The Impact Leadership Has On Institutions Of Education Education Essay

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Educational Leadership

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Leadership towards a common goal: Which leadership style is the best?

A Literature Review

Signature Assignment

Daryl Dowdy



Introduction 4

Problem Statement 4

Literature Review 5

Qualities of a Leader 5

Transformational Leadership 6

Instructional Leadership 7

Servant leadership 8

Laissez-faire Leadership 10

Conclusions/Recommendations 11



Leadership towards a common goal: Which leadership style is the best?

Signature Assignment


Jim Collins author of Good to Great stated "leaders that go from good to great start not with where but with whom, they start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats first the people, then the direction." This literature review examines the impact leadership has on institutions of education. A principal is a leader who can encourage, influence, role model and guide. A principal is the person who is inventive and a motivator in make sure the school to strive and survive in line with its goals. The principal is the one making critical decisions, which involves foreseeing future, shaping a realistic vision and has goals for the future of the school that collaborates with people in order to appreciate this defines leaders as the designers of the organizational behaviors (Gülcan, 2012).

Problem Statement

With the impact of "No Child Left Behind Act" and the "Common Core Standards," school leadership is important to meet the expectations formulated. This greater than before accountability has led to states creating systems to evaluate schools based on measurable outcomes; this has resulted in pressures put on principals to work with teachers to avoid punitive measures from the state or federal government by improving student outcomes (Hoppey & McLeskey, 2012). The type of leadership that a schools principal uses will influence the school in a negative or positive way. It is important for school principals to adopt a leadership style that matches the situations of the school to ensure the success of the student's achievement. The qualities a school principal has will help guide a school system to achieve the mission. Transformational, instructional, servant leadership and laissez-faire leadership are among some leadership styles that this literature review discusses and the leadership styles effect on schools effectiveness.

Literature Review

Qualities of a Leader

Education World (2008) surveyed 43 principals to learn what they consider essential qualities of successful school leaders. Vision, goals, helps, develops, involves, role model, trustworthiness and credibility, daily visibility, and a sense of humor were the ten traits. Successful principals have a stated vision for the school and along with vision is a plan for to succeed at accomplishing this vision. Effective principals have clearly specified goals for teachers, parents, and student. Principals help to bring out the best in teachers by developing the leadership skills they have. Principals develop strong teachers and promote great teaching practice. Successful principals involve others in the decision making putting everyone in charge. Principals are role models for students and staff, showing them by action not just words. Principals are trustworthy and honest with students and staff. Principals are very visible in the school, they are out of office workers who spend time talking with students, teachers and staff. Sense of humor is very important for a principal to have it shows that they are human (Hopkins, 2008). Educators have greater than before expectations for student performance and a recession that reduces resources both material and human. School principals, teachers and the staff get to do more with less. How the principal uses his leadership style to manage these things is pivotal to the chances of success (Bird, Wang, Watson, & Murray, 2012).

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership style helps school principals' to structure their approaches to help move schools forward. Transformational leadership style has four major characteristics. Idealized influence defined as the principal's behavior and the follower's attributions about the leader. Inspirational motivation refers to the ways principals as transformational leaders encourage and motivate those around them, which includes teachers, staff, parents and students. The principal treats individuals as an individual and mentors them to develop their potential. Finally, intellectual stimulation characterizes the principal's effort, as a transformational leader to motivate followers to be innovative and creative to look at problems and approach them in new ways (Balyer, 2012).

Balyer (2012) did a qualitative study on 30 teachers from 6 different schools in Ä°stanbul, Turkey. The contributors chosen by using a purposive sampling method described as the best used with small numbers of individuals or groups, which used for understanding human perceptions, difficulties, needs, behaviors and backgrounds. Results of the qualitative study done by Balyer (2012) revealed that principals demonstrate extraordinary level of features of transformational leadership like idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. The study concluded those teachers' beliefs concerning their principals' transformational leadership behaviors are optimistic (Balyer, 2012).

Balyer (2012) gives recommendations that came up through the results obtained in the study, which is below:

Principals have significant impacts on student and teachers' performance, which means that principal candidates getting training as transformational leaders during their college trainings can be essential.

Principals have a big workload, which take up a lot of their time. The principal can lessen this workload by empowering management staff.

Current principals should get training in transformational leadership so that they are prepared with another style of leadership.

Principals having a degree in the educational administration field should be a requirement.

Principals should be free from political manipulations they should be place according to their qualities and qualifications.

In conclusion, Balyer (2012) states that; "it is an ongoing matter of discussion whether principals demonstrate the characteristics of transformational leadership properly (p. 588)."

Instructional Leadership

Researchers describe instructional leadership with different viewpoints in instructional leadership definitions. Instructional leadership states the power and actions that school principals, teachers and auditors use to affect the persons and circumstances concerning school. The starting point of instructional leadership is to cultivate instruction. Instructional leadership approach intent is planning the school environment entirely in direction with instruction and as a productive setting (GüLlcan, 2012).

GüLlcan (2012) did a study on 675 teachers and administrators at 15 schools in Turkey. The data showed that school principals are knowledgeable enough in administrative issues such as maintaining discipline at schools and legal regulations; but not proficient in matters like education psychology and new instruction methods. GüLlcan (2012) suggest five instructional leadership roles of the school principal:

Identify the vision and mission of the school: A school principal defines the school's mission, define and share the goals of the school and evaluates, cultivate and implement them.

Programming and administering education: Principals uses the instruction period efficiently. A principal influences students to learn and sustains a good educational setting for learning, collaboration and cooperation.

Staff development: A principal rewards the achievements of the staff and makes sure there is professional development of all teachers.

Monitoring and assessing the teaching process: The principal is in charge of the teaching period and evaluates the process.

Creating and developing a positive school climate: The principal is the key to organizational change and strengthens communication with teachers, staff, students and parents.

School principals need to be up to date on all new and future instructional trends and issues in order to be fully competent as instructional leaders. The principal is the one who in charge of making sure that communication of trends and issues of instruction given to the teachers and staff.

Servant leadership

Ken Blanchard author of "On Minute Manager" stated; "Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don't work for you, you work for them." The servant leadership model of leadership emphasizes increased service to others; an all-inclusive approach to effort; encouraging a sense of community; and the sharing of power in decision-making (Shekari & Nikooparvar, 2012). Black (2010) stated, "according to servant leadership principles, leaders take care of their followers. Followers of a servant leader are only effective when they meet the needs of their followers; an effective servant leader understands and is sensitive to the followers' needs. By removing obstacles, a servant leader enables followers to concentrate on their tasks. (p. 439)."

Ten traits of a servant leader are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community. The descriptions of these traits are:

Servant leaders listen openly. The disposition of the servant leader is to recognize the situation before taking action.

Servant leaders are empathetic they try to understand the actions, behaviors, and goals of people.

Servant leaders are healers they take care of people by addressing emotional and spiritual damage from life experiences of people.

Servant leaders are aware of their surroundings and respond according to the situation. They use the information to head off potential situations in the future.

Servant leaders use persuasion by showing admiration and dignity for people. The goal is to count on and preserve follower commitment to the schools mission.

The servant leader's conceptualization trait involves the servant leader to look beyond the day-to-day goals and look at the long-term mission of the school.

Servant leaders show foresight by having the ability to gage what is to take place in the future and establish action plans to take care of the situation.

Servant leaders show stewardship by taking care of the school and everything that is involved with the school system.

Servant leaders show commitment to the growth of people by providing in-services that increase the teacher's ability to educate students.

Servant leaders work hard to build community by establishing a cohesive atmosphere of people that serve first (Black, 2010).

Black (2010) did a study of principals and teacher's views of servant leadership principles. The intent of the study was to see how the principals implemented servant leadership style in the elementary schools in a Catholic school board in Ontario. Black (2010) found that when servant leadership style was present the overall climate of the school was positive. Black's (2010) study provides understanding into real-world associations for exactly how principals can implement servant leadership principles to affect a positive school climate. The study offers understanding into areas of importance for administrators to develop effective leadership programs using servant leadership principles. The study gives precise patterns of servant leadership actions by principals in schools for each servant leadership trait (Black, 2010).

Laissez-faire Leadership

Laissez-faire leadership identified as the "hands-off¨ style. Principals that are Laissez-faire leaders offer very little direction, give teachers and staff as much independence as possible. Laissez-faire principals give all authority or power to the teachers and staff and they determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems on their own. Laissez-faire leadership style used by principals is an effective style to use if; teachers and staff are highly skilled, experienced, and educated. Teachers and staff have pride in what they do and are motivated to do it effectively on their own. The laissez-faire leadership style is effective if teachers and staff are trustworthy and experienced. The laissez-faire leadership style is not good to use, if teachers and staff feel unconfident at the unavailability of a principal. The laissez-faire leadership style is not good to use if the principal cannot provide consistent feedback to teachers and staff on how well they are doing. The laissez-faire leadership style is not good to use if principals are unable to show appreciation to teachers and staff for their good work. The laissez-faire leadership style is not good to use if the principal does not comprehend the responsibilities of the job and hoping the teachers and staff take care of the tasks (Adeyemi, 2010).

Adeyemi (2010) did a study to investigated principals' leadership styles and teachers' job performance in senior secondary schools in Ondo State, Nigeria. This study made up of 240 principals and 1800 teachers, Adeyemi (2010) used two instruments principals' leadership style questionnaire and the teachers' job performance questionnaire to collect data. The study was to determine if laissez-faire leadership style was the best leadership style for principals to use to enhance better job performance among teachers in senior secondary schools in the State. Adeyemi (2010) findings showed that the use of the Laissez-faire leadership style is discouraged as an appropriate leadership style for school principals as it could not bring a better job performance among teachers.


Principal leadership towards a common goal is very important to the successful implementation of The Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards are established sets of educational content standards for grades K-12 in English language arts and math. Common core standards will deliver a constant, clear understanding of what students will have to learn, this will help teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them to be efficient in all areas. The standards are robust and applicable to the real world, reflecting the awareness and abilities that our students need for achievement in college and careers. With American schoolchildren completely prepared for the future, this will put our communities in the best situation to compete effectively in the global economy (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012).

The leadership styles reviewed in this literature review, transformational, instructional, servant leadership and laissez-faire leadership styles discussed the qualities for successful implementation, when the styles are best used and data that proves the success of each leadership style. Based on the information reviewed each style has its place in order for principals to be successful. Each style is situational and based on the environment of the school. The only leadership style reviewed that suggested not using was the laissez-faire leadership style. As Adeyemi (2010) stated, the laissez-faire leadership style is not good to use if the principal does not comprehend the responsibilities of the job and hoping the teachers and staff take care of the tasks. Adeyemi (2010) showed that the use of the Laissez-faire leadership style is discouraged as an appropriate leadership style for school principals as it could not bring a better job performance among teachers.

Pepper (2010) stated that, "never before has a school principal's job been more important and never before has the job been more difficult. Today's school leaders caught between current expectations of improving test results and expectations of the past in which the principal's job was to see that the school ran smoothly and the principal was responsive to students, parents, and other stakeholders (p. 43)." Principals now have more responsibility that ever before. They are responsible for the success of students, teachers, staff and families. Choosing the right leadership style to use will determine the success of the principal. School principals always seem to have their hands full, and at any time, the encounters and task seem like they never stop. Nevertheless, the most effective principals know how to regulate these situations. The principal using the desired leadership style arranges and have procedures in place to take care of the predictable and the unpredicted. Principals have the sureness in the capability of the teachers and staff to whom they delegate. Principals continually show that in order to be successful leaders they have to be outstanding time managers. Principals use their leadership style to focus on the processes and, as a result, keep the issues on what truly matters to future improvement of the school system and ultimately on academic achievement of all students, not on side issues, personalities, or dead issues. Great principals, seem to find ways to advance the level of the organization. Even further imperative, good principal leaders define their work as the building of leadership teams, making other leaders by establishing a climate of trust and by sharing information and power (Abbate, 2010).