Collegiality and teamwork
A school is an example of a learning community where collegiality and teamwork are vital to the success of the institution.
This relates to similar importance of the same in professional communities. To begin with we find that collegiality and teamwork are almost synonymous and are used to mean working together as a group participating in different roles that contribute to the success of the group.
Teamwork and collegiality can contribute to the success of a school, college or university when different leadership styles are used in combination to suit different prevailing circumstances.
There are styles that encourage members of the community to give their ideas freely and to participate in decision making. Through contribution of ideas on specific situation the school community is able to choose from a wide range of the ideas and come up with the best one. Working as a team also leads to collective decision making where each member of the team feels part of the decision.
There are other reasons that make collegiality and teamwork important. These are such things as comradeship which prevails among the members of the learning fraternity. This gives encouragement to the weaker members as they are assured of support from their colleagues whenever they get stuck. Working as a team and colleagues the team members appreciate one another as each performs a part of a role while the other performs the other part.
This way each member appreciates capability of the other and the importance of the part they play towards accomplishing team goals and objectives. This appreciation reinforces the comradeship among the members of the learning institutions. The top management team plays its role by the subordinate staff perform the other part to complete the process of achieving success in the learning institutions.
The other importance of teamwork and collegiality is that people in the teams such as is the case in the learning communities receive from and give positive criticism to the other members. This is good in that it encourages members to improve on their performance when judged by others as not performing well.
According to Roger Mottram`s research, there were eight leadership styles which were identified. These include autocratic leadership, task oriented leadership, innovative leadership servant or team leadership, people oriented leadership, transformational leadership, transactional leadership which is associated with sharper’s roles among others (http://www.mindtools.com/pages/artile/newLDR_84.htm).
Democratic leadership / managerial style is the one that which encourages participation the staff. When this style is used the leader puts employee welfare before production but also does not give the former undue emphasis. This kind of leader only exercises a general rather than a close supervision. The leaders using these styles encourage their followers to generate ideas and participate in decision making.
Democratic leadership has the advantage in that it encourages long-term employee development and commitment. It is also worth noting that this style can also pose a draw back in that it makes the leadership of the supervisor/ manager too much employee- centered and this in turn can lead to diminishing production or performance and ultimately low morale.
Autocratic leadership style is the other style and it means that the leader decides on everything. This is portrayed in the high directive style where the manager / leader formulates directives and communicates to the subordinates. The example of the chairperson in a school or other learning communities can be given as being autocratic. This style sometimes balances with the character of being creative, enthusiastic and people oriented and thus direct people in the said community.
When autocratic style is in use there are conditions of high tension and hostility, among the team members towards the leader as well as to each other. In this style there may be incidences when some individuals take up passive, uninvolved roles. This kind of leadership can negatively affect production or performance delivered by the employees i.e. those being led by the autocratic leader.
Another leadership style is the bureaucratic one that is possessed by the monitor evaluator which involves following set procedures to accomplish some task, solve problems, or perform any function. Usually this style emphasis strict adherence to the formality yet there are time saving short cuts to performance of such functions. This kind of style can be equated with conservative style which believes in status quo even at a time when things have changed a great deal. This style can be beneficial in that problems associated with doing things through the short cuts can be avoided. On its disadvantage it can be said to be a time wasting style of leadership.
There is also the resource investigator leadership role. This is whereby the workers are given too much room to make decision with little or no participation of the leader in decision making. It is good particularly when left to experienced workers who are self-starters and poses the initiative to find, create and explore resources inside and out side the company. These workers require support from the top management. It can dangerous when such responsibility and freedom is given to inexperienced employees.
Servant leadership style is the one whereby the leader is not formally recognized.
The leader leads by practically meeting the needs of the team. It is closely related to democratic or participative leadership
In an organization like a school there is also need for a task oriented leader who can equally be called the completer. Task orientation as leadership style is involved with making sure that all tasks are finished promptly.
Another leadership style identified is the transformational leadership. The company worker plays the role of a transformational leader. In this style a true leader inspires his/ her team constantly with common shared vision. The leader spends most time communicating and has infectious enthusiasm. This type of leadership requires support from experts in order to achieve the vision. The style is characterized by concern for looking after initiatives that add value.
People or relation-oriented leadership style is the other one identified in Mottram’s research. This is also related with team worker or chairperson’s role in the school community situation. The team worker should be present and his or her role is to make sure that the feelings of the members of the team as well concerns and needs are properly attended to. Most of his/ her concern is the others’ welfare in the team. This is focused on organizing, supporting and developing the people in the team. It is concerned with creation of good collaboration between different partners in the team.
Based on my experience some styles are more effective to the school environment than others. For instance democratic leadership can be voted as the best style that encourages teamwork and collegiality even in the school environment.
In an environment like this where we have the management, employees (teachers), parents and students the worst style, can be the authoritarian style. This can adversely affect the performance of the school on different spectrums i.e. academic performance, financial performance among others.
Application of research findings/ conclusion
Teams are groups of individuals who come together and work together for a common goal. Teams are built in stages which include forming stage, norming stage, performing and lastly adjourning stage. It is important to identify one of these stages that require a strategic approach in order to increase the chances of survival of the team in the long run.
Forming stage is the most critical point in team building whereby a different member who possesses different features, capabilities and visions come together for a common goal. Strategic planning needs to be in place in order to align these diverse people’s visions and characteristics. For example when recruiting it is important to consider people who can promote diversity through free participation in idea generation on what should be done.
To effectively succeed in forming and sustaining a good team performance a combination of different leadership styles is essential. In real word situation no single style can deliver excellent results alone thus combinations works better. For example in the school environment the democratic type, the transformational, and people oriented style can work well in combination to deliver very good results.
The monitor evaluator leadership which is also closely related to bureaucratic leadership can also be used in situations involving serious health risks in the school environment e.g. when handling electric gadgets or electronic equipment. This style can also work well in combination with the transactional style which is best suited for management whereby members agree to obey their leaders totally while performing their duties.
Styles like autocratic style and transactional style do not auger well with the staff because they feel as not having enough freedom to contribute ideas and participate in decision making.
Leadership styles – using the right one for your situation. Available at
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/artile/newLDR_84.htm. Accessed on August 22, 2007