Is there such thing as “over-collaboration”?

If you are teacher reading this right now, here is a question for you…

Do you like to be micromanaged?

Of course, I know the answer which is why I asked the question. Nobody wants to feel that they aren’t trusted to do their job.

But here is something to think about…Can micromanaging happen upward in the hierarchy of a school?

If a principal decides without input, do you feel that you as a staff should have been consulted? Every decision? Maybe you are micromanaging.

Do decisions happen in your classroom for your students that you make without their consultation? Of course you do.

Do you want your principal or superintendent to trust you to do your job? Of course you do.

But does the same trust happen upward?

This is NOT saying that collaboration is not essential, and input isn’t valued.  But as a teacher, I know that there were soooooooo many things that we talked about as a staff that I didn’t care about (nor did the majority of teachers that I worked with), that we spoke about endlessly during staff meetings.  Collaboration takes time, and collaborating on everything takes all of the time, and sometimes, without a decision being made.

Now many of you are reading this thinking that I am saying, “Trust your leader sometimes to make decisions without your input.”  Yes and no.

Part of the reason I am writing this is that I know that over-collaboration can be a thing in schools and that if every decision needs consultation from staff, this could end up increasing the workload on teachers, impacting their classrooms.  As leaders, every conversation can add to the ever-increasing “teacher-plate” making it a “teacher-platter”.

One of my frustrations as a teacher was talking endlessly about a topic that maybe divided the staff, and then ultimately, walking away with no direction.  We can easily get scared to bother some of the people we serve for the sake of others, but wasting time could upset everyone.

Here is the tough part for an administrator…Identifying what needs collaboration and input, and what decision you can make on your own without burdening your staff. Identifying these things are not easy, but who said leadership was easy?

But this is why relationships (again) are so crucial. If people know that your heart and mind are in the right place, they will forgive a decision that was made without input if they know your intentions to serve them and the students were there the entire time.

Collaborating on everything can sometimes lead to nothing getting done. If you are micromanaging, up or down, ultimately that will guarantee more being added to your plate. Trust is a reciprocated agreement; it needs to go both ways. Figure out when input is needed, and when lack of input might be beneficial to those you serve in letting them do their job to the best of their abilities.

Source: George Couros