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Do your leaders drive performance or drive administration?

For so long I have watched leaders in schools focus their energy and time on administrative duties. I put myself at the top of this list. Faculty Heads for example, spend so much time in curriculum admin and documentation, file arranging, budgeting and other compliance tasks. This is not a judgement call; this is just what we leaders do. We see a task that needs to be completed and we dive in. Easier to do it ourselves sometimes than delegate to a team member right? Complete this sentence, "By the time I explain it, I may as well........".

Dealing with teacher performance issues is something we also do. But this is usually when there's a problem such as a parent or student complaint. And if it's a serious issue, then the Principal or Deputy will handle it. If there are no complaints, then we can get on with administering the faculty.

So many studies, especially here in Australia, are pointing to teacher performance and development needing to be addressed. Unfortunately it has been tied to the politically charged performance-pay debate and thankfully this was dropped in the latest Award negotiations between teacher unions and the Victorian government. BUT that does not mean we should stop talking about teacher performance and development!

So what's this got to do with leadership? PLENTY!!
Managing teacher performance and development should not be something else leaders do. It should be ALL they do. Leadership roles need to be defined and designed with staff performance and development being the main focus of the role. Yes there would always be admin responsibilities associated with these roles, but these should not be the focus of the role. For starters, if the word 'coordinator' is part of any leader's job title then you've probably got a leadership position destined for admin duties.

At the school I currently work in, we've taken the decision to redefine leadership roles and leadership structures on the premise that they exist in order to lead teams and drive team performance. All roles have the word leader in them and they only exist if they involve the leading of a team.

Roles with an admin focus, like daily organisation, were taken out of leadership and moved to admin services. Whilst this is a very important role in the school, crucial in fact, it didn't fit our leadership model. So we moved it and in the process provided a career growth opportunity to our non-teaching staff. In my last post I explained our structure for teacher objective setting. It is this structure that provides the framework for our leaders to work with their team members to drive performance and development.

So where to from here?
If your school is looking to review middle management I suggest you start with thinking about what your questions are rather than the solution.
For example:
On a strategic level, what do we want leadership to be about?
What leadership structures do we need to create that mirrors our strategic approach?
How do we support our leaders in these roles?
What is the language we need to start using?
......and there are a stack more but you need to identify these according to your school's needs.

Would love to hear your views on this so please please please send in your feedback.

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