Collective leadership

Collective leadership playbook
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Are you interested in exploring the power collective leadership might have for your school or district? The Collective leadership playbook contains numerous resources that will guide your team through the decisions and tasks associated with planning, launching, and implementing a collective leadership pilot or initiative with a group of educators. Let’s get started.

“Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader. They set out to make a difference.

It is never about the role it’s always about the goal.”​

– Lisa Haisha

Collective leadership is a set of practices ensuring that team members participate in important decisions impacting student learning and schoolwide success. Traditional approaches to leadership tend to focus on developing individual leaders in general ways. Collective leadership practice is different in that it considers the purpose for leadership first, then embeds relevant skills within every classroom and team in a school or district. The purpose is not to develop individual leaders but to develop leaders collectively focused on the work across a school.

When we say effective collective leadership, we mean that not only is a team of educators sharing the work of leadership but that they’re doing so in ways that move the school(s) and students for whom they’re responsible toward improvement and innovation that creates excellent, equitable learning opportunities.

We define effective collective leadership as “a team of educators sharing the work of leadership in ways that move their school(s) and students toward improvement and innovation by creating excellent, equitable learning opportunities.”

There are seven system conditions needed for effective collective leadership implementation (see the table below).

System conditions for collective leadership

The seven conditions needed for effective implementation of collective leadership are interdependent yet can be addressed individually. Each is an essential part of creating a system of collective leadership, but addressing the conditions individually helps leadership teams think analytically and creatively about how to leverage areas in which their systems already have some strengths and address areas in which they need to stretch themselves. Focusing on each condition individually can also be instructive as to what may be causing challenges along the way.

What are these tools?

The strategy guides linked below are aligned to the system conditions and intended for use by teams of educators (teachers and administrators) who are looking to initiate or strengthen collective leadership structures in their schools. They are intended to help facilitate ongoing collaborative team discussions that lead to action and are grounded in CTQ’s understanding of how to lead sustainable change. These discussion guides are intended to help guide and unify teams as they identify challenges, set goals, and evaluate the impact of their work.

We suggest your team start with the playbook overview. Once you have worked through the overview, your team may choose to take on the condition of greatest need or greatest strength. Whatever you choose, be sure it is an intentional decision.



Does your team want help deciding on the most strategic path for your school or district? Use the button below to send us a message. We would love to support your team’s journey.

Collective leadership roundtable

The time has come for a new brand of school leadership. One that moves beyond the principal and a few teacher leaders toward a culture of shared collaboration and collective leadership. All voices in our schools must play a critical role in shaping school structures, policies, and outcomes. Check out the blogs from the CTQ Collective leadership roundtable.