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iTune – Involvement

I wonder what is on your leadership bucket list?

I was working with an education CEO recently and she was talking about a new school that they were going to open in September 2022 and the appointment of the new headteacher. For many headteachers, to be a founding headteacher and opening a new school is a ‘bucket list job’. The ability to shape the vision, culture and staffing team from scratch is appealing. The chance to create history and shape a community from scratch. Whether you get a ‘bucket list opportunity’ or whether you are leading an existing organisation, the ability to engage your staff and community in the vision and direction of your organisation is paramount in leadership if you want impact. When I talk to leaders, the engagement of staff is a repeating issue. So, this series of blogs seeks to help leaders understand some key elements of engagement, helping leaders understand how i-Tune staff in to the work to support the organisation’s purpose. We will look at the work of Jim Collins and Patrick Lencioni to help us engage our team. We will look at four ‘i's’ that help us engage team members.

  • Involvement

  • Identity

  • Influence

  • Impact

Involve the right people

I sometimes talk to my wife about having an imaginary ark, like Noah, that I would place all of the best people I have worked with on it to use in an imaginary organisation. As I consider the people who would be on it, there are some key repeating elements that you would see in each person. Imagine being in the position of choosing your team from scratch like the headteacher of the new school, or imagine being a 'leadership Noah' and gathering people two by two onto your ark. What would be the key elements that would define them joining? Being good at their job is an obvious one. But beyond that what helps you decide? Fortunately, the work of Jim Collins in his book 'Good to Great' and Patrick Lencioni’s book ‘The Ideal Team Player’ help us. Jim Collins said that you need the right people on the bus. They need to be people that:

  • share the vision for what you are doing

  • are talented in their field

  • work hard

  • are reflective about their practice

Think about your ark or new organisation, would you let anyone in who wasn’t those? It’s a no brainer.

Patrick Lencioni, helps us further when he explains in ‘The Ideal Team Player’ that the right people to involve in your team that all sit around the attitude of the person.

  • Humble – They think about themselves less.

  • Hungry – They are hungry for the success for the organisation. It is not about their own success.

  • Smart – They are emotionally intelligent. They know their strengths and weaknesses; they understand others and how to engage themselves with others.

So, if you want to engage people, the first thing is to make sure that you have the right people on board. Make sure that your recruitment process is geared to finding people who:

  • Are aligned with your vision for the organisation

  • Are talented in the area you want them to work in

  • Are hard Working

  • Improve on their performance

  • Think less about themselves and more about others

  • Want success for the organisation

  • Are emotionally intelligent

If you are working in an existing organisation, with existing people, then regularly revisit these areas and remind people of the expectation that this is the culture that is expected. Lencioni suggests asking your team members ‘which is your weakest area?’ to help them reflect on the mindset needed. This is a great way to engage people in it.

Involve them in the right role

Jim Collins’ famous principle is, ‘Get the right people on the bus and get them on the right seats’. You want people with the right mindset and attitude on the bus and then you want them doing the right role. We do work with people in our coaching and training where we help people identify

  • What are my strengths?

  • What are my values?

  • What is my purpose and the thing that brings me joy?

I met someone the other day who was a TA (teaching assistant) and is now a PA (personal assistant). She didn’t enjoy working with children but she loves her role now organising and administrating. Helping people to find the right fit is crucial for their engagement. Engaging people means taking time to understand what they are passionate about and skilled in. Part of that involves helping them to discover their purpose. On their best days, where they have the most joy, what is it about it that was important? In our coaching work, we ask that question several times until we get to the root of it, down to one, two or three words that sum it up. In my last job as a headteacher, I found that government changes meant that a large part of my role involved paperwork and accountability. This was far from my core purpose of ‘empowering, inspiring and equipping people’. I therefore needed to change seats, to one that had a better fit. Hence why Everyday Leader was born as an organisation!

Engaging the right involvement

So, as you look at the first ‘I’ of Involvement, consider these questions.

1. Have my team members got the seven areas of involvement?

  • Aligned with your vision for the organisation

  • Talented in the area you want them to work in

  • Hard Working

  • Improve on their performance

  • Think less about themselves and more about others

  • Want success for the organisation

  • Are emotionally intelligent

2. How can I raise the profile of these areas in my team? What opportunities do I have to highlight them, praise them when I see it?

3. Where have I got anyone on the wrong seat? What can I do to help them discover their purpose and niche and find the right seat for them?

Would you like to tune in your staff and get greater engagement? We can help you in a range of ways. Maybe, you would like us to help you assess with fresh eyes what you have but what is missing? Maybe you would like some coaching to help examine this yourself? Maybe you would like training for your staff to help them find better engagement?

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy. Do let us know if we can be of help to you by contacting us on


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