Leadership: Leadership and Cafeteria Staff Essay

Submitted By sharynvoncannon
Words: 1424
Pages: 6

Educational Leadership- Clinical Practice
Consider a challenge you are currently facing in your leadership role as it relates to influencing others: What leadership approach will you take? - Describe the situation - Describe the approach you will take - Describe the outcome - Prepare a 5 minute class presentation

The Situation:
Teamwork is a word that is often heard when working with a group of people. Teamwork is defined as “the process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal.” It is often a crucial part of success with any organization and schools are no exception. If I could get all the people in my school rowing in the same direction, we would see school improvement at its finest! When conducting staff meetings or team meetings, it is very obvious that I have a group of people in the building who do not share my vision and goals for the school. The cafeteria staff constantly give head nodding in our discussions, which indicates that they are in agreement and on the same page as the rest of the staff. The issue is when the cafeteria manager and her staff return to the kitchen they continue to work as an isolated team with very little communication with the rest of the school. They want to be left alone, do only what is necessary to feed the students and go home. The lack of professionalism, positive attitude, quality of food served and customer service, has quickly become the talk of our stakeholders. With the many mandates and expectations for schools, it is more important than ever to work in high performing teams, no matter what your role or responsibility is to the student body.
We have many teams within our professional learning community at Unionville School. Some teams feel like they are more connected to the academic success of students than others. The truth is that every team contributes to the success of our students. Our students deserve a clean environment in which to learn. The custodians take great pride in keeping our building clean as well as safe and orderly. Bus drivers acknowledge that they are among the first interactions a student has for the day. They greet their students by name as they get on the bus each morning. Teachers and assistants work extremely hard with students, making the most of every minute of the day. If all of these groups share a common goal and vision for the school, why is it that the cafeteria staff is satisfied performing as an isolated, low performing team? My goal is to help them see past the kitchen where meals are prepared daily, and to overcome their particular dysfunctions as a team. My desired goal is to help them understand the concept of professional learning communities and work with us rather than against us. I would like to see the cafeteria as an extension of the school. The current situation can be described as students’ leaving the main part of the school to have lunch in an isolated cafeteria where it is obviously has a different feeling. I want to help Mrs. W. see that by working with us, we can help her build a stronger program in child nutrition as well.
The Approach:
The transformational approach to leadership has many facets to the leadership process in which to help change this situation. This approach is used to help leaders develop and carry out significant changes in an organization or school. Over the course of this semester I have observed the staff in our cafeteria and the complaints coming from other staff members and parent s certainly are valid concerns. Transformational leaders set out to empower followers and nurture them into changing. I met with the cafeteria manager after seeing a pattern with complaints coming from stakeholders. I wanted her to be aware of the perception of others in an effort to help them change early on in the school year. I shared some of the concerns that I had in an effort to