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How Teams Work

How Teams Work
A Playbook for Distributing Leadership

Illustrations by Taryl Hansen

April 2024 | 128 pages | Corwin

Foster Trust, Accountability and Engagement in Your Teams

Creating strong, cohesive teams is an art, and How Teams Work: A Playbook for Distributing Leadership is the essential guide for school leaders looking to master this craft. This interactive playbook doesn't just advise but actively equips leaders with the tools they need to foster trust, accountability, and engagement in their teams.

School leaders today face a critical mandate: to empower, engage, and work in concert with their teams to foster a positive and productive school environment. How Teams Work doesn't offer mere platitudes—it offers practical strategies and tools, with concept maps, learning intentions, team challenges, reflection prompts and more. Information is organized into six modules exploring:

  • The foundational role leaders play in team dynamics
  • Strategies to bring together and mobilize effective leadership teams
  • Methods to forge and maintain team unity and collaboration
  • How to build and maintain trust and respect within teams
  • Practical tools for maximizing team productivity and decision-making
  • Guidelines on reflective leadership to assess and improve team performance

How Teams Work isn't only a resource; it's a roadmap to sustainable success, illuminating the path to nurturing leadership at every level. In an age where the turnover of educators is high and the need for sustained, collective school improvement efforts is urgent, leveraging the power of teams isn't just advantageous—it's essential.

Module 1: Leading Teams is the Work of Leaders
Module 2: Activating Leadership Teams
Module 3: Creating Leadership Team Cohesion
Module 4: Conveying Collective Leadership Team Credibility
Module 5: Leveraging Processes, Protocols, and Tools for Leadership Teams
Module 6: Thinking Evaluatively as Leadership Teams
A Call to Action: Rethinking Leadership Teams

This sums up my thinking about leading teams: Observation, conversation and evaluation are the heartbeats of building and sustaining leadership teams!

Timothy Blackwell
Principal, Arden elementary School, Columbia, SC

This is a MUST read for anyone who takes on the role of leadership in education. Fisher and Frey make the compelling case, with a sense of urgency, for a new way of leading schools through expanded, empowered, and engaged school leadership teams. They argue that doing anything less is irresponsible and fraught with consequences! How Teams Work provides a perfect synergism of reflection, insight, and learning that leads to sustained, competent, cohesive, and credible leadership teams.

Tyler Gilbert
Academic Coach, Calwa Elementary School, Fresno Unified School District

This book goes beyond basic personality tips to generate shared leadership opportunities. Creating schools with shared leadership teams must have successful processes and protocols to create teams who live with purpose, speaking in unison. 

Amy Klung
Principal, Bluewater Elementary, Niceville, FL

How Teams Work makes it clear that distributive leadership is not about delegating responsibilities or lightening the proverbial workload of the principal. Instead, it is an opportunity to empower and engage teachers and other staff members as decision-makers and leaders in their own right. After reading this publication, I am convinced that leadership teams are some of our most underutilized and undervalued resources. 

Quantina Haggwood
Executive Director of Schools, Richland District One, Columbia SC

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ISBN: 9781071948743