Identifying Leadership Behaviors - Steve Barkley

Identifying Leadership Behaviors

This week I facilitated planning sessions with K12 building principals and their administrative teams including instructional coaches. The purpose of the sessions was to identify leadership behaviors that would support student achievement in their schools and plan for taking action on those behaviors. Working with my backwards planning model, you identify student achievement goals and then plan backwards to identify leadership behaviors. Implementation begins with the leadership behaviors that initiate the required teacher actions.


The facilitation was built around three questions. Some presentation and reflection questions and discussion preceded the teams’ exploration of the planning questions.

1. How does your leadership team focus the staff on goals and expectations for student achievement?

Before working on this question we discussed the need for establishing a school vision of academic success for all students. We explored the need for teachers to set learning goals for all students. I presented this example where sixth grade math teachers set learning goals for all their students and presented those goals for discussion with 7th and 8th grade teachers. When math learning goals were set for all students, the math chairperson presented those goals to the school leadership team.


2.  How does your leadership team create support structures and opportunities for teachers to collaborate?

Before having the teams work on this question, I asked them to assess the current status of teaming and collaboration using my individual….franchise…. team continuum.


I asked the teams to consider what their staffs would say encourages or supports collaboration and what discourages or hinders collaboration.  I had the group revisit the leadership tasks that I identified from Lencioni’s work The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and consider what teaming facilitation skills might need to be offered as professional development for teachers.


3.  If educators spent time in your school, what would they observe that is congruent with the school’s vision in action and what might they consider as incongruent?

I concluded the session by having the administrative and coaching leaders plan their actions with the following questions:


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