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Focusing on leadership step 3

Watch this presentation on leadership step 3 and consider how you would teach it to your students.
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When you move on to focusing tightly, it’s important that you understand what your students need to know in order to achieve the step. It’s about using your insights about your students’ core skills to directly teach what they need to know to make progress in the skill. You’ve already looked at the building blocks of this step, how to divide up tasks, how to share tasks out in a fair way, how to spot if there are problems. Knowing how to convey this to your students is important. And once you have the building blocks, you can use these to form questions to help your students with the concepts. What do we mean by tasks?
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How can you share tasks between people in a fair way? How can you tell if there are problems with how you have divided up tasks? Do you have any examples of having done this?
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When we want to do something as a team, it often doesn’t make sense for everyone to try to do the same thing at the same time. Instead, we might want to divide up the job into smaller tasks that different people can do. In the end, all of these various tasks should add up to the job being completed. When we divide up tasks, we want to think about some questions. Is the task something that one person can do? Or does it depend on something else happening? Does the task need some special skills so that not everyone will be able to do it? How long will the task take to complete? How difficult is the task?
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Will it use a lot of thinking effort or lots of physical effort? How enjoyable is the task?
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When we share tasks out, we will be limited by only being able to give tasks using specialist skills to those who have them, some tasks being limited in who they can be given to if they are dependent on other tasks being completed too. Otherwise, we should try to be as fair as possible. Ideas of what is fair will be different from person to person, but we should try to make sure that everyone has tasks which use a similar amount of physical or mental effort, unless someone prefers these sorts of tasks when we might give them more of them.
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Take a similar amount of time, and as team members differ in how much time they have, are about as enjoyable or unenjoyable as each other.
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We’ve already looked at how you could understand how other people feel about things. Maybe when you shared tasks out, you didn’t have enough information about how long each task would take, or know enough about what people enjoyed or were able to do. If you can tell that people are unhappy, then you should use some of the ideas in step two to have a conversation about what is wrong, and then think again about how to share the tasks. You might also see a problem if some tasks are taking too long while someone is struggling to finish a task.
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In this case, you might be able to help them, or you could ask someone else to take on that task, or some other tasks to share things out evenly again. The best way to avoid problems, though, is to talk to your team about how you have divided up tasks, and how you decided to share them between people before you start. This way, people can talk about any worries before you get started.
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Now, look at an example of doing this in the classroom. The teacher introduces the idea of how we work with people to get things done, and how we have to think in terms of tasks. She asks some questions, and elicits the idea of tasks by using an example of a project. Students could think of examples of tasks that might need to be completed as part of a bigger job, for example, or a simulated challenge like building a model tower or making scenery for a school play.
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The teacher can introduce how to think about sharing out the tasks. For example, thinking about how long each task would take, the skills they would need, and how difficult or enjoyable they are. This could be applied to either a hypothetical event, or better, to the simulated challenge.
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This step can be reinforced by encouraging learners to divide up tasks between them when there are opportunities for them to work together. The teacher can help to raise awareness of what they should be thinking about when making these decisions, and encouraging them to reflect on how effective their approach was at the end.
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This step is best assessed through a structured activity, where learners are given a job and they have to think about the tasks and how they might be divided up fairly between the team they have been allocated. A reflection discussion at the end will help to show whether they applied sensible thinking to how to divide tasks fairly.

To achieve step 3, students should be able to divide up tasks in a fair way.

In the earlier steps of leadership, students learned how to identify and express their own emotions and other people’s emotions. Now the focus changes to task management.

Building blocks

The building blocks of this step are learning:

  • how to divide up tasks
  • how to share tasks out in a fair way
  • how to spot if there are problems.

What kind of answers would you expect from the following questions?

Reflection questions for students

  • What do we mean by tasks?
  • How can you share tasks between people in a fair way?
  • How can you tell if there are problems with how you have divided up tasks?
  • Do you have any examples of having done this?

Watch this presentation on leadership step 3. First, you will learn about what students need to know, then you will see some ideas on how you could introduce it.

A pdf containing the slides from the video is available below under ‘Downloads’.

Over to you

Now that you have seen some ideas on teaching this step, think about the following:

  • What would work with your students?
  • What would be more difficult or need adaptation?

View a summary of how to teach leadership step 3 in the Skills Builder framework.

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Teaching and Assessing Core Skills

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