Workshop Information

Shanghai Primary Middle Leaders Development Program

Facilitators: Michael Iannini

Date: Please see below for the dates for each Module, which begin August 31, 2019

Venue: Shanghai

Essential Question: What do I need to know and be able to do to more effectively coordinate work within my team and hold faculty accountable to agreed upon performance expectations?

Over-Arching Goal: By the end of the program participants will understand and have confidence to facilitate faculty meetings, establish a clear and transformative department goal that has buy-in from all team members and give performance related feedback.

Target Group: Primary Heads of Faculty: Deputy / Vice Principals, Heads of Grade and Coordinators

Heads of Faculty, when empowered, will be the most effective tool in ensuring transformative and sustained change. This workshop will instruct participants how to foster greater interdependency among team members and develop a sustainable collaborative team culture. Teacher lead teams that communicate effectively and work interdependently improve student learning!

  • Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of different leadership expectations
  • Participants will practice effective communication skills.
  • Participants will gain awareness of self and others and how to manage the disparity.
  • Participants will learn how to manage effective meetings, ensure equity and foster interdependence.
  • Participants will understand their role during different stages of team development.
  • Participants will ensure their department works interdependently to achieve its goal.
  • Participants will learn to give feedback relative to their team goal.

The Middle Leaders Development Program supports leaders to adapt their leadership skills and strengths to the unique obstacles they’ll face throughout the school year. The program is divided into five (5) workshops that are timed to occur when the content will be most relevant to the challenges the participants are facing.

"Firstly I wanted to reiterate my thanks for facilitating a course that has had probably the most significant impact on my professional development of any PD I have ever taken part. in. When we revisited the overall vision/strategy/outputs and discussed how we were essentially developing transformational leadership skills to enable us to to work with any team, going through a process of alignment, developing buy in and facilitating a sense of purpose it all clicked." ~ Alex Hughes, program participant.

Program Outline

Survey plays an important role in this program to ensure program content and engagement can be differentiated to meet the needs of each participant. The survey and assessment process includes:

  • Participants will be surveyed to understand their experience, ambitions and anticipated challenges;
  • Senior Leadership are invited to provide feedback on their expectations and goals (This also serves to build awareness of the program and ensure support);
  • Participants take the DiSC Everything Workplace Profile to develop a greater awareness of self and others, especially when tasked with delegating work and navigating difficult conversations;
  • Participants will provide feedback throughout the program to ensure content and assignments are context specific and appropriate to their level of mastery; and
  • Participants will receive regular feedback from the facilitator and peers.


Michael Iannini

Michael is an Affiliated CIS Consultant, specializing in Governance, Strategy, Leadership and Organizational Development. He is also contracted by ACAMIS to coordinate and facilitate Professional Development opportunities for its members.

Michael’s journey in education began 23 years ago as a research assistant at the Arizona State University Child Development Laboratory, where he studied mixed age playgroups and conducted studies of how children retain and recall information.  Before moving to Asia in 1999, Michael consulted with the Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona State Government on how to best serve children with special learning requirements.  Collaboration, consensus building and navigating complicated organizational hierarchies were the skills Michael developed during this period and the experience that he reflects on when consulting with schools that want to improve collaboration across the school and focus all staff, academic and non-academic, on serving the best interests of their students.

Since moving to China in 1999, Michael was first a teacher and then left the education field to start up and grow two successful information technology businesses.   One of Michael’s startups was in India, which helped him to learn to reflect on his successes in China and adapt them to the Indian market place.  During these years Michael learned how to satisfy the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders, develop cross-cultural leadership and communication skills, as well as continue his studies in Building Effective Teams and Strategic Planning.

Michael returned to the education field in 2008 and began to work with a number of Not-for-Profit Organizations, International and Chinese Bilingual schools to develop curriculum, train teachers, devise parent engagement strategies and consult leadership on staff capacity building strategies, which has included a long and mutually beneficial relationship with ACAMIS and its network of schools.  This period of Michael’s life allowed him to gain greater insight into Adult Learning Pedagogies and begin consulting organizations on Board Governance.

Michael’s facilitation experience is a result of his evaluating and training the teams in each organization he has served as well as his passion for education and continual learning.   He currently resides in Hong Kong with his wife, an international school teacher, and their two children.


In order to motivate and influence our teams, we need to understand ourselves and how our priorities affect others. Influence is not about being pushy. Influence is about looking at the problem from the other person’s perspective and then explaining your own views in order to influence their decisions.

If you want to be influential you need to be able to understand yourself and your reactions as well as understand other people’s perceptions. The DISC model groups four common behavioral patterns found universally in all people on earth. This simple four quadrant model is used to articulate the common ways that all human beings tend to act and communicate.

DiSC Outcomes:

  • DiSC provides a common language to help teams understand one another and work better together
  • Develop awareness of self and other to improve communication
  • Identify and hone key presentation skills
  • Improve confidence and influencing skills
  • Understand how to delegate effectively
  • Reduce conflict and avoid misunderstandings
  • Identify strategies to improve collaboration


This program is divided into five (5) workshops. The first workshop is a full day and will introduce Middle Leaders to everything they must achieve within the first 30-days of the school year. This includes:

  • Developing awareness of individual values and beliefs about Student Learning and synthesizing them into the work of the team;
  • Defining and communicating the role of the leader to all stakeholders;
  • Understanding how teams evolve in stages and stage appropriate activities;
  • Establishing group norms;
  • Managing effective meetings; and
  • Establishing a purpose for the team that will be at the center of all the work the team does.

The next four half-day workshops focus on Collaborative Communication, Goal Setting, Delegation and Communicating Team Performance. The learning objectives for these workshops are:

  • Develop an awareness of self and other and understand how the disparity impacts team communication;
  • Set goals that align with the individual, team and school;
  • Delegate effectively with clear instructions and ensure follow through; and
  • Learn to use Performance Feedback to address team complacency and reduce conflict.

In between each workshop participants will be given assignments that they must report on in the next workshop. For example, at the conclusion of the first workshop participants must present in the next class the Group Norms their department has agreed to and the measures they have taken to demonstrate and enforce those norms.

Participants will also be given the opportunity for a 30-minute coaching session in between each class if they have difficulty applying any of the content covered or completing the assignments for the next class.


Modules 1-5*:                                           5000 RMB / participant

DISC Assessment:                                    600 RMB / participant

* A 10% discount will be given for 4 or more registrations from the same school and a 15% discount will be given for 6 or more registrations from the same school.

Program Dates and Milestones

If a participant is unable to attend a workshop or meet a milestone deadline, the facilitator will schedule a 1-hour coaching session with the participant to ensure they are able activate the learning from the missed workshop and that they can be active contributors in the next workshop.

The first workshop is a full day on a Saturday (08:30-16:30) and the remaining 4 half-day workshops will be facilitated on Thursdays (13:00-17:00).

May-August 2019                          

Participants are surveyed to understand their familiarity with the content and given readings and an assignment to prepare them for the first workshop.

August 31, 2019

Module 1 – Defining Leadership and Team Formation

September 12, 2019

Module 2 – Setting Goals

September 2019

Participants take the DiSC Everything Workplace Profile Survey

October 17, 2019

Module 3 – Collaborative Communication (DiSC) and Meeting Management

November 14, 2019

Module 4 – Delegation

January 9, 2020

Module 5 – Performance Feedback

Module 1

Team Formation

August 31, 2019

Group norms are formed in the first meeting, whether you intend them to be or not, and once formed can be incredibly difficult to address in later stages of team development. This workshop will help you define your role as a leader, facilitate effective team meetings and provide you the tools necessary to ensure your team is clear about its purpose and buys into the processes that will govern the team.

Essential Question: What do I need to know and be able to do to lead a collaborative team?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will explore the why, what, and how of collaboration
  • Participants will learn how teams develop in stages and activities appropriate for each stage
  • Participants will learn how to manage effective meetings, ensure equity and foster interdependence.
  • Participants will use tools and strategies to establish group norms.
  • Participants will learn how to build consensus on the team purpose.

Module 2

Setting Goals

September 12, 2019

At this time in the school year Heads of Department should have a good understanding of the capacity their team has to engage in transformative interdependent work. Capacity will be determined by their understanding of the needs of their students and capability to attend to the transactional responsibilities of their roles, such as lesson planning and assessment. All departments in a school will have a different capacity. The capacity of a department to work interdependently towards achieving a transformative goal will largely be contingent on their capability of attending to the transactional aspects of their work.

In this module participants will learn to assess their departments capacity for working interdependently. Participants will learn how to establish an effective team goal, in the form of an inquiry, that addresses the needs of each team member, the team and the school. This goal will be framed with a transformative outcome and defined by the key results that will demonstrate attainment of that goal.

Essential Question: How do I align individual, team and school objectives into a transformative team goal, that my department has the capacity to achieve, that will improve student learning?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will assess their team capacity to work interdependently to achieve a transformative goal.
  • Participants will be introduced to Sandboxing to insulate the team from outside influences that can undermine goal attainment.
  • Participants will learn to facilitate effective goal setting processes that are inquiry based.
  • Participants will understand that pursuing goals is an iterative process that requires periodic tuning.

Module 3

Collaborative Communication (DiSC) and Meeting Management

October 17, 2019

To be influential and capable of motivating disparate team members, team leaders must understand how to adapt their leadership style to accommodate the beliefs and behavioral patterns of team members. Participants will use their DiSC results to learn to adapt communication for different team members and use communication strategies to mitigate barriers to communication.

2-3 months into the school year group norms begin to get tested and members will begin to question their role on the team. The team leaders role at this stage should be more focused on reinforcing the purpose of the team, the role that each member plays and how to foster greater interdependency between each team member. Effective meeting management at this stage of the team’s development is crucial.

Essential Questions: How can I adapt my communication and leadership style to improve my influence and effectiveness as a team leader? How can I mitigate conflict in meetings to ensure we are focused on our team purpose?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will explore and understand how to accommodate different beliefs about leadership.
  • Participants will gain an understanding and appreciation of different work styles.
  • Participants will learn how to manage 5 difficult team member behaviors.
  • Participants will demonstrate assertive communication skills.
  • Participants will demonstrate effective questioning skills to understand the needs of others, as well as help others to see things from a different perspective.
  • Participants will assess their meeting management practices and identify strategies to improve them.

Module 4


November 14, 2019

Delegating is one of the most important management skills you can develop, but most middle leaders don’t delegate well, if at all. Learning to delegate effectively saves time, develops the team, motivates the team and keeps the team focused on its primary objectives. Without appropriate delegation, a team will become inefficient and demoralized.

At this time of the year all teacher lead teams have established their goals but struggle with breaking them down into action tasks. In this training participants will learn when it is appropriate to delegate, what to delegate, to whom to delegate, and how to delegate. This training will cover the steps to proper delegation and discuss some of the problems that result in not delegating correctly.

Essential Question: How do I identify and delegate tasks effectively to peers?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the challenges & benefits of delegation.
  • Participants will identify the barriers and how to address them.
  • Participants will complete a delegation inventory.
  • Participants will learn a 5-step delegation process.
  • Participants will role play delegation conversations.

Module 5

Performance Feedback

January 9, 2020

Transformational change is empowering and sets the stage for continuous improvement across the school, but sustaining the systems that enable change requires consolidating successes, understanding set backs, continuous feedback and continued investments in process and people.

Essential Question: How do I effectively communicate about team performance and ensure a safe environment to communicate with team members?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will demonstrate consultative communication skills;
  • Participants will experience how to facilitate performance feedback with and between team members; and

Participants will understand how to coach their team through various stages of development.


  • At the completion of each workshop we send a copy of materials and a summary of the evaluation feedback to Senior Leadership at your school. This is to ensure they are aware of what you learned and to prepare them to support you applying relevant knowledge and tools. Please include their Full Name, Email Address and Job title. We appreciate if you choose not to share this information, in which case the information will be sent to the PD Coordinator and Principal, if we have their contact information.