Participative Leadership

Last year, I knew the SBDM existed, but I did not sit on a meeting until the last one of the school year. I was not sure what the committee did as that last meeting was just going over checklists and evaluations for the school. I had several assumptions about the SBDM committee before becoming a member this year, but did not really learn what the committee’s purpose was until my interview with the principal. I assumed that the school board controlled dress code very strictly, but I learned that the SBDM has a lot of say in what is presented to the school board, even dress code. Last year the SBDM was crucial in addressing some of the rules about hair length for boys and holes in jeans. They also played an important role in changing the dress code for this upcoming prom, as last year’s dress code did not allow female students to wear the new trend in dresses. Personal opinion of these dress code policies aside, I was pleasantly surprised at what all the SBDM committee is able to accomplish.

I have always believed that involving employees in the decision-making process will benefit the organization. The research completed by Er, KILINÇ, KOŞAR, D., KOŞAR, S., & ÖĞEM, (2016) found that teachers had a more positive perception of their school culture in a participative setting than those teachers in a bureaucratic setting. This is because bureaucratic cultures do not provide opportunities to their teachers to express their thoughts freely. They went on to say that change is more likely to fail in bureaucratic schools. In either a participative or a bureaucratic setting, the principal is usually the facilitator of that change.

Fessehatsion (2017) studied implementing change in school and the principal’s role. The findings in Fessehatsion’s study showed the perception was high in regards that a principal influences others to change within the school. A study done by Coch & French  was also mentioned within this study stating that there is a lower turn-over in settings that allowed its stakeholder to participate in the change process (as cited in Fessehatsion, 2017). Overall, Fessehatsion (2017) was able to conclude that teachers expect their principals to be the facilitators of change and they can be successful in that role when they involve participatory styles of leadership.

For a school to be successful, there is participation in all facets of the organization. This includes professional learning opportunities. According to Martha Richardson (2005), having a consensus based leadership allows for a greater deal of communication between students, staff, and administration. It teachers students how to communicate their concerns to adults and builds a relationship of trust.

As a campus leader, I would continue to make sure all professional learning opportunities align with the vision and core beliefs. The link between the vision and the professional learning opportunity should be explained each time to ensure there is purpose given to each activity. Professional learning should never be a stand-alone activity. It should be intensive, job-embedded, classroom-focused, and throughout the academic and nonacademic year. Teachers should also be encouraged to put a copy of the vision in a place they will see it every day as a reminder that our school functions as a team with a common vision. No matter the differences in our content areas or teaching styles, we have a common goal.

In regards to the specific accomplishment, I would want the staff to gather to outline the pros and cons of the strategies implemented. We would celebrate what worked well and brainstorm solutions to roadblocks or speed bumps we encountered. It is extremely important to celebrate everything you can along the way as well as take note of how things can be improved.

The principal’s role in problem solving and change is one of great importance. How the principal involves others is of equal importance. Allowing stakeholder participation increases employee retention and results in greater success of the implementation of change when a participatory style of leadership is invoked (as cited in Fessehatsion, 2017, pp. 138; Fessehatsion, 2017 pp. 140-141). At the end of the day, teacher behavior is significant in regards to students, other teachers, and the culture of the school. Principals influence teacher behavior in the way they lead, either bureaucratically or with a participative style. Whatever method has a direct correlation with teachers’ readiness to change.

As a campus leader, I would continually utilize resources like committees and surveys to illicit input from all stakeholders to ensure the success of my school and all of its constituents.



Er, E., KILINÇ, A. Ç., KOŞAR, D., KOŞAR, S., ÖĞEM, Z. (2016). The relationships between teachers’ perceptions of organizational culture and school capacity for change. Journal of Educational Sciences Research, 6(2), 39-59. doi: 10.12973/jesr.2016.62.3

Fessehatsion, P. W. (2017). School principal’s role in facilitating change in teaching-learning process: Teacher’s attitude. A case study on five junior schools in Asmara, Eritrea. Journal of Education and Practice, 8(6), 134-142. Retrieved from http://iiste.org/Journals/index.php/JEP

Richardson, M. (2005, Dec). Principal Leadership. Middle Level ed, 6(4), pp. 32-36.

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