Discussion sections of IndistarConnect. We’d all appreciate new ideas and feedback to improve our Leadership Team meetings.