A few months ago, Sam Crome, Deputy Head at St. Peter’s Catholic School, delivered a talk for HEP’s Big Idea on the ‘power of teams’. The talk was powerful, inviting both leaders and members of teams think deeply about what is involved in becoming and maintaining a successful team. If you haven’t yet seen the recording of it, I highly recommend you take a look here on our Vimeo.

The concepts behind powerful teams

In part 2 of this conversation with Sam Crome, I wanted to get deeper behind the concepts behind the ‘power of teams’ and unpack terms like ‘psychological safety’, ‘domain-specific expertise’, and ‘debriefing’.

In his Big Idea talk, Sam brought up the idea of psychological safety, a term coined by Amy Edmondson and defined as “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes, and that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking”. The applicability of this concept in both school teams and classrooms seems obvious, but I wanted to see if it was actually being addressed in school teams. I also asked Sam what he thought about the general state of psychological safety in schools in England today.

What about ‘domain-specific expertise’? Sam talks about how the majority of leadership training focuses on general skills, rather than specifics about how to address the persistent problems that come up on the job. Sam points to blog posts by Jennifer Barker and Tom Rees that address generic and domain-specific perspectives of school leadership, and talks a little about why leaders should pay more attention to domain-specific knowledge.

Debriefing was another point brought up by Sam, and though the word is no doubt familiar to all team leaders, there are specific strategies that make debriefs successful. I asked Sam to outline some of those strategies so that educational leaders can easily understand them.

Lastly, I wanted some answers to big picture questions. Is making teams effective just optimising the way humans are naturally supposed to operate?
Is teamwork the most powerful tool humans have at their disposal? Find out Sam’s answers to these questions by listening to the episode.

Listen to the full interview on HEP Talks

As always, we hope you enjoy listening to the full interview on HEP Talks, which can be found on AppleSpotifyGoogle, or wherever you get your podcasts. 

If you have a topic that you’re interested in or want to talk about on our podcast, please send me an email at Luke.Kemper@haringeyeducationpartnership.co.uk and you might get featured on an upcoming episode. Stay tuned to HEP Talks!

About the Author:

Luke Kemper

Luke Kemper is Insight and Intelligence Lead at HEP. He recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in Education, Globalisation and International Development. Before that, he worked for seven years as a university lecturer and high school teacher in China and Poland.

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