Most educators would never tell their students “Do as I say, not as I do” yet this is the message that they may be, inadvertently, delivering to them. If schools are teaching the skills and strategies that develop exceptional leaders by fostering a collaborative work culture in their organizations but those skills and strategies are not being practiced by teachers and administrators in their schools, those lessons may be of limited value. Students look to their teachers and administrators as role models. Therefore school leaders must demonstrate, rather than just teach, effective leadership at every level in school if they hope to maintain credibility and have students see the benefits of the strategies that they are being taught.
There is another very good reason for schools to adopt a more collaborative culture. We know from a recent Gallup Poll that 71% of American workers are disengaged. Not only are these people miserable at work but they are spreading that misery to their coworkers which is exacerbating the situation. When questioned about their feelings many claim that the management of their organizations does not foster trust, collaboration or give them a sense that they or their ideas are valued. Schools are, by no means, immune from this. Most teachers who leave the profession early in their careers state these same reasons for their decision.
On the other hand, we also know from research that leaders who go out of their way to develop a culture of trust, respect and true collaboration in the workplace have thriving and effective teams in their organizations that are more productive, have a high level of employee retention (a big money saver) and are much less problematic for everyone involved.
Schools need to establish such a culture in order to raise academic performance, gain increased cooperation from staff, students, parents and the community as well as to become more efficient financially.