Part II (of VII)
Why Shared Leadership?
What is it about a shared leadership model that makes it appealing to administrators, teachers, and school communities? If school leaders commit to using the strengths of their staffs to guide site-based decisions, how will their schools benefit? There is increasing evidence that shared leadership impacts many aspects of school culture and student performance. Six specific effects seem to be markedly enhanced through the use of shared leadership practices. The first two are communication and collaboration.
The importance of developing relationships is a common theme for schools seeking to improve the academic achievement of all students. Nevarez and Wood (2007) found that schools rich in respect and a sense of community promote solid relationships and communication. They argued that urban school leaders can change school conditions by developing proficient and culturally competent teachers and administrators. Additionally, they noted that communication is enhanced through “positive school culture, inter-organizational confidence, and respect” (p. 274). These attributes are closely aligned with, and enriched by, shared leadership practices.
Shared leadership practices lead to collaboration and collegiality among staff members. In 2009, DuFour and Marzano identified high-leverage strategies for principals that clearly established the need to create structures to ensure that collaborative time for teachers focuses on issues and questions directly related to student learning. DuFour and Marzano share a vision for school leadership that celebrates the collaborative team process. They encourage principals to “spend less time supervising and more time working collaboratively with teams to examine student learning and help more students achieve at higher levels” (p. 68).
Marks and Printy (2003) also viewed the principal as key in sharing leadership and promoting active collaboration. They investigated the connection between school leadership and student performance, as well as the potential for active collaboration around instructional matters to enhance the quality of teaching and student performance. They found that active collaboration around instruction and assessment leads to significant school improvement.