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The Skillful Team Leader
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The Skillful Team Leader
A Resource for Overcoming Hurdles to Professional Learning for Student Achievement



March 2013 | 208 pages | Corwin
"Teacher teams have become a common fixture of North American schools. However, not all teams make the best use of their meeting time by engaging in sustained, professional learning. Written in a clear, practitioner-friendly style, this book provides team leaders with an array of useful strategies to address common team hurdles and realize the promise of powerful, collaborative learning."

—Jim Knight, Author of Instructional Coaching

"This book is a fantastic resource for someone who leads teams every day. The vignettes echo the very real challenges that I continually see in team meetings. The book is organized so that I can easily find practical strategies to apply right away when I am facing major challenges in my daily work."

— Karen Coyle Aylward, Literacy Coach and Team Leader

Boston, MA

Get the most out of your PLCs and teacher teams!

All teams face hurdles. What distinguishes the skillful team leader from a less effective one is his or her approach in overcoming them. Whether you are a team leader or a trainer of team leaders, this book is an essential resource for you.

Elisa MacDonald offers a skillful approach to team leadership rooted in values, mindset, intelligence, and skill. Readers will learn from reality-based examples illustrating common team hurdles in collaboration, shared leadership, goal setting and attainment, rigorous discourse, and continuous improvement. This practical guide features:

Research-based and field-tested solutions for preventing and overcoming hurdles

Brief follow-up sections with tips for sustaining positive change

Ways to work beyond the team to shape and influence school culture

Prompts to apply learning to your own leadership hurdles

A common chapter format for easy reference and flexible use

 
Dilemma Questions Index
 
List of Figures and Tables
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Part I. Foundations
 
1. A Skillful Approach
A Note From One Team Leader to Another

 
The Need for Skillful Team Leadership

 
An Introduction to a Skillful Approach: Values, Mindset, Intelligence, Skill

 
Important Information Regarding the Writing and Organization of This Book

 
 
2. Mindful About Mindset
Mindset

 
Deconstructing the Fundamental Mindset Questions

 
The Developing Mind

 
Can We Change Our Minds?

 
Hurdles to Maintaining a Growth Mindset

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Fixed Mindset Culture to a Growth Mindset Culture

 
A Final Word

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
Part II. Hurdles
 
3. Alone Together: Overcoming Hurdles to Foster a High-Functioning, High-Impact Collaborative Team
What Is Collaboration, and Why Is It Needed?

 
Hurdles to Fostering a High-Functioning, High-Impact Collaborative Team

 
Considerations for Group Agreements

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Culture of Alone Together to a Collaborative Culture

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
4. Not It: Overcoming Hurdles to Achieve Shared Leadership for Learning
What Is Shared Leadership, and Why Is It Important?

 
Hurdles to Achieving Shared Leadership for Learning

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Culture of Dependency to a Culture of Shared Decision Making

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
5. Seemingly SMART: Overcoming Hurdles to Set and Attain Impactful Goals
What Are SMART Goals, and Why Are They Important?

 
Hurdles to Setting and Attaining Impactful SMART Goals

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Scapegoat Culture to a Culture of Mutual Accountability

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
6. Off-Course Discourse: Overcoming Hurdles to Lead a Team in Rigorous Discourse
What Is Rigorous Discourse, and Why Is It Important?

 
Hurdles to Leading a Team in Rigorous Discourse

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Culture of Nice to an Honest, Up-front Culture

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
7. Inertia: Overcoming Hurdles to Lead an Action-Oriented Team for Continuous Improvement
What Are Action-Oriented Teams, and Why Are They Important?

 
Hurdles to Leading an Action-Oriented Team for Continuous Improvement

 
Consider School Culture: Shifting From a Culture Acidic to Change to a Culture of Continuous Improvement

 
Application to Your Work: Connect, Observe, Explore, Act

 
 
A Closing Note
 
Resources
Resource 3.1 Function vs. Impact

 
Resource 3.2 Team Function, Impact Matrix Indicators

 
Resource 3.3 Compass Points: An Exercise in Understanding Styles in Group Work

 
Resource 3.4 Hopes and Fears Exercise

 
Resource 4.1 Adapted Consultancy Protocol

 
Resource 4.2 Is Your School Leadership at Its Highest Leadership Capacity?

 
Resource 5.1 Making the Shift From Seemingly SMART to SMART

 
Resource 5.2 SMA-H-RT Guiding Questions

 
Resource 5.3 Data Analysis Protocol

 
Resource 6.1 Six Phases of Adapting Data-Driven Instruction

 
 
References
 
Index

“Teacher teams have become a common fixture of North American schools. However, not all teams make the best use of their meeting time by engaging in sustained, professional learning. Written in a clear, practitioner-friendly style, this book provides team leaders with an array of useful strategies to address common team hurdles and realize the promise of powerful, collaborative learning.”

Jim Knight, Author of Instructional Coaching

"This book is a fantastic resource for me someone who leads teams every day. The vignettes echo the very real challenges that I continually see in team meetings. The book is organized so that I can easily find practical strategies to apply right away when I am facing major challenges in my daily work."

Karen Coyle Aylward, Literacy Coach and Team Leader

"This book has become an indispensible guide for me and my leaders. MacDonald has masterfully drawn from her own experiences and from experts in the field to create a practical resource for anyone involved in leadership development or wanting to improve his or her own leadership skills."

Emily Becker, School Innovation Partner
Partners in School Innovation

"No matter what situation a leader or coach finds themselves in, the answer is going to be somewhere between the pages of this text. Having alternate routes to consider is a plus to the problem solving."

Roxie Ahlbrecht, Math Intervention Specialist
Sioux Falls Public Schools 49-5, SD

"This book does an excellent job of living up to its title. The author addresses a variety of roadblocks leaders face—whether they are teachers or administrators—and offers suggestions to help overcome these obstacles."

David G. Daniels, High School Principal
Susquehanna Valley Schools, Conklin, NY

"MacDonald’s book provides “real talk” and real solutions to problems that arise in schools. She does not tip toe around issues. She confronts them and writes about practical ways to both avoid potential hurdles and deal with issues when they arise."

Carline Kelly, Teacher
Brighton High School, MA

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: A Skillful Approach


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ISBN: 9781452218830

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