Collaboration and teamwork are two of the best resources for any educator. As a leader,
you need to build a sense of community. You need to have meaningful connections and create
an environment where the community comes together as one. Working together as a team is
necessary for the success of not just those we are educating but for those who are doing the
Unfortunately, teachers often tend to isolate themselves. Isolation is not effective.
When a team culture is established, people begin to learn from each other and grow together. As
a leader, you need to create a culture of “I Got You” not “Got You.”
Building a team isn’t easy, but it will be one of the most important things you could do.
When you walk into a school with an established team, you feel it immediately. The building
has an aura of excitement, you feel that sense of pride. The achievements of the entire
organization is celebrated. Each member of the team feels proud of their contribution to the
success of the organization as a whole. The culture is built around supporting each other.
Building a team is not only establishing a common theme, it’s creating something to be proud of.
So…How do you create “the” Team:
- Vision – People can’t be forced to be part of a team, they need to want to be part of
the team. Your vision should be clearly articulated along with how the team will
implement it. Once the team understands how their individual roles will contribute to
the overall success of the community, it will inspire them to achieve it.
Communicating your vision can’t be a “one shot deal” Your vision should be
continuously emphasized with persistence while highlighting successes along the
way. Attitude is infectious and real authentic passion shows.
- Collaboration – Meet with your staff and do it regularly. Weekly meetings with the
entire staff or grade will really contribute to building a team culture. Staff meetings
allow you an opportunity to coach, build rapport and encourage the culture of “I got
you.” Similar to athletic practices, these meetings serve as
opportunities to build relationships, focus on solutions and provide additional time to
collaborate with colleagues. Regular meetings will also give people an opportunity to
engage in a genuine conversation about their craft. As teachers, we don’t have the
ability to “talk-shop” or have “water cooler conversations.” You wouldn’t think so,
but this is needed. It keeps us sane and allows us an opportunity to decompress.
Teaching is a stressful job, acknowledge that!
- Distributive Leadership – A good coach will always encourage, offer advice and
welcome the opportunity to be a mentor. Encouraging leadership plays a critical role
in establishing a team culture. Everyone has something to offer, help find that spark
and cultivate it. Align that passion to the vision and encourage members to fly solo.
- Communication – Clear communication is key. People need to be on the same page.
Don’t be afraid to over communicate. Don’t be afraid to provide feedback. Don’t be
afraid to be honest. The older I get, the more I realize that people appreciate honesty.
Find a method of communication that works and use it.
- Compassion– Take some time to get to know your staff. This will undoubtedly
strengthen your team. Give shout-outs, celebrate birthdays, write thank you notes,
ask about and celebrate important family milestones. Understand their strengths and
help to make them stronger.
- Goal Setting – Encourage staff to set goals for themselves and their students. It’s
okay to try new things, encourage this philosophy. Setting goals will keep things new
and fresh. Complacency = death. It’s ok to step outside of your comfort zone,
sometimes which is exactly what you need.
- Common Theme – A common theme is a great way to build school spirit, moral and
solidarity. Themes make it easy to coordinate ideas and help to serve as motivation
when you feel as though you are stuck in a rut. Themes also help with student
Have you ever been involved in creating a team? What have you done? What did you find most helpful?
#LeadingWithSWAG #ProudEducator #TeamBuilding