CPD workshop: Leading your team effectively

Written by: Steve Burnage | Published:
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Continuing his regular series, Steve Burnage talks us through CPD ideas that can be adapted. He offers a template for a 45-minute workshop with free handouts and slides on our website. This instalment looks at developing the skills and knowledge of those new to middle leadership

The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of a 45-minute interactive training session that could be suitable for a middle leadership meeting, development group, small group CPD session or for individual study.

The training outline is included here while the PowerPoint slides and an accompanying participant’s handout is available to download by clicking the buttons above.

Slide 1: Welcome

In order to facilitate today’s training, you will need:

  • Copies of the PowerPoint slides printed three to a page with space for notes for each participant.
  • Copies of the accompanying “Leading your team” handout for each participant.
  • Flip chart paper and marker pens.

Slide 2: Outcomes

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

  • Describe the benefits of being an empowering team leader.
  • Recognise the characteristics of empowering team leaders.
  • Identify blocks, barriers and traps that make being an empowering team leader difficult.
  • Describe specific actions that will develop an empowering team leadership style.
  • Understand some of the theory behind team motivation.
  • Explore specific techniques to motivate your team.

Slide 3: Being empowered


  • Working as a group, share your ideas on what the word “empower” means in terms of leading your team.
  • Individually consider your own role as a team leader. What actions do you take that empower your team? What actions might disempower your team?
  • Share your thoughts with the group.

Slide 4: Why empower people?

Schools and colleges run on successful teams not individuals. While we all make valued contributions to our own institutions as individuals, our true worth is best seen in the contributions we make to the teams we work in.

For our teams to be effective, each individual needs to be empowered to fulfil their role within the team – but why is this? Empowered teams:

  • Support each other.
  • Are motivated.
  • Go the extra mile.
  • Act pro-actively.
  • Innovate.
  • Solve problems.
  • Offer better customer service.
  • Develop themselves.
  • Are reliable.
  • Are great ambassadors.

In short, an empowered team is a team that will make a difference to the learning and progress of the children and young people we serve. So, how do we empower our teams?

Slide 5: How do we empower?

Activity: Individually consider your own role as a team leader:

  • What actions do you take that empower your team?
  • What actions might disempower your team?
  • Share your thoughts with the group.

Slide 6: Ten strategies for empowering team leadership

In order to empower people in the teams we lead, it is useful to reflect on those things we do in the classroom that are successful in supporting and motivating children and young people to learn and make good progress.

Both in the classroom and with the teams of professionals that we lead in our departments or schools, an empowering team leader will:

  1. Give and receive feedback.
  2. Say thank you.
  3. Ask for and listen to suggestions.
  4. Actively develop people.
  5. Expect more.
  6. Delegate.
  7. Trust and respect people.
  8. Be prepared to accept failure.
  9. Encourage career development.
  10. Monitor things.

Activity: Consider each of these 10 steps in turn:

  • How would you evidence that you actively do each of these with your team?
  • What steps could you now take to improve your team empowerment?

Slide 7: The six leadership traps

With the best will in the world and despite our best efforts, team leaders do sometimes get things wrong. This is to be expected, but we must be able to recognise common mistakes.

There are six key behaviours that will hamper your team and stop your team leadership from being effective:

  1. Control: The need (or perceived need) to always be in charge, to micro-manage and to display distrust in the ability of others.
  2. Concern: You worry that members of your team are not “doing things right” or that they will let you down.
  3. Ego: You know that you can do a better job than anyone in your team so why should you delegate?
  4. Competition: If you do delegate, what happens if they prove to be better than you and get promoted above you or get the recognition and you don’t?
  5. Urgency: It just takes too much time to delegate to team members. It is quicker and easier to do things myself.
  6. Anger: I trusted them to do something and they haven’t done it my way or as well as I could do the job. I am angry and I am going to tell them.

Slide 8: Sounds like a trap

Work in small groups to decide which of the six traps these scenarios relate to (answer at the end of each scenario).

  • You trusted a colleague to collate the end of year reports for a year group and they have spilt a mug of coffee over them. You are furious and are going to give them a piece of your mind (anger).
  • You ask a colleague to plan a new unit of work but expect them to consult with you at each step of the way (control).
  • The school principal wants something on their desk by tomorrow morning. This is your team member’s responsibility, but you complete the task just to make sure it gets done on time (urgency).
  • You don’t want to ask a colleague to plan the next parents’ meeting because you know you can do a better job (ego).
  • You are worried that, if you ask a colleague to take a lead role in a new project, they will think that you are passing the buck and you are lazy (concern).
  • If you delegate too much, school leadership will see that someone in your team is better than you and they will get all of the credit (competition).

Activity: For each one of the above scenarios, agree a better team leadership strategy that will empower your team.

Slide 9: Making it work at work

Activity: What will you do as a result of this training? Working in groups, look at the action sheet you have produced during this training.

  • What are your three key learning points from this workshop?
  • What will you change to improve your team leadership?
  • How will you know when your change has been successful?
  • Steve Burnage has experience leading challenging inner city and urban secondary schools. He now works as a freelance trainer, consultant and author for staff development, strategic development, performance management and coaching and mentoring. Visit www.simplyinset.co.uk and read his previous articles for SecEd, including his previous CPD workshop overviews, at http://bit.ly/2u1KW9e


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