How to Build Great Educator Teams – Tip 2

Last week we shared our first tip about how you can build much more engaged and effective educator teams. If you missed that post, you can read it here.  Today, we’d like to tell you about Tip 2.

Tip 2: Set Team “Norms”

I wonder if your mind did a little stutter-step like mine did, when I first read the idea of creating team “norms.” The word norms brings a different feeling to team interactions than “rules.”

Let me explain.  Where rules are considered requirements, and dictate things like behavior and details such as time and length of meetings, norms are subtly different — these are ideas that the team writes, and agrees to, that support the community attitude and actions of everyone involved.  

Norms would include things like:

  • purpose of the team
  • process for making decisions,
  • mutually agreed-upon expectations for individual contributions and accountability

When a team works together to establish the norms, you have a framework that everyone has helped create, and everyone understands the scope and boundaries of the team’s work.

An important result of team norms is that now you have a simple, non-personal way to address any difficult situations that may come up. Rather than blame or shame, the issues can be addressed as they relate to the norms — not the person.


We hope these tips for creating teams will help you start the new school year off with renewed energy. Our hope is that you’ll be able to influence your school’s culture so that everyone — from the support staff, to the teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and above all — students — thrive.


We hope you’ll join us for our workshop at NPC 2017 on July 10th at 9:00am. We’ll take a much more in-depth look at building effective teams.

If you won’t be attending NPC, we still want to share these great ideas with you. Watch for our email tips (if you’re not on our email list yet, you can register below), and follow us on Facebook where we’ll be doing live Facebook updates starting July 1, running up to the start of NPC.

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