I had a little insight this week whilst running an INSET session at a school in Manchester. Life is always very interesting when you have a revelatory flash, a little "ah-huh" moment ... so what insight did I have?
Teachers are exactly like elite swimmers.
Don't believe me?
Think about it ... the life of a swimmer and the life of a teacher can be very lonely, you are an individual fighting against the current to gain tiny moments of successes, you do so much preparation on your own, assessing your own style, your own motivations .... BUT ....
Ultimately you are also part of a team, a big (and hopefully supportive) team. This team is a group of people who you see on a regular basis, some are there to guide you and give you advice, other's may be your "competitors," other's your equals, but they are there, a rock-solid team. As a swimmer, being part of the greater
So during this INSET session I also had another lightbulb moment, as I ran the session, I started off addressing people's personal goals, and whilst people did the exercise, there was a certain type of hesitancy, a feeling of being unsure about what their goals actually were ... it was when we got to the team (or whole school) goal that every single teacher came alive.
It was magic!
You see, when people come together as a whole and can see where there are problems, or great things to be created, the energy shifts to one of collaboration and endeavour. People suddenly can't wait to write down an idea, or shout out a solution, there is brainstorming and dynamism, a drive to make the change that needs to be made.
This process confirmed for me that you cannot close yourself off from other people when there are things to be done, whether that be something for yourself or for and with others. Even creating an individual goal should be created within the space of a team/group, where you can bounce ideas of people, get the support that you need, and create the fire in your belly that being part of a collective can create.
So how can you successfully set goals as a team ... or in this case, as a whole school?
#1 - You need to have a leader and/or SMT (Senior Management Team) who are passionate about embracing change and also are confident enough to say that change is needed. So are you a leader or member of the SMT? Really have a think about how the dynamics of your school works ... do your member of staff feel they can come to you with any problems they may have? Do you have a clear vision for your school? What is your staff and pupil wellbeing like? Do you have a wellbeing plan in place?
Once you answer these questions you might have an idea about what kind of goals you need to look at, and also how the school works as a team.
#2 - Organise an all staff meeting at the beginning of each academic year/term and use it to open a discussion about what goals the school should establish and also map the steps to achieving these goals. Each person should get a say, but have a pre-selected person running the the meeting, so there is order. Collectively select and write down two or three goals that the entire school/staff can work towards.
#3 - Ensure that everyone has a part to play in achieving the goal, this means allocating certain actions and/or steps to members of staff, as well as having some steps that all members have to do. If there are any activities members of staff feel they can't do, keep the lines of communication open, perhaps there is another member of staff that can take over that action.
Are you a teacher or a member of a team in business? What else would you like to know about setting a goal within a team dynamic? Let me know in the comments below.
Here is a goal mapping sheet you can use for your team ...
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright