SIU Newsletter July 2019

Research Spotlight: Creating High Performing Team Cultures for Collaboration

Research in Education

Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, best selling author and TED Talk presenter, states that a culture of ‘fitting in’ is not the same as a culture of belonging. When we are ‘fitting in’, we do not risk sharing our thoughts and ideas for fear of being wrong, ignored or even scape-goated. However, this level of risk taking is essential on teams in order for innovation, creativity and collaborative learning to take hold.

We trust and need leaders who stand for inclusivity, equity and belonging. It’s hard work, it’s brave, and it makes us all better. Andy Hargreaves, research professor at Boston College, has developed the concept of Collaborative Professionalism which requires both high trust relationships and the deliberate design and leadership of processes and protocols for authentic collaboration to take place.

What drives collective efficacy?

In this article published by Educational Leadership, Jennie Donohoo and Steven Katz explain when teams believe and are confident in their abilities to make an impact, they tend to perform better. This phenomenon—which is called collective efficacy—has a powerful impact to make good teams great. In education, collective efficacy influences student achievement and can create positive change in schools. But how do teams come to see themselves as high-performing? How is collective efficacy developed? And how can teams strive for it?

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Workplace gossip or a ‘confirmation expedition’?

Gossip or a ‘confirmation expedition’? While most employees agree that gossip is toxic to a positive workplace culture, most of us at some time or other have engaged in a ‘confirmation expedition’ whereby we ask a colleague to confirm their own negative or challenging experience with a third colleague who is not present, or we welcome a similar line of confirmation inquiry from another colleague about a third colleague who is not present. Most admit that this is, in fact, a regular part of their daily work life. In this article from Harvard Business Review, Deborah Grayson Riegel explores why gossip happens, the toxic impact on the workplace and what you can do to stop it in it’s tracks.

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13 questions used by Google to identify its very best leaders

Google identifies its very best leaders using 13 questions. Employees are regularly surveyed about their managers using the 13 specific questions. The polar questions fall into three general categories: nurturing growth in others, operating excellence, and emotional intelligence, all intended to discern the strength of a manager. In this article published in Inc, Scott Mautz unpacks each question. How would your team answer these questions?

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Team-building exercises: a better approach

Team-building exercises can be a waste of time. You achieve more by getting personal. This article from The Conversation argues that there is a better approach to team-building events. Julien Pollark, Associate Professor, University of Sydney and Petr Matous, Associate Dean, University of Sydney explain the approach is about understanding that teams are social networks built on connections between individuals. It involves deep one-on-one conversations, designed to get people out of their comfort zones.

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Two things great leaders do when they give feedback

As a rule, great feedback can’t be rehearsed, according to Brené Brown.

Brown has interviewed hundreds of business leaders during her years of research on professional advancement and human connections. She’s found that those who are the best at giving feedback exhibit similar behaviors when they’re in the middle of a meeting, which make all the difference. In this article published in Inc, Brown shares lessons learned from feedback she received from a College professor.

In her book “Dare to Lead”, Brené Brown shares the Engaged Feedback Checklist, a tool which you might find useful to determine if you’re ready to give feedback. 

View Article View Engaged Feedback Checklist Article
Videos and Podcasts

Listen to Andy Hargreaves unpack the key stages to developing authentic collaborative professionalism.


Part 1: The benefits of and the most effective ways to collaborate 

Part 2: Where to start

Part 3: The role of deliberate design 

Part 4: The role leaders play

Part 5: The phases of collaboration

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