Refining skills for working in a collaborative leadership model

Teams working through the Norming stage have learned—and are continuously improving—how to function according to their defined shared purpose. Roles and responsibilities are already defined and accepted. Leaders selected by the group are acting as facilitators (not directors) at the will of your team.

Your team is practicing its model for shared leadership. Naturally, team members need to refine their collaboration skills and dispositions to ensure the team’s ability to act according to its shared purpose.

Some teams hire consultants to help them learn how to have productive meetings in which everyone’s voice is heard. Many teams also create norms for working through disagreements and use assessments to learn more about one another’s strengths, personalities, and working styles.

It takes time and practice for individuals and teams to become accustomed to operating in a collaborative leadership environment. For example, some people need to learn that they can’t always be the captain, while others need to unlearn the habit of always following orders.

Author tip

Revisit the Storming stage step determining a collaborative leadership model for sample procedure documents that teacher-powered schools developed as they refined their collaborative leadership model.



Robert J. Garmston finds that, in adaptive schools, inquiry is placed at the center of change since it gives teachers the tools they need to bring about genuine school improvement through collaboration.

Discussion Starters.

Teams starting or improving a teacher-powered school should use this resource to explore how to cultivate efficient, democratic decision-making practices as well as how teams delegate authority to leaders among leaders.

Discussion Starters.

Teams starting or improving a teacher-powered school should use this resource to explore how to clarify responsibilities of new team members and provide mentorship and support to new personnel.


Teacher-powered schools report using Marcus Buckingham’s books and tools as a means to help their teams break habitual behaviors developed in conventional schools and teacher training institutions.

Discussion Guide.

Developed by educators and the National School Reform Faculty, this facilitation and discussion guide helps teams understand how individuals’ preferences can affect group work.

Journal article.

Teacher-powered Southwest Baltimore Charter School produces a continual flow of new instructional approaches, new ways of relating to students, and new modes of community engagement. It does so not just in special retreats or workshops, but in the routine meetings and conversations that make up most of organizational life.


The Hum shows you how to create self-organizing teams that are highly effective, non-hierarchical and nourishing to work in. They are a thinking partner for your organizational challenges. They can help you get unstuck and support you on your learning journey, one-on-one, or with your whole team.