What leaders can do to ensure strong teamwork

One of a leaders’ most important responsibilities is to ensure strong teamwork within the school community.

This post from February 2013 lists three “essentials” for the development and maintenance of effective teams.

Effective teamwork requires that leaders do 3 things

Strong teams are the the foundation of school cultures infused with interpersonal accountability, experimentation, and the continuous improvement of teaching and learning.

Effective teamwork requires that leaders do three things:

1. Believe in the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is based on the assumption that the school community can accomplish more when its members work together than alone. If leaders don’t truly believe that teams are the building blocks of continuous improvement, “teamwork” will be perfunctory, at best.

2. Have a deep understanding of the attributes of effective teamwork. Strong teamwork begins with principals and teacher leaders understanding the qualities that distinguish effective from ineffective teams and from other task-related groups in schools. 

3. Have a plan to continuously improve the functioning of teams. Planning begins with a clear sense of the current functioning of each team and of its next level of development.

The Rush-Henrietta School District near Rochester, New York developed a helpful rubric that explains the attributes of effective teams and what they look like in practice. A more complete explanation of the three requirements discussed above and the Rush-Henrietta rubric can be found here. 

Question: What has your experience taught you about effective teamwork and how to develop and support it?

4 Responses to “What leaders can do to ensure strong teamwork”


  1. 1 rickrepicky April 10, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Experience shows that working through teams is the best way to involve a faculty in the change process. A team format allows leaders to get & address teacher input regarding making/implementing change better than presenting to a large faculty as a whole. To focus teams, building leadership needs to provide 4 things:
    – A core of teacher leaders to work with admin to adapt the changes
    & show teacher voice is respected before presenting to the teams
    – Constant team coaching to maintain focus
    – Time for teams to meet
    – A supportive accountability forum for teams to present their work

  2. 3 Kent Peterson April 10, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Dennis, great work. Keep it coming….


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