Getting the right mix of personalities in your leadership team has never been more crucial.
Because how individuals on your team interact (and behave) affects the functioning of your whole school.
So how do you get there?
It's been shown that when people:
- Understand their own preferred style in terms of personality and communication...
- And know how to work with colleagues with a different preferred style...
...teams function more effectively, communicate more easily, are more decisive - and experience fewer conflicts.
Which, with Lockdown v3 now in place, is essential.
Because these qualities will divide schools into those that appear in control of events, and those who look like they're struggling to keep up.
One way of getting that knowledge is to assess your team using the DISC profile.
In today's article, I've invited Faye Whittle, who's an experienced Inclusion Consultant, to discuss how schools can use DISC profiles to build teams that make molehills out of mountains (and not vice versa!)
Simon: What do leadership teams need to do well to meet the current challenges in schools?
Faye: Schools face many challenges – governance, legislation, social challenges, budgetary challenges… and not least a global pandemic!
That means school leaders and their teams need to be able to work together effectively and quickly.
Leadership teams must have a range of strengths – not just in the area of technical expertise – but also the ‘softer’ skills that training doesn’t often provide.
Simon: How is personality and behaviour analysis valuable to schools?
Faye: Understanding your own personality preferences - and the preferences of others - is crucial to effective working.
Considerations such as how do you process information, how do you prefer to communicate, how much detail do you need, what are the conditions you need to be effective, what values are most important to you, are all vital components.
Think about the elite sports teams that we see achieving winning results. Each player knows their position, the coach knows the strengths of each individual player and the strength of the team combined.
They also know the areas of weakness and action areas. The players learn how to communicate with each other and are motivated through their desire to achieve a common goal.
Our school leadership teams are no different in terms of the training and support needed to ensure they are effective and achieve the school’s ambition.
But quite often this preparation is overlooked. When the team needs to be at its peak performance, that understanding is lacking.
So communication is ineffective - and opportunities are lost.
That’s why we use the DISC process. It helps school leaders understand the personalities (and behaviours) of key members of their team.
Simon: How easy is the process?
Faye: Team members answer a short online questionnaire about their preferences.
We generate a comprehensive report from their answers that provides insight to the individual on:
- what drives them
- what their communication needs are
- what environment they feel most comfortable in
- how they prefer to process information.
Simon: Do teachers have to make sense of the report themselves?
Faye: The findings of the report are provided in a feedback session with an accredited coach. Potential areas for personal growth are discussed along with tips on how to work with people that have different preferences to themselves.
Then we put together a report that looks at the dynamics of the entire group. This gives you the strengths of the team and lets you know where there are areas of challenge, or blind spots.
Leaders get in-depth insight into their team’s individual and combined areas, so they can see where this aligns with the school’s strategic priorities and where there may be potential gaps.
Simon: How have other schools used this information? What was the impact?
Faye: DISC gives individuals a way to communicate about themselves without feeling judged. Often, emotions are entirely left out of the conversation when discussing a person’s DISC style because DISC focuses on our behaviours.
Teachers have positively reported that it provides insight into the personalities, preferences and styles of the colleagues they work alongside and helps to prevent conflict. That insight also helps ensure all voices are heard during meetings - or when decisions need to be made.
Using this knowledge can also help teachers to improve relationships with parents and students that they might have struggled to communicate effectively with in the past.
And, of course, school leaders are using this to improve how their teams interact and make decisions.
Simon: If our readers want to know more, what can they do?
Faye: The first step is to set up a discovery call with myself (email me at firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can talk about the challenges and opportunities facing your school at the moment. Of course, there's no obligation to buy.
If you want to go ahead, we'll quickly send you links to an assessment and book in a feedback session. I work with Lynsey Kitching accredited (DISC provider and leadership coach) to provide this support.
Special offer (10% off)
If you book a DISC assessment with Faye before the end of February 2021, say you were referred by Beacon School Support, and you'll get a 10% discount on pricing.
Beacon School Support won't receive any commission for referrals. I wrote this article because we recently went through the process ourselves and found it very useful... and believe it would be of benefit to schools as well.