Collaborative Leadership, Research Paper Example
Words: 2611Research Paper
Leadership is mostly defined according to activities of leaders rather than by the process. Collaborative leadership on the contrary is defines by the process and not by the acts of leaders. Collaborative leadership according to Chrislip and Larson (1994) starts when “You bring the appropriate people together in constructive ways with good information, they will create authentic visions and strategies for addressing the shared concerns of the organization or community.” This paper tries to analyze the statement made by Chrislip and Larson (1994) about collaboration “The purpose of collaboration is to create a shared vision and joint strategies to address concerns that go beyond the purview of any particular party” and to discuss Collaborative Leadership as it relates to school management and administration. For the purpose this paper will analyze the role of establishing a shared vision in establishing collaborative leadership. Further this will evaluate the potential effectiveness of collaborative leadership in creating a school climate that promotes student achievement.
It is possible to apply collaborative leadership in almost all situations. It is most successful in community initiatives and coalitions, in education and in community based organizations of human and health service. It is mostly found applied in situations where no one is expressly in charge of and the issue or problem is very complex in nature that not a single person or an entity is having any information or is able to change it. But this does not mean that collaborative leadership is applied in the absence of responsibility, instead where a single person cannot take the responsibility and there is need to charge the responsibility for finding or achieving a successful solution for the existing problem.
Collaborative leadership is based on the philosophies of experimentalism and pragmatism. In pragmatism what is followed is almost like a scientific method and according to this if we are able to define a problem it is possible to solve it. But it is necessary that the consequence of action is tested, a hypothesis is developed and applied on the basis of which problem is solved, judge the ideas and methods on the basis of consequence upon acting of technique. Thus the method is almost scientific for it is experimental in nature. According to pragmatism truth is not different from human experience and is derived from experience (Marks & Printy, 2003). Success is in essence derived from consequences of transformation of human environment.
Collaborative leadership is defined by Rubin (2002) as “A purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome”. Thus according to this definition for collaborative leadership to be successful at least one leader must be able to build relationships and maintain it for this lacks voluntary participation. Thus according to Rubin (2002) collaborative leadership can be simply defined as relationship management. He further defines relationship management as “The purposeful exercise of behavior, communication, organizational resources to effect the perspective, beliefs, and behaviors of another person to influence that person’s relationship with you and the collaborative enterprise.” Therefore, we can say that collaborative leadership aims to exercise communication, behavior, beliefs, organizational resources and behaviors of all persons that form part of the organization where collaborative leadership is practiced to influence the relationship of that person as well as the organization (Mulford & Silins, 2003).
Collaborative leadership if it is good is always characterized by some traits in specific. Most important of them are given below.
Decision making and problem solving – In collaborative leadership it is not the leader who takes decision and say that to others. All members of the group considers the issue together, discusses it and decides a solution and they then counts on leader for helping them to implement it successfully.
Open process – Any interested party or leader does not start with a plan in his mind and guide other members of the group to achieve it. In collaborative leadership decision making is done in collaboration by all the members of the group and no end goal is described in the beginning. All the members together come to an end goal which is set by them together and they further works to attain that goal.
Leadership is in the process- Collaborative leader do not act as the leaders of the group but performs the leadership of process which the group performs together. He will lead the members of the group for the success of collaborative process by guiding them in a particular direction or to a particular decision.
Collaborative leadership is thus a leadership for a collaborative effort where leadership is in an organization, coalition or enterprise where all the members of the group are given equal weight age and all of them are working to achieve same end or to solve same problem. There is no control for the leader over this group and he is not supposed to impose any decision or form any decision on his own. He just guides the group and coordinates them due to which the group takes decision or carries out various activities for accomplishing its goals.
Collaboratively leading – In an organizational setting it is possible for the leadership to shift as a result of decision taken by the group or when any other quality or talent is needed. It can also be said that leadership is mostly shared by all permanently or by more than a single person and they guides the group together (Chrislip & Larson, 1994).
Collaborative leadership benefits from various factors like buy in where in the ownership of an organization are encouraged irrespective of its form a business, organization or community. All members are encouraged to take part in decision making process as well as in problem solving and thus in this form of leadership activities of people are considered as their own activity and not as something done on the basis of any instruction or force. This helps to develop a sense of ownership and commitment for a common goal. Collaborative leadership also provides with involvement of all members in implementation. It also helps to build trust and at the same eliminates any turf issues. This is done by creating mutual trust where concerns of all parties are heard and all members or organization is helped for reaching a common goal. Thus we can say that collaboration aims to create joint strategy and shared vision for addressing concerns that are beyond the purview of any particular party (Gutek, 1997).
Schools have become a very complex organization in today’s world and this institution requires leaders with proper skills of management, effective vision for creating a successful culture of learning and teaching. All schools try to improve in its own and it’s efforts in this regard is guided by various factors like students to whom admission is provided, academic organization, faculty and its quality, culture of school and social organization. It is necessary for every school to have leaders who are capable enough to act according to these varying needs. Leadership in a school will have impact on improvement and along with that such a leadership will be influenced by the context in which it is formed and exercised. It is not an easy task for a single person to lead a school in its administration and management with such diverse requirements (Carver & Ozmon, 2008).
Collaborative leadership is thus the best method to be adopted in an institution like school which has diverse necessities and all of them depend on leaders of the organization. Collaborative leadership in school will affect academic capacity, achievements made by school, school capacity, growth rate of school and change in leadership. This will also affect practices of teacher, learning outcomes and student behavior. In the initial stage effect will be seen in academic capacity and leadership status. All other changes will take place during next year and continuing years. There will be direct and indirect effect on all these achievements (Rubin, 2002).
Collaborative leadership in schools is helpful in accessing more ideas and better information. When all the members addressing an issue are parties to that issue more information is also available along with various perspectives. Thus more solutions are likely to be arrived at and it is better than developing idea from vacuum by a single person or small number of persons. It will also provide with better opportunity, collaboration, trust, better planning and this will lead to real success and better yields. Collaborative leadership will also help to develop new leadership which is of great importance in the management and administration of school. In this method as all members are involved in decision making new leaders will be trained in the process and they will develop with in this group. This will thus ensure continuity along with commitment to various issues addressed by group (Marks & Printy, 2003).
In a school with collaborative leadership it is possible to make decisions that are collaborative n form with focus on educational improvement. This is done by supporting decisions and efforts of school community members with a focus on student learning. Teachers are ensured highest role when it comes to decisions regarding curriculum development. All the staff including teachers, administrators and other staff is coordinated to work together in an effective manner to achieve the goals of school (Rubin, 2002).
Governance of school is emphasized to empower students as well as staff, encourage commitment, increase participation and share accountability with regard to student learning. For this parents are given more participation in decisions about student’s education and for this various venues are adopted. Parents are also involved in improvement process of school. Teachers and parents are always welcome to provide inputs as well as outputs in administration process. Teachers are further provided opportunity to make and plan various decisions concerning school. Thus the whole concept will help in empowerment of community of school which is made of teachers, parents and administrators of school. At times even children are allowed to participate in decision making process which is areas of their concern. When all stakeholders are allowed to participate in decision making or problem solving it will help to solve the issue easily. At the same time potential leaders can also be identified through this process. People when provided participation will take responsibility on their own and will always care about their actions. Thus functioning will become better in every sphere (Carver & Ozmon, 2008).
When collaborative leadership is adopted by a school they will emphasize that all the stakeholders take part in efforts made for evaluating academic development of school. For example all the stakeholders are responsible to make sure that there are adequate resources for the school to develop its academic capacity and educational programs. Purpose and vision of school will be reviewed by these stakeholders regularly for they are provided such an opportunity. Thus more collaboration is developed and practiced and this will also create more collaborative leadership. Thus there will be a different view for a single problem. This is because with the input and views of various persons it is possible to understand and analyze an issue from various angles and thus find a solution that is most suited. This will also help to bring common cause and ground and willingness to be more effective and to tackle issues to reach out to wide solutions that are far more effective (Rubin, 2002).
Most effective space for collaborative leadership is where every person associated to an organization is affected by an issue. When an issue has effect on all stakeholders of an organization in one way or other all the stakeholders will need voice. All of them will think of methods to solve that problem and in collaborative leadership all such solutions will be heard and the most effective one will be chosen. It is only with collaborative leadership that all persons will be heard and decision will be taken on the basis of that. In this method there is no single leader who tackles the issue and takes decision, but all are offered equal participation. In a school any function that takes place will affect its administration, teachers and students and hence the parents. In collaborative leadership provides opportunity to even those people who are indirectly affected by any activity of the organization. It is for this reason that parents are given equal participation as administrators and teachers (Carver & Ozmon, 2008).
As school is a place where so many persons are involved it is always better to enquire about the needs of all such stakeholders while taking decision. Further it is not wise to take a decision in emergency for it might have long term impact which will not benefit students. Any act likely to affect students need to be discussed with parents. Thus collaborative leadership is the best method for it is a time consuming process for large number of people are involved in decision making process. Procedures are very slow and are taken with great friction. But this is good in a school for all critical elements will be evaluated before reaching any decision. Such decisions will be always right than any decision that is taken fast without any critical analysis. When more persons are involved there is more chance for conflict. In this method such conflicts are dealt directly and a resolution that is acceptable to everyone is reached (Rubin, 2002).
Most people demand a leader to guide them in their acts by providing goals. In collaborative leadership this is not possible. In a school also this is not the right method. Decision is to be taken according to views of all the stakeholders for such decision taken in a school has far reaching consequence. It affects not only those participating in decision making process but also future generation in large number. At times an activity that is difficult for a single person or few persons to implement will be easily handled by the group. In collaborative leadership all members of the community takes part in its activities and hence it is easy to get things done even if it is a difficult task. Man power is high in this method and hence all tasks requiring coordination and more human effort can be easily achieved. In schools it is necessary that children are trained for performing various activities in future. Through collaborative leadership several such activities can be arranged.
Furthermore, children will also learn the benefit of combined effort which is very good in their future. As large number of people is involved in a single activity conducted in school, collaborative leadership is the best option. Also, with collaborative leadership one will learn to accept others, their ideas and also to let go off one’s own ideas and policies. This will develop a character of acceptance and concern for others in students which will benefit them in future. Egos of leaders will no longer exist and it is the group that becomes successful. Thus collaborative leadership not only helps in better performance of school, but also develops some moral behaviors in children which are beneficial for them in future.
Carver, S. M., & Ozmon, H. A. (2008). Philosophical Foundations of Education. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.
Chrislip, D. D., & Larson, C. E. (1994). Collaborative Leadership: How Citizens and Civic Leaders Can Make a Difference. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Gutek, G. (1997). Philosophical and Ideological Perspectives on Education. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Marks, H., & Printy, S. (2003). Principal leadership and school performance: an integration of transformational and instructional leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 370–397.
Mulford, B., & Silins, H. (2003). Leadership for organizational learning and improved student outcomes—what do we know? Cambridge Journal of Education, 175–195.
Rubin, H. (2002). Collaborative Leadership:Developing Effective Partnerships in Communities and Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
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