Extract from a Personal Statement (for a job I didn’t get!)
TEAM LEADERSHIP – MAINTAINING AN EFFECTIVE TEAM: DAVID E WATTERS
As a proactive and collaborative member of many Educational Management Teams, I have always led by providing principled, practical leadership on inclusion, equality and diversity; by developing departmental vision and supporting my team to realize this vision; by keeping abreast of policy initiatives and trends to help in ‘future proofing’ the work of each organization; and by creating and maintaining a culture that enables managers, teachers and support staff to provide teaching and learning that is up to date, innovative, relevant and which meets development and progression requirements of learners.
Individualised leadership is as important as individualised teaching and as a Leaning and Development Coordinator, Head of Department at GCC, Equality Coordinator and as Director of NBI Associates I have found that the Belbin Model has proved a useful tool in assessing character traits of individuals within the team. The system clearly has some credibility but I would not base judgements entirely upon this. We are all more complex than this system suggests and although Belbin does state that individuals can cross over into a number of roles, I personally still find his 9 roles to be limiting.
My teams have functioned well and this, I feel, is due to the shared backgrounds of each team member. Coming from disciplined backgrounds and having qualified in our specialist areas at respected institutions, the team have an understanding of the required standards necessary for our students to progress into Higher Education. Clear communication and cooperation with regards to collaboration has always been actively pursued within any team that I have lead. Support and supervision with regards to staff welfare and professional development have ensured a positive and productive student-focussed ethos which enables an encouraging, dynamic and industrious environment. Consistency in expectations across disciplines has a positive impact upon learners and whilst some students may initially find the intense demands of a disciplined life to be challenging, they come to understand that this is a necessary aspect to achieving their real potential.
I believe that a team requires leadership and not management; that respectful communication promotes healthy collaboration which benefits both staff and students; acknowledgement of strengths and support given in areas of weakness are vital to a positive and productive team. As a leader I see my role as one of support and supervision, of encouragement and empowerment. In many ways I feel that my team best meets the needs of our customers (the learners) when I follow Adair’s guidelines of: Planning – seeking information, defining tasks, setting aims Initiating – briefing, task allocation, setting standards; Controlling – maintaining standards, ensuring progress, on-going decision-making; Supporting – individuals’ contributions, encouraging, team spirit, reconciling, morale; Informing – clarifying tasks and plans, updating, receiving feedback and interpreting and; Evaluating – feasibility of ideas, performance, and enabling self-assessment.
In providing a collaborative, equitable and respectful style of management in accordance with organizational policies and procedures, regarding induction for permanent and agency staff, auditing staff development needs and supporting the monitoring and review of the outcomes and impact of these, I have helped to strengthen the collective achievements of each organization. Additionally, this has been achieved by encouraging an active and innovative approach to teaching and learning, which is personalized and student-centered, planning and ensuring staff improvement and the development of courses which meet student, employer, further and higher education needs.
Most recent leadership of staff has been as E&D Coordinator with responsibility for devising and delivering staff development initiatives. I have facilitated training across 2 campuses for Business Support and Academic Staff on areas relating to the Equality Act 2010. This is detailed in an earlier question but to summarise, I have delivered training which introduced the Equality Act, separate sessions on each Protected Characteristic, subject specific training and guest speaking to assist teacher contextualise the act in their vocational setting, and additional training in 2013/14 on Raising Achievement, Dealing with Challenging Behaviour, Bullying and Cyber-bullying and Active Citizenship. Having received this training, colleagues are now lead and supported in their own delivery of each topic to both staff and students and this has involved mentoring and on-going support to ensure consistency with an element of flexibility and creativity; all of which illustrates my ability to successfully lead staff including building and maintaining an effective team.