Resources › For Educators Transform Your School with Collaborative Decision Making Share Flipboard Email Print Tom Merton / Getty Images For Educators Teaching Community Involvement An Introduction to Teaching Tips & Strategies Policies & Discipline School Administration Technology in the Classroom Teaching Adult Learners Issues In Education Teaching Resources Becoming A Teacher Assessments & Tests Elementary Education Secondary Education Special Education Homeschooling By Derrick Meador Education Expert M.Ed., Educational Administration, Northeastern State University B.Ed., Elementary Education, Oklahoma State University Derrick Meador, M.Ed., is the superintendent for Jennings Public Schools in Oklahoma. He previously served as a school principal and middle school science teacher. our editorial process Derrick Meador Updated August 27, 2018 Schools should continuously be striving to improve. Every school should have this as a central theme in their mission statement. Schools that are either stagnant or complacent are doing the students and communities that they serve a major disservice. If you are not progressing, you will ultimately fall behind and fail. Education, in general, is very progressive and trendy, sometimes to a fault, but you must always be seeking out something bigger and better. School leaders who regularly include their constituents in the decision-making process find it advantageous in many different ways. They understand that involving stakeholders in the decision-making process can ultimately transform a school. Progressive transformation is continuous and ongoing. It must become a mindset and regular way of making decisions to maximize effectiveness. School leaders must actively invest in the opinions of others, understanding that they do not have all the answers themselves. Varying Perspectives One of the most beneficial aspects of bringing different people to the discussion is that you get several different perspectives or points of view. Every stakeholder is going to have a distinctly different point of view based on their individual affiliation with the school. It is important that school leaders bring together a varying range of constituents with their hands in different parts of the cookie jar so that perspective is maximized. This is naturally beneficial as someone else may see a potential road block or benefit that someone else may not have thought of. Having multiple perspectives can only boost any decision-making effort and lead to healthy discussions that morph into growth and improvement. Better Buy In When decisions are made through a process that is genuinely inclusive and transparent people tend to buy in and support those decisions even when they are not directly involved. There will likely be some that still disagree with the decisions, but they typically respect them because they understand the process and know that the decision was not made lightly or by a single person. Buy in is extremely important for a school because of all the moving parts. A school operates more efficiently when all the parts on the same page. This often translates to success which benefits everyone. Less Resistance Resistance is not necessarily a bad thing and offers some benefits. However, it can also totally destroy a school if it morphs into a resistance movement. By bringing varying perspectives to the table, you naturally negate much of the resistance. This is especially true when collaborative decision making becomes the norm and part of the expected culture of the school. People will trust a decision-making process that is inclusive, transparent, and holistic in nature. Resistance can be annoying, and it can definitely impede improvement referendum. As stated before this is not always a bad thing as some resistance minimally serves as a natural system of checks and balances. Not Top Heavy School leaders are ultimately responsible for their school’s successes and failures. When they make critical decisions by themselves, they shoulder 100% of the blame when things run amiss. Furthermore, many people question top heavy decision making and never fully buy in. Any time a single person makes a key decision without consulting others they are setting themselves up for ridicule and eventual failure. Even if that decision is the correct and best choice, it serves school leaders well to consult with others and seek their advice before the final say. When school leaders make too many individual decisions they eventually distance themselves from other stakeholders which is unhealthy at best. Holistic, Inclusive Decisions Collaborative decisions are typically well thought out, inclusive, and holistic. When a representative from each stakeholder group is brought to the table, it gives validity to the decision. For example, parents feel they have a voice in a decision because there were other parents representing them in the decision-making group. This is especially true when those on a collaborative decision-making committee go out into the community and seek further feedback from like stakeholders. Furthermore, these decisions are holistic in nature meaning that research has been done, and both sides have been carefully examined. Better Decisions Collaborative decisions often lead to better decision making. When a group comes together with a common goal, they are able to explore all the options more in-depth. They can take their time, bounce ideas off one another, research the pros and cons of each option thoroughly, and ultimately make a decision that will produce the greatest outcomes with the least resistance. Better decisions yield better results. In a school environment, this is extremely important. A top priority for every school is to maximize student potential. You do this in part by making the correct, calculated decisions time and time again. Shared Responsibility One of the greatest aspects of collaborative decision making is that no single person can take the credit or the blame. The final decision lies with the majority on the committee. Though a school leader will likely take the lead in the process, the decision is not solely theirs. This also ensures that they are not doing all of the work. Instead, each member of the committee plays a critical role in the process that often extends beyond simple decision making into implementation and follow through. Shared responsibility helps reduce the pressure of making a big decision. Those on the committee provide a natural support system because they truly understand the commitment and dedication to making the correct decisions.