Collaborative Work: A strategy to enhance leadership within an Educational Institution
| Dr. Rita Aguilar Gonzalez - 01 Sep 2022


Traditional education, in which the teacher explains and the student simply listens or writes and acquire knowledge, was left behind, making space for a more participatory education, where students are part of the construction of their personal knowledge; sharing knowledge, ideas, and information through teamwork, working collaboratively. Key words: Leadership, collaborative work, situational leadership, empowerment, shared vision.

Introduction: Leadership, as a fundamental part of any institution requires the use of different strategies to achieve the objective and/or goal set. Because we all live and work in society, it is almost impossible to obtain great individual results, therefore, the implementation of group strategies is recommended.

This article focuses solely on enhancing leadership in educational institutions. The objective of an educational institution is the student´s formation and development, in an integral way, during this process s/he will acquire and construct their knowledge, and skills to become competent in society.

Considering the fundamental objective of an educational institution, Collaborative Work (which also implies collaborative learning) is one of the most convenient and appropriate strategies to enhance the leader´s job, where all members in the educational institution takes an active part, everyone focuses on their role with the support of all and with the correct direction of the Leader, achieving an excellent teamwork.

Development:- “The active school of the early twentieth century promoted by John Dewey (1859-1952) also emphasizes the need for the student´s interaction and as part of its mutual aid and collaboration”, (Ferreiro, Espino, 2009). This generates better results in the teaching-learning process within the competencies system. Where the student is committed to develop their own individual and group skills within the classroom.

To empower leadership in the educational institution, the responsibility of situational leaders and the modernity of empowerment with a shared vision is required.

What is collaborative work? It is the pooling of knowledge skills and group efforts. All focused on achieving a single goal and generating new knowledge. “Cooperative learning is the didactic use of small groups in which students work together to maximize their own learning and that of others”.

What does leadership mean? Composed from the verb to lead, which means to direct. Leadership is more than a word, it is a concept, the function of guiding, motivating, making the right decisions to lead a group of people, towards the achievement of objectives.

Leadership is classified into several types, such as Charismatic Leadership, Leadership Styles, also considered as Management Grid, but this article will only focus on situational leadership, empowerment and shared vision.

Situational Leadership: Situational leadership refers to a leader who must consider various aspects and contexts in order to act and lead, to achieve the desired objectives and goals.

This type of leadership is one of the most common, due to its variety and flexibility facing circumstances. Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard (1969) started from the following assumptions to develop this leadership.

It is not an issue to work more, but working more effectively.

There is nothing more unfair than treating equally those who are unequal.

The leader does not go up front, he is behind each individual or work team to provide, support and direct them at the right time.

The situational leader is classified in fours styles, which can become a process, according on the maturity of their followers; the students. It is extremely necessary to know the style the leader faces  and must try to get to style 4.

Figure 1 Situational leadership, leader´s style

According to figure 1 situational leadership is completely focused on the collaborator, being flexible because every human being is different, therefore, the leader will choose styles according to the collaborator and the circumstance. Inside the classroom, the same things happen, the teacher must analyze and consider the personality, knowledge, the complete context: individual and group must choose and determine the style where they will begin its leadership with each student to achieve the goal, to go all the way up to style 4.

Empowerment: A trend used in recent years to empower workers or members of an institution, to actively participate in decision making in conjunction with the leader, generating “power” among members.

In the decisive moments of the institution, member has the right to give their opinion, which obliges the leader to listen and take his/her opinion in consideration.

In this type of leadership, the traditional pyramid of hierarchies is left behind, giving way to the circle structure. Having the student in the center, and around him/her are all members of the institution, sharing responsibilities and supporting the student for their educational growth.

With this model Collaborative work has better results as a strategy, it is a space where leadership is exercised without authoritarianism, a shared leadership, teamwork, all working for the same purpose., committed to the educational institution and student´s learning.

Roles: The role of each member in an educational institution must be specified in order to achieve the objective within the collaborative work.

Collaborators (students): The collaborator´s role is to participate actively, a continuous learning, support toward their peers. Having the following characteristics: a) responsible with the learning process, b) Motivated by learning, they are committed and find pleasure in learning, c) Collaborative and d) Strategic.

Leader: The leader will not always be the teacher the leader may be the student or students. Their role is to direct, guide in an empathetic way. Characteristics: a) explaining the structure of collaborative work and social skills required, b) Monitoring and intervening when necessary and c) Evaluating and processing.

Shared Vision: To potentialized leadership; Shared Vision must be defined. Shared Vision in an educational institution allows all the personnel involved to change their actions and interests towards the same institution. They feel committed to the mission, vision and values of the institution, establishing a common bond. There cannot be a shared vison without first establishing each one´s personal vision; integrating the personal visions.

Leadership within the collaborative work plays an important role in Shared Vision, since it must ensure that all its members, including collaborators, achieve the institutional shared vision.

These tools are required to achieve collaborative work with the right direction and shared vision of the situational leader and empowerment as well as the constituents of the educational institution:

  1. Smooth and appropriate communication
  2. Motivation on the part of the leader mainly.

To complete a Leadership process there are and it is convenient to apply an evaluation that allows to know the achievement level.


The advantages found in empowering leadership through Collaborative Work strategy (collaborative learning) in educational practice are considered to be many, especially because the learning that is acquired is incomparable, everyone learns from everyone, joining efforts to achieve a common goal.

Knowing and including situational leadership, empowerment and shared vision as part of collaborative work, the leader becomes a guide for the students, making their work motivating, in harmonious, empathetic and pleasant environment, obtaining better results for the institution and especially for the students.

Students will participate at some point in the course as leaders by working collaboratively, as they work in teams, forcing them to enhance their skills as leaders or collaborators. Learning the true meaning and sense of leadership. They develop the Principle of Distributed Leadership: “All students are able to understand, learn and develop leadership tasks, which enables them to play different roles in teamwork, such as rapporteur and, among others, the role of animator”, (Ferrero, Espino, 2009 p. 82).

By empowering leadership with the Collaborative Work strategy, students reaffirm their moral values: respect, gratitude, love, friendship, kindness, dignity, honesty, humility, tolerance, solidarity, prudence, perseverance, loyalty, etc. Values that they will not only practice in the classroom, in school but also in life. “When leaders go forward. Others will follow” (Denny, 2001 p.20).

The classes become a real challenge for the students, since they are the main actors constructing their own knowledge, they learn from their classmates and not only from the teacher.


Arteaga, Frank, (2006), Aprendizaje colaborativo: Un reto para la educación contemporánea

Denny, Richard, (2001). Motivar para ganar, Editorial Selector. Las estrategias y técnicas didácticas en el rediseño: Aprendizaje Colaborativo,

Dirección de Investigación y Desarrollo Educativo, Vicerrectoría Académica, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey.

Ferreiro, Ramón y Espino, Margarita, (2009). El ABC del aprendizaje cooperativo: Trabajo en equipo para aprender y enseñar. Editorial Trillas.

Johnson, David W. y Johnson, Frank P., (1997) Joinging together: Group Theory and Group Skills, Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Rodríguez Estrada, Mauro, (1995). Liderazgo (Desarrollo de habilidades directivas), Serie Capacitación integral, El Manual Moderno.

Sánchez, Emilio, Rodríguez, Andrés, (2009). 40 años de la teoría del liderazgo situacional: una revisión. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicología, Volumen 42 (Num. 1), pp. 29-39.

Senge, Peter. (1996). La quinta disciplina. El arte y la práctica de la organización abierta al aprendizaje. España: Ediciones Juan Granica.

Browse By Tags

Related News

Copyright © 2016. Jagat Media Solutions | All Rights Reserved