Educational Management Administration & Leadership 2012 Barnett 653 71

Description Administration & Leadership Educational Management The online version of this article can be found at:   DOI: 10.1177/1741143212456909 September 2012 2012 40: 653 originally published online 28 Educational Management Administration & Leadership Kerry Barnett and John McCormick Leadership and Team Dynamics in Senior Executive Leadership Teams     Published by: On behalf of:     British Educat
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Transcript  Administration & LeadershipEducational Management online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1741143212456909September 2012 2012 40: 653 srcinally published online 28 Educational Management Administration & Leadership  Kerry Barnett and John McCormick Leadership and Team Dynamics in Senior Executive Leadership Teams  Published by: On behalf of:  British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society  can be found at: Educational Management Administration & Leadership  Additional services and information for Email Alerts: Subscriptions: Reprints: Permissions: Citations:  What is This? - Sep 28, 2012OnlineFirst Version of Record - Oct 23, 2012Version of Record >> at U.A.E University on July 7, 2014ema.sagepub.comDownloaded from at U.A.E University on July 7, 2014ema.sagepub.comDownloaded from    Article Leadership and TeamDynamics in Senior ExecutiveLeadership Teams Kerry Barnett and John McCormick  Abstract As secondary school environments become increasingly complex, shifts are occurring in the wayleadership is being practised. New leadership practices emphasize shared or distributed leadership.A senior executive leadership team with responsibility for school leadership is likely to be one of the many, varied forms of new leadership practices adopted in secondary schools. However,research has shown that many teams do not reach their potential and many more fail. Therefore,the purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the processes that underlie seniorexecutive leadership team performance and effectiveness. A multi-case study design was used.Three randomly selected senior executive leadership teams from government secondary schoolswithin the Sydney metropolitan area, in New South Wales, Australia participated. Data wereobtained from individual, digitally recorded face-to-face semi-structured interviews. The findingsfrom this exploratory study suggest that complex environmental events necessitated a shift fromsingle leader to team centred leadership in these three schools. Principals in the study played acritical role, fulfilling the role of team leader, and applying leadership functions flexibly to enableteam development, management and effectiveness. Further, the results provide insights into theinnate complexity of leadership conducted synchronously by a collective. Keywords leadership teams, shared leadership, shared team psychological states, vertical leadership Introduction Secondary school education contexts are characterized by complexity, diversity and uncertainty posing significant challenges that are potentially overwhelming for the individual school leader.Many have responded by shifting from leader centred to team centred leadership, sharingleadership responsibilities and building leadership capabilities of executive staff. The focus of thisstudy is the senior executive leadership team (SELT), composed of a principal and one or more Corresponding author: Kerry Barnett, School of Education, University New South Wales, Kensington, NSW, 2052, AustraliaEmail: Educational ManagementAdministration & Leadership40(6) 653–671 ª The Author(s) 2012Reprints and 10.1177/  at U.A.E University on July 7, 2014ema.sagepub.comDownloaded from   deputy principals. A SELT’s primary goals relate to school leadership. SELTs’ leadership is likelyto be one of the many, varied forms of distributed leadership (Gronn, 2000; Harris, 2008).In general terms, teams have been defined as ‘ . . .  two or more individuals with specified rolesinteracting, adaptively, interdependently and dynamically toward a common valued goal’ (Salaset al., 2005: 562). Teams can enable organizational innovation, agility and adaptability critical for success in uncertain and unpredictable times (Burke et al., 2006). However, teams are not easilydeveloped (Hackman, 1998); many teams do not reach their potential and many more fail(Wageman et al., 2008). Zaccaro et al., (2009: 83) contended that this is largely due to process lossor ‘the failure of team members to combine individual capabilities in a concerted direction’. Theyand others (Kozlowski et al., 2009: 83–84) have strongly argued that team leaders and teamleadership are critical for ‘helping teams reach and maintain a state of minimal process loss’ and ‘achieve team synergy’.Despite team based leadership becoming the norm in many organizations, only recently hasthere been an influx of theoretical models and empirical research in non-school contexts, whichdescribe how team leaders and leadership contribute to the processes and emergent states thatunderlie team performance and team effectiveness (Kozlowski et al., 2009; Zaccaro et al.,2009). Although we acknowledge this important progress in understanding how teams function,we agree with the contention of others (Salas et al., 2009) that, this literature needs to be balanced with studies investigating teams in the real world. Hence, the purpose of this exploratory study wasto investigate relationships between team leaders, leadership and team processes, which underlieteam performance and effectiveness in the context of secondary schools. Literature Review Leadership Processes Most studies of leadership in teams have used what has been called a functional approach in that,‘ . . .  [the leader’s] main job is to do, or get done, whatever is not being adequately handled for teamneeds’ (McGrath, 1962: 5). The functional leadership approach defines leadership as social problemsolving, in which a leader helps team members solve problems in the team’s operating environment by generating solutions and strategies for team goal accomplishment (Fleishman et al., 1991). Burkeet al. (2006) have suggested three core team leadership functions: direction setting; managing teamoperations and developing team leadership capacity to manage its own problem solving processes;and enabling team performance. Although, the team leader should ensure these critical functions areaccomplished, they need not be accomplished personally by the team leader (traditional or verticalleadership), but by team members (shared or distributed leadership) (Burke et al., 2003). Traditionalor vertical leadership emphasizes the importance of individuals who occupy the role of team leader with responsibility for directing and managing the team (Zaccaro et al., 2009). Shared or distributed leadership emphasizes team leadership in which responsibility for directing and managing the team becomes shared or distributed among team members (Zaccaro et al., 2009).Direction setting includes information search and structuring and information use in problemsolving. Information search and structuring refers to the leader’s search for information, analysis,organization and interpretation of information inside and outside the team (Fleishman et al., 1991).Information use in problem solving refers to the use of information for problem identification,development of a plan, which coordinates team member expertise, and the communication of the plan to team members (Fleishman et al., 1991). 654  Educational Management Administration & Leadership 40(6)  at U.A.E University on July 7, 2014ema.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Managing team operations includes managing personnel, which involves actions taken torecruit, develop, motivate, coordinate and monitor individuals able to contribute to team goalattainment (Fleishman et al., 1991), and managing material resources refers to actions to obtain,allocate, maintain, utilize and monitor material resources, which may enable the team toaccomplish its goals (Fleishman et al., 1991).Team leadership capacity refers to the ‘team’s collective ability to determine its current level of effectiveness, identify pressing challenges and resultant needs triggered in the team, select and execute appropriate leadership functions to address these needs’ (Morgenson et al., 2010: 304).Development of team leadership capacity may involve a team leader coaching team memberson shared activities related to direction setting and operations management (Zaccaro et al., 2009).Hackman and Wageman (2005) identified three types of coaching important for team effective-ness: motivational coaching for effort needed to build shared commitment to the team and its task;educational coaching, which facilitates the development of team members’ knowledge; and skilland consultative coaching that encourages the adoption of innovative ways of working aligned with task requirements. Team Processes Prior research (Burke et al., 2003) has suggested that four types of team processes enable teams toadapt and perform effectively: cognitive (for example, shared mental models), motivational; (for example, cohesion and collective efficacy); affective (for example, team climate); and coordina-tive (for example, backup and performance monitoring) processes.Importantly, Mathieu et al. (2000) have demonstrated that team performance depends on theemergence of shared mental models, which allow individuals to describe, explain and predictevents in their environments in the same way. At the team level, shared mental models are‘ . . .  knowledge structures held by members of a team that enable them to form accurateexplanations for the task, and in turn coordinate actions and adapt their behaviour to demandsof the task and other team members’ (Cannon-Bowers et al., 1993: 228). Although, there arelikely to be multiple mental models ideally shared among team members, task and team mentalmodels are needed for a team to perform successfully, and shared task mental models describe procedures and strategies for task accomplishment (Mathieu et al., 2000). Shared team mentalmodels include team interaction and team member models. A team interaction model describesroles and responsibilities of team members, patterns of team interaction, exchange of informa-tion and interdependence of roles and sources of information (Mathieu et al., 2000). A teammember mental model describes team members’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, preferences and tendencies (Mathieu et al., 2000).Zaccaro et al. (2001) suggested that team motivation comes from team cohesion and collective efficacy. Team cohesion has been defined in two ways: the degree to which teammembers are attracted to, and motivated to stay with, the team (Zaccaro et al., 1995); and howresistant the team is to disrupting influences (Carron, 1982). Hackman (1976) argued that teamcohesion might have a social or task focus. Social cohesion refers to the strength and number of friendships in a team (Zaccaro et al., 2001). Task cohesion occurs because of the necessity for collective effort to achieve goals otherwise unattainable through individual team member effort(Zaccaro et al., 2001).Collective efficacy is an analogue of self-efficacy at the team level and is defined as ‘ . . .  agroup’s shared belief in its conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action Barnett and McCormick: Leadership and Team Dynamics  655  at U.A.E University on July 7, 2014ema.sagepub.comDownloaded from 
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