Choice is essential to connect with those that you lead, and in schools providing choice makes sense. More choice equals more freedom, and more freedom leads to more ownership. Let's face it. When people have more choice, they will be more engaged and even more empowered, but here is the reality about choice.
Choice is in the mind of the beholder.
If you don't believe me, watch The Art of Choosing.
Choice requires people to see a meaningful difference, and just because you offer it doesn't mean that you're helping people. Just because you offer choices, doesn't mean you are empowering freedom. According to research, too many choices can actually lead to higher stress, depression and perhaps psychological paralysis.
Too much choice
When was the last time you walked down the cereal aisle? There are just too many choices. If you don't know what you want, you could be there all day long. The same goes for our schools. If you offer people to many unfamiliar choices, they will become overwhelmed because they don't which choice is the best for them.
Too little choice
Ever been to a concession stand when all that was left was the one soda that you didn't want? It is downright frustrating. The same applies to choice in school. If you don't provide enough choices to those that you lead, you will create an organization filled with resentment of the tasks they are asked to do.
Finding the Right Balance
If you believe in offering your people the right amount of choice, you must remember this. If you don't know those that you lead, then you won't know the right kinds of choices or appropriate amounts of choice your people need to be more empowered. Choice only works when leaders include followers in the development of the menu of options, and when leaders provide the right balance of choice, followers will always select the best choice that makes them more efficient, effective and ultimately successful.