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This chapter covers a review of literature on leadership styles and school performance. The purpose of reviewing literature on leadership styles is to have a better understanding of leadership style as a concept. Further, it helps to examine different leadership styles to see their effectiveness and how the style affects the school performance.
The existence of various leadership models indicates that there is no single leadership style to run a school effectively. However, depending on the situation, the combination of styles is effective. For any organisation especially the school, high performance should be the aim as education is considered as the backbone of any country. The manager is looked upon to create a suitable learning atmosphere where pupils can be effectively prepared to meet future challenges. Even though there are other factors, which influence school performance, the manager's leadership styles is to some extent instrumental in enhancing school performance, as they are responsible for how the school is run. In order to assess the relationship between leadership styles and school performance, it is logical to examine various leadership styles. Therefore, this chapter deals with the concept and significance of leadership amalgam with several leadership notions and styles in order to unravel and pinpoint the link between leadership styles and school performance. Lastly, other factors that affect school performance will also be reviewed.
2.2.1 What is leadership?
The term leadership has been a topic of discussion since ancient times. Adlam (2003:204) argued that leadership is a rather complex concept because several approaches have been employed to provide meaning to the term leadership and effectiveness.
The traditional concept of leadership is considered as inducing compliance, respect and cooperation. According to Anderson, Ford & Hamilton (1998:269), leader exercises power over the followers to obtain their cooperation. They formulate goals, and ensure their efficient accomplishment.
Leadership is defined as a situation of interpersonal influence that get individuals, or groups of people to do what the leader wants to be done. This was brought forward by Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn (2000: 287). The leader's focus is on what he/she wants from people thus, followers' input is not encouraged with regard to what it is to be done. However, Maxwell (1999:108) argued that the leader's attention is on what he/she can put into people instead of what he/she can get out of them. This will help to build a relationship that will promote and increase productivity in the organisation.
Jaques and Clement (1991:4-5) defined leadership as a process in which an individual sets direction for other people gearing towards competence and full commitment. It takes place in a role relationship within a social structure. Thus, a leader functions by interacting with other people within a social structure.
Throughout history other views about leadership has cropped up which differ from the more traditional perspectives. For instance, Sergiovanni (1999:22) considered leadership as a personal thing comprising one's heart, head and hand which deals with one's beliefs, values and vision. The head of leadership is the experiences one has accumulated over time which gives the ability to perceive present situations in respect of these experiences gained. The hand of leadership is considered as the actions and decisions that one takes. Above all, leadership is the act of leading, which illustrates the leader's values, vision, experiences, personality amalgam with the ability to use past experiences to tackle situations. Thus, leadership can be perceived as a display of a whole person with respect to intelligence, perceptions, ideas, values and knowledge. With such assets, leaders bring about changes in the organisation.
2.2.2 Leadership Styles
Leadership style may be described as the way a leader influences his/her followers either by commanding or motivating them to achieve the set goals. Mazzarella and Smith (1989:58) described leadership style as the manner a leader leads. This is reflected in the work that the headteachers do which comprise: how they communicate leadership, exercise power and authority and the effect these have on teachers and other school staff members. They further argued that the way a leader leads determines whether he/she will accomplish school goals or maintain positive relationships with staff members.
Owens (1991:143) is of the view that leadership style is determined by what the headteacher does to motivate his/her subordinate which will help to accomplish the set school goals. In his study, he observed that some leaders set a higher value on task accomplishment whereas some emphasise on maintaining good interpersonal relationship. In the research performed by Litwin and Stringer's (1968:104 - 105), it was found that a leader is spurred to embrace certain styles based on his/her underlying attributes and workplace goals. These styles have an impact on workplace environment and on employee's performance on the job. Thus, the headteachers' motives and the school's aims have an influence on the manner the headteachers run the school.
According to Hersey and Blanchard (1993:163), a leader develops his/her style over a period of time from experience, education and training. They argued that leadership style is more of how the subordinates perceive their leader's behaviour than how the leader thinks he behaves. This is because his/her subordinates will treat him/her based on how they perceive his/her behaviour in different situations. Thus the teachers' assessment of the headteachers' leadership styles depends on the headteachers' styles of leading the school.
2.2.3 Leadership Models
Among the different types of leadership frameworks, there are some which may only be categorized as models or styles. A model is defined as how something happens or should actually happen. On the other way, a style explains something in detail on how someone ordains a certain theory or model. This is why leadership styles fall within the models and theories of leadership. Some recognized leadership models and styles are discussed below:
18.104.22.168 Adaptive leadership
Adaptive leaders view leadership more as a process than a set of competencies, and thrive to develop new strategies to address changes in the internal and external environments. The challenge of adaptive leaders is to connect the core values of the organization to these changes. Whereas adaptive leaders are aware that change is an incremental process and can be painful to subordinates, thereby encountering resistance, they nevertheless foster a culture that collects and honours diversity of opinion, a culture of constant learning and skill development for subordinates as well as for themselves.
22.214.171.124 Appreciative leadership
Appreciative leaders have the ability to bring the best out of people and situations through five core strategies commonly known as the five I's:
Inquiry: Use of positive and value-based questions to invite sharing of thoughts, feelings, and opinions from subordinates rather than giving orders, thus fostering a culture of shared accountability in which employees are empowered to take risks and decisions and are encouraged to participate, collaborate, experiment and innovate.
Illumination: actively seek to discover the individual skills, potentials, and strengths of subordinates aligning the same with providing opportunities to employees so as to draw out the best in them
Inclusion: acknowledge individual needs of employees so as to enable them to contribute to set tasks in ways that they are comfortable with.
Inspiration: act in energetically positive and inspirational ways, such as regularly sharing hopeful visions.
Integrity: demonstrate honesty, transparency, authenticity and ethical or moral conduct.
126.96.36.199 Authentic leadership
George (2003) defines authentic leaders as those who "genuinely desire to serve others through their leadership. They are more interested in empowering the people they lead to make a difference than they are in power, money or prestige for themselves. They are as guided by qualities of the heart, by passion and compassion, as they are by qualities of the mind". George (2003) suggests that: "Authentic leaders use their natural abilities but they also recognized their shortcomings and work hard to overcome them. They lead with meanings, purpose and values. They build enduring relationships with people. Others follow them because they know where they stand. They are consistent and self-disciplined. When their principles are tested they refuse to compromise. Authentic leaders are dedicated to developing themselves because they know that becoming a leader takes a lifetime of personal growth".
In short, authentic leaders are true to themselves recognizing their shortcomings as much as making the best of their leadership traits and abilities, and striving to constantly improve as leaders so as to naturally inspire and acquire the trust of followers.
188.8.131.52 Charismatic leadership
Charismatic leaders mainly gather followers through dint of personality and intrinsic traits of character, rather than through external power of authority. They lay emphasis on managing their own image and possess a variety of methods to do so, but they are equally good at scanning the environment and picking up the moods and concerns of individuals so they can hone their actions and words to suit the situation. Charismatic leaders portray enormous self confidence, exhibit behaviors that are out of the ordinary, and train their persuasive skills, making equally effective use of body language as well as verbal cues. Though this may sound as a quite egocentric leadership style, charismatic leaders are nevertheless often successful in gathering followers by deliberately playing out charisma in a theatrical manner. The leader may be having a genuine vision or an idealistic goal, but the charismatic style enables clear and effective articulation of this vision. Conger& Kanungo (1998) describe five behavioral attributes of charismatic leader, namely vision and articulation, sensitivity to the environment, sensitivity to member needs, personal risks taking and performing unconventional behavior.
Musser (1987) further notes that charismatic leaders seek to instil commitment to the vision being promoted as well as devotion to themselves. The extent to which either of these two goals is dominant depends on the underlying motivations of the leader.
184.108.40.206 Dynamic leadership
Leading dynamically is primordial in turbulent environmental landscapes. Dynamic leaders ensure that the organization is sensitive to changing patterns, flexible in response and robust enough to withstand the multiple challenges of fluctuating market conditions. In order to achieve this, dynamic leaders pay attention to 3 conditions:
Coherence: between various departments and teams within the organization, as well as the organization itself being coherent with market conditions. Building coherence within the organization implies ensuring clarity of roles and responsibilities, building and maintaining a culture of shared identity and open, honest communication, as well as a rhythm of high performance. The dynamic leader reckons that sustainability of a business cannot be measured so much against external factors as within the system in terms of coherence within its various parts.
Resilience: According to Quade (2010), resilience is 'the ability to integrate, recalibrate and recover quickly when challenged. Resilient leaders are constantly placing themselves in unfamiliar conditions stretching their capacity to absorb and adjust. They seek what is different in perspective, approach, or opinion; connect across boundaries and explore new ideas and technologies like a curious scientist'. Dynamic leaders keep themselves and their organization adaptable by breaking constraints through on-going learning and by setting up of appropriate feedback mechanism and other forms of interaction with customers.
Fitness: Being fore-seeing and proactive, constantly scanning the business environment for potential changes and threats, as well as emerging patterns so as to build up the company's fitness and capacity to resist and adapt with urgency to shifting environmental conditions.
220.127.116.11 Heroic leadership
Heroic leadership often emerges during times of conflict and drastic transformation when traditional patterns of leadership would fail. It is capable of resolving conflict and establishing authority, shared values, vision and purpose under great strain. Burns (1978) describes heroic leadership as a relationship between leader and followers in which the latter place great faith onto the former aspiring onto her or him as a symbolic solution and completely trusting his or her ability to overcome all obstacles and crisis. Since they are regarded as almost larger than life figures, heroics leaders must strive to be highly dependable and competent so that they meet the expectations of followers. If not, heroic leadership may prove harmful to the organization, as followers become overly dependent on the leader and equate success to the presence and effectiveness of the leader. In heroic leadership, the follower is highly compliant, conforming and disempowered, so that collective responsibility and accountability as well as sharing of knowledge and ideas seldom take place. Therefore, if the heroic leader fails to live up to expectations, the organization may collapse. Heroic leaders may hence be a threat to long term sustainability of the organization, which is also the case with charismatic leadership; both leadership styles being rather illusory.
18.104.22.168 Participative leadership
Participative leadership has emerged from the earlier discussed democratic leadership style put forward by Lewin et al. (1939). As the appellation suggests, it makes maximum use of participative methods to engage followers in decision making. Decisions of participative leaders are not unilateral, but rely on the motivation and commitment of the group. Involvement in decision-making is believed to improve the understanding of participants on the relevant issues, as well as create a greater sense of shared responsibility. It also helps develop skills of group members and enhance job satisfaction. Group members become less competitive among themselves and more likely collaborate towards achieving commonly set goals. Moreover, people tend to be more committed to those actions which they have participated in the design. Group decision making implies and shared knowledge, knowhow and skills, and therefore more effective use of human resources. Although decision making under participative leadership may take longer, it is more likely to have better results. The level of participation however varies with the type of decision being taken. The leader may, for instance, prefer to make decisions on how to implement goals more participative than those regarding goal setting.
22.214.171.124 Servant leadership
According to Greenleaf (1977), true leadership "emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others". Servant leaders recognize their responsibility and that of their organization towards all members within the organization, and towards society at large. They are as much engaged in community building as in building their organization, and for this they create an enabling environment, inculcating and nurturing the same spirit within the group. Servant leaders promote selfless attitude and service to others not only as values and character traits, but also as basic organizational goals. Therefore, servant leaders must demonstrate the willingness and the ability to put the well being of followers above all other goals, be it the leader's personal objectives or those of the organization. Servant leaders lead by meeting the personal, often non-material needs of followers and achieve authority on the basis of moral values and ideals. They reckon the need to build trusting relationships so as to gain followers' collaboration. Personal ambitions and monetary gains not being prime motivating factors under this leadership style, leaders should redefine personal growth as a route to better serve others, and lead all followers towards the same. Spears (2002) lists the following as essential traits of servant leaders: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to growth of people and community building.
2.3 School Performance
Page Thomas and Marshall (1979:262) define performance as "action of a person or group when given a learning task". In education we find that performance is usually related with achievement or attainment in carrying out a particular task, assignment or course work. School performance depends on the skills, hard work and interest realized in different types of grades and marks. School performance is the same as academic performance or scholastic achievement or attainment. Academic attainment can be measured by the ability and achievement level of a student in a particular school subject. This is why academic performance is related with a learner's scholastic ability and attainment because his schoolwork is constantly measured through tests, exams and assignments.
2.3.1 Factors affecting School performance
When it comes to academic performance of a learner, there are many factors which need to be taken into consideration should one want to perform better. Through research, it has been found that determinants of learners' performance are becoming an on-going debate among educators, academics and policy makers.
Different people believe that different factors affect learners differently under different circumstances. However there is some form of consensus on general factors that affect performance. This can classify them into four parts (Ogunbanjo:2001). They are:
Factors related to the home and family
Factors related to the environment and society
Factors related to the school
Factors related to the child
126.96.36.199 Factors related to the home and family
Family relationships and family environment play a major role in determining a child's success at school (Kapp 1994:151). The home environment is the single most important influence both positively and negatively on how well a child does in school. Insecurity, family disharmony, family incompleteness, inability of parents to offer the child continual affective and spiritual security in a confused society and economic pressure are all factors that affect the child's attitude towards learning. Education needs to be reciprocal between parent and child as this forms a mutual respect and builds emotional bond. When the climate is emotionally stable, a child is more open to parent's feelings and values. By this they tend to learn better. However, if this is not the case, the child will normally live a life of educational distress. Therefore the child will feel insecure, anxious and not open to learning.
Hence, within the home environment, consideration should be given to the following parental styles:
Excessive parental pressure
Most of the times now we find the parents put high pressure on children who find it unattainable or unrealistically high. Parents place too much emphasis on the child's intellectual development which makes the child feels pressurized. Such pressure often results in resistance or unconscious hostility on the child's part and who may also be discouraged when the expectations of parents are not met.
Parental indifference and neglect
In this case, the parents do not show any interest in their children's academic progress. By this, the children are unmotivated to learn. In addition, if parents show negative attitudes towards learning and academic achievements, these attitudes can be transferred to their children who on their part will have no real ambition to achieve at school. There are also some parents who never attend any school activities or are too busy and unavailable for their children.
These types of parents do not let their children have the independence they need to become responsible for themselves. Instead, they make the decisions for their children and give them little or no opportunity to make their own choice.
This relates to the situation where the discipline of parents towards their children is very poor and inconsistent. The children are allowed to do whatever they want. Such freedom on the part of the parents may lead children to disorganization and thus, underachieving at school. These types of parents do not set a structure or routine in the household. The children do not know what self-discipline is and are not prepared to study on their own. This lack of discipline leads to a disordered household and hence, is reflected in disorganization in the child's schoolwork.
This type of parenting is present in homes where the parents are too strict and where they actually prevails negative behaviours towards their children. These parents do not ignore minor aversive events and most of the times engage themselves in long conflictual exchanges that finally results in anger and also the use of physical punishment to children. These parents usually have a domineering personality and show little love and affection to their children. However, this type of upbringing builds a sense of low confidence and self-esteem in the child. Children facing such situations may see his/her teacher as a parent and thus unable to ask the teacher any questions or challenge the teacher on a particular subject if they need more clarifications about a topic. By this, they participate poorly and need to be spoon fed and accept whatever the teachers taught them. From this, the children are unable to think critically and become totally dependent on the teacher.
188.8.131.52 Factors related to the environment and society
These include socio-economic, psychological and environmental factors. Different people come from different backgrounds. Not everyone can afford schools fees, for example, and therefore some children may not attend school properly because of such reasons, which may affect their academic performance at the end of the day.
Smoking, alcohol, time spent sleeping and stress all have a great effect on students' academic performance (Pat & Tyler). Learners need to take care of their personal health, which includes eating healthy, doing exercise, getting enough sleep and rest. Behaviour such as smoking and drug usage may impact the school performance as these interfere with the brain functioning.
Stress has been found to interfere with performance, and should therefore be taken seriously. Many factors can cause stress and these include financial constraints, child abuse, parental neglect, irresponsibility and divorce, amongst many others.
If a child is stressed, they may not focus on their schoolwork as their minds are often occupied by disturbing thoughts that may not leave room for them to study as effectively as they ought to do. Negative thoughts can trouble a child and escalate into suicidal thoughts.
These thoughts can lead to self-destructive behavioural patterns, but the thoughts in themselves can already be distracting from schoolwork and therefore directly or indirectly have an impact on academic performance.
184.108.40.206 Factors related to the school
Looking at the school system, there are several factors which lead to underachievement. Van Wyk in Du Toit (1994:55) listed the following:
Teacher's inadequate instruction
Pupils' inadequate participation in the teaching/ learning situation
Unfamiliar and uninteresting curriculum
A curriculum that is irrelevant to the technotronic age
Lack of facilities in schools
Lack of guidance
Teacher's inadequate instruction
Here, there are inflexible teachers who work strictly according to the pre planned schedules and they do not go beyond their syllabus. By this, the students can be stifled and those students who are slow at learning will find high pressure on them so as they can keep pace with the rest of the class. This type of curriculum and teaching method does not satisfy the needs of the students and thus causes underachieving behaviours (Tlale: 1991:17). Such teachers are innovative and inflexible because they lack skills and expertise in their subject. Some schools are under staffed and teachers are made to teach subjects which they have not been trained for. In this case, they lack confidence in presenting their lessons and they also forbid any forms of questioning during the lecture. By being stereotyped, they will give learners very little or no opportunity to develop their insights and initiatives.
Pupils' inadequate participation in the teaching/ learning situation
In classrooms which are overcrowded, learners have little contact with their teachers where the latter are forced to adopt the authoritarian teaching methods. The learner's participation in such class is very minimal. Learners who normally should be in the central of learning situation are put in the sidelines. Furthermore, teachers show negative expectations towards certain students. Tlale(1991:18) indicates that "children with poor self-concepts in fact perceive their teachers expectations of failure as a confirmation of their own poor self-evaluation".
Unfamiliar and uninteresting curriculum
In most cases, the curriculum content is not related to the pupils' current lives. This is why they find these subjects boring. This is somehow true in areas where the pupils' cultural milieu differ from the school's cultural milieu ( Du Toit 1994:57). According to Tlale(1991:18), "gifted" learners are often anxious to question, criticize and discuss but the normal syllabus does not give enough opportunities for this. Therefore, they must seek outside the curriculum for further learning. This is why in most classrooms, 'the mugs are still filled by the jugs' and may continue to be so for a further long time.
A curriculum that is irrelevant to the technotronic age
The significance of the 'technotronic age' is on the modern technology and techniques, which feature in our present lifestyles. The 'technotronic age' points out that electronic networks and computers are now having an important place in social life and they are also accompanied by value shifts. The want-to-be orientation is being replaced by the want-to-have orientation. Relationships are being based on whether we consider the other useful or not (Prinsloo & Du Plessis 1998:200).
Children nowadays, are influenced by the societal hype. This is so because the mass media and internet are a source of great volumes of information both positive and negative. In education, value shifts can be seen and this is bringing lot of confusion in the education of the young. Prinsloo and Du Plessis (1998:201) also add, " while we want to stress age-old virtues of patience, sincerity, hard work and responsibility, modern life does the opposite". Life is hurried and there is no room for patience and the industrial cycle demands consumption rather than conservation.
Pretorius (in Prinsloo & Du Plessis 1998:201) stressed that a large variety of socially unacceptable behavior is being communicated to educators and children via mass media. These information if it is not selected and interpreted effectively according to mass media, it can causes much harm to children. Therefore, it is important for young people be trained to analyse all information critically and form the basis to make the right, valuable and acceptable judgements.
Lack of facilities in schools
Even in our today world, some schools are still without enough facilities such as furniture, textbooks, classrooms, toilets, water and electricity. Some classrooms are overcrowded. This therefore leaves the teacher little space to move around without any individual attention provided to children where it is necessary and also the children have little contact with their educators, thus, making the teaching method often rigid and inflexible without the participation of learners.
In our modern world, everything is new with modern technology. Most schools are now equipped with audio visual aids for learning. But in some schools these facilities are not provided; therefore hampering the students to learn better.
Toilets are not kept clean. The caretakers do not take the responsibility wholly so as to keep the toilet clean. Hence, the students find it very hard to use these toilets when in need.
Lack of guidance
Poor thinking and poor study methods can act as a barrier in scholastic achievement. Kapp (1994:153) maintains that potentially gifted underachievers experience little problem in low standards but when it comes to high standards, they cannot rely on memory but they have to apply learning strategies so as to expand knowledge. Therefore adequate guidance and life skills education are needed to ground learners in learning.
In most schools, there are not enough teachers who can offer appropriate guidance to children when they are in great need in terms of study methods and study skills. Those children who have difficulty in learning and poor reading skills are put aside and are not catered for.
220.127.116.11 Factors related to child
"Children differ from each other in the way in which they cope with their problems, and therefore manifest various personality characteristics, some of which may result in underachievement" (Tlale1991:18). Whitmore (in Kapp 1994:151) points that researchers are of the opinion that underachievers propagates a negative self-concept. Children who have built in them negative responses from parents, teachers and peers may form a low self concept and establish a negative attitude towards school leading to underachievement.
Over anxiety or fear of failure may also hinder academic achievement of children. Fear of failure occurs when children find the possibility of failure as a great threat. Through this, they are prevented to go hand in hand with learning experiences despite these are within the capabilities to do it. Anxiety comes from feeling of guilt and aggression. They also come from parents who place unrealistic demands on the child which he cannot fulfil. (Kapp1994:150). In addition 'fear of success' can also bring negative effects. This can be attain for example in girls where the society expects women to be subordinates to men.
"Locus of control" is also important in understanding why children perform below what is expected out of them. Internal locus of control occurs when a child accepts what happens to him and believes that his behavior is under control. On the other hand, external locus of control occurs when a child attributes whatever happens to something or someone else and these factors are not under his control. (Tlale 1991:18). Those who perform below put the blame on others and find variety of reasons for their failure. Once a child refuses to take the responsibility of his actions, he will do nothing about it.
Truancy at schools has been proclaimed as a major contributor to poor scholastic performance. This can be a result of peer pressure, that is, to form part of a peer group, school phobia and even parents or family situations. Fear of failure contributes highly in truancy. When children are absenting continuously from schools, gaps start to develop between the child and his study and it becomes difficult to catch up their studies. Van den Aardweg (1989:92) states that lot of studies have reported a positive correlation between family size and delinquency. This is so because larger family size are normally found in the lower socio- economic strata where truancy, overcrowding, poverty, illiteracy and lack of supervision do exist.
2.3.2 School performance related to managers' leadership styles
Sammons et al. (2011) explored the impact of school leadership on pupil outcomes. This study adopted a mixed-methods (MM), longitudinal design whereby it investigated the leadership of a sample of academically effective and improving schools identified from analyses of national assessment and examination data sets. Moreover, questionnaire surveys of principals and key staff (two per school at primary, five per school at secondary level) were conducted together with 20 qualitative school case studies. Results from the questionnaire analyses were reported. The paper also included changes in measures of school performance over three school years using data from 378 primary and 362 secondary schools. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation models (SEM) were performed in order to test direct and indirect effects of school leadership and school and classroom processes in predicting changes in schools' academic results. This methodology emphasized the fact that both quantitative and qualitative analysis were taken into consideration. Sammons et al. (2011) highlighted the importance of a model of leadership practice that promotes an orderly and favourable behavioural climate, positive learner motivation and a learning culture. This inevitably brings about positive changes in pupil behaviour and increase attendance which becomes the intermediate outcomes that promote school improvement.
Slater et al. (1992) also contributed to the construction of a theory of school effectiveness and leadership. Three major factors were associated with school effectiveness namely administrative appropriateness, teacher preparedness and student readiness. Slater et al. also argued that leadership has to do with building culture. As for management, it concerns creating and maintaining organizational structure. Though administrators have to focus on both culture and structure, they should also emphasise upon how teachers are prepare to teach. Teachers in turn have to focus on both culture and structure but also upon how ready students are to learn.