Hello Chef Fan’s! This paper is the first part of my final paper that I am witting in parts for my Critical Issues in Leadership Class. In this part of the paper I explore the different theories behind leadership. Enjoy…
What is Leadership? Leadership has been described as “a process of social influence, in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” However what is not made clear by this description is what type of leader we are talking about. There are many different types of leaders for every faction of human life. There have been leaders of war or military companies, and there are also the leaders of modern business. Leadership is an idea that has been thought about for many years, with hundreds if not thousands of books written about just this one subject. All of the books talk about different types of leaders and the practices they have used to be successful, but what these authors are really talking about is the theory behind their leadership.
When it comes to the theory behind leadership the question that has to be answered for ourselves is what ideas of leader are we going to be. This really comes down to knowing ourselves and the people we are going to be working with. In “The Art of War” one of the first things that you must do if you want to win is to know yourself and your enemy. Another way to look at this same situation however is from “The Prince” where it talks about having your people fear or love you. As it is clearly pointed out if your people fear you they will be more responsive to your demands but will hate you and this could breed rebellion. On the same hand if your people love you then they are more likely to be loyal and trusting, but it could be harder to get your requests fulfilled because they do not fear you. The real trick to being a leader is in knowing yourself and the people you have working for you. Leadership was once about hard skills such as planning, finance and business analysis. When command and control ruled the corporate world, the leaders were heroic rationalists who moved people around like pawns and fought like stags. When they spoke, the company employees jumped. Now, if the gurus and experts are right, leadership is increasingly concerned with soft skills like; teamwork, communication and motivation. The trouble is that for many people, the soft skills remain the hardest to understand, let alone master. After all, hard skills have traditionally been the ones which enabled us to climb to the top of the corporate ladder. The entire career system in some organizations is based on using hard functional skills to progress, but when new executives reach the top of the organization, many different skills are required. Leaders may find that although they can do the financial analysis and the strategic planning, they are poor at communicating ideas to employees or colleagues, or have little insight into how to motivate people. This brings us back to the theories of leadership and the impacts they can have on our teams.
The theory behind leadership is wide and varied with no two people really coming to an agreement about which theory is the best. Early leadership theories focused on what qualities distinguished leaders, while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill levels. “While many different leadership theories have emerged, most can be classified as one of eight major types: “Great Man” Theories, Trait Theories, Contingency Theories, Situational Theories, Behavioral Theories, Participative Theories, Management Theories, and Relationship Theories.”
“Great man theories assume that the capacity for leadership is inherent, that great leaders are born not made.”2 These theories often portray great leaders as heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed. The term “Great Man” was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male quality, especially in terms of military leadership. Similar in some ways to “Great Man” theories, trait theories assume that people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. “Trait theories often identify particular personality or behavioral characteristics shared by leaders.”2 If particular traits are key features of leadership, then how do we explain people who possess those qualities but are not leaders? This question is one of the difficulties in using trait theories to explain leadership.
“Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that might determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for the situation.”2 According to this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers and aspects of the situation. This leads us right into the next theory of leadership which could really be considered a branching out of Contingency Theory. Situational theories propose that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational variables. One of the biggest variables that will be faced is working with the behavioral tendencies of your employees. “Behavioral theories of leadership are based upon the belief that great leaders are made, not born. Rooted in behaviorism, this leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on mental qualities or internal states.”2 According to this theory, people can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation.
Participative leadership theories suggest that the ideal leadership style is one that takes the input of others into account. “These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members feel more relevant and committed to the decision-making process.” In participative theories, however, the leader retains the right to allow the input of others. This brings us to one of the most Machiavelli theory behind leadership which is Management theories. Management theories are also known as transactional theories that focus on the role of supervision, organization and group performance. “These theories base leadership on a system of rewards and punishments.”3 Managerial theories are often used in business; when employees are successful, they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished. Lastly we come to one of the greatest theories of them all, and the one that will have the biggest impact of every type of leader. “The relationship theory or transformational theories focus upon the connections formed between leaders and followers. Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher good of the task.”3 These leaders are focused on the performance of group members, but also want each person to fulfill his or her potential. Leaders with this style often have high ethical and moral standards.
Understanding the theory is only half of the battle one faces when trying to understand and adapt a leadership style. The real idea is that as a leader you are probably going to use parts of all eight theories of leadership at some point or another. This is why there are so many theories in the first place. Since no two people can agree on which is the best to use and because there is not a one size fits all approach to leadership we have to look at the next part of the leadership puzzle.
The next piece of the leadership puzzle is looking at the contextual and cultural factors that are going to play a role in the type of leader we decide to be….
Since I am writing this paper in parts the last line is going to be the start of the next section stay tuned for more to come and I hope you all enjoy!
“All About Leadership.” All About Leadership. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2012. <http://managementhelp.org/leadership/index.htm>.
“Leadership.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Aug. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership>.
Wolinski, Steve. “Leadership Theories.” The Free Management Library. N.p., 21 Apr. 2010. Web. 03 Aug. 2012. <http://managementhelp.org/blogs/leadership/2010/04/21/leadership-theories/>.
Tags: Contingency Theory, Education and Training, Executive, Great Man theory, Leadership, Management
Rose Ngozi Amanchukwu 1, Gloria Jones Stanley 2, Nwachukwu Prince Ololube 1
1Department of Educational Foundations and Management, Faculty of Education, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2School of Public Health Nursing, Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology
Correspondence to: Nwachukwu Prince Ololube , Department of Educational Foundations and Management, Faculty of Education, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Copyright © 2015 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
This study was motivated by the premise that no nation grows further than the quality of its educational leaders. The purpose of this theoretical debate is to examine the wider context of leadership and its effectiveness towards improving school management. This academic evaluation examines recent theoretical developments in the study of educational leadership in school management. It begins with a concise overview of the meaning and concept of leadership in terms of research, theory, and practice. This is followed by an examination of the theories of leadership, principles and styles of leadership. Each section ends with an identification of contemporary issues and possible means of amelioration. This article concludes that success is certain if the application of the leadership styles, principles and methods is properly and fully applied in school management because quality educational leadership tradition offers great opportunity to further refine educational leadership and management policies and practices by accepting and utilizing the basic principles and styles of educational leadership.
Keywords: Education, Leadership, Theories, Styles, Principles, Methods, Management, Policies and Practices
Cite this paper: Rose Ngozi Amanchukwu , Gloria Jones Stanley , Nwachukwu Prince Ololube , A Review of Leadership Theories, Principles and Styles and Their Relevance to Educational Management, Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, 2015, pp. 6-14. doi: 10.5923/j.mm.20150501.02.
- To many, leaders are not born, but made. It is increasingly accepted, however, that in order to be a good leader, one must have the experience, knowledge, commitment, patience, and most importantly the skill to negotiate and work with others to achieve goals. Good leaders are thus made, not born. Good leadership is developed through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and the accumulation of relevant experience (Bass & Bass, 2008). According to Boulding (1956) in book “The Image: Knowledge in Life and Society”, outlined the general transdisciplinary theory of knowledge and human, social, and organizational behaviour. He stated that the basis of a good leadership is strong character and selfless devotion to an organization (Jenkins, 2013). From the perspective of employees, leadership is comprised of everything a leader does that affects the achievement of objectives and the well-being of employees and the organization (Abbasialiya, 2010). Trustworthiness is often key to positions of leadership as trust is fundamental to all manner of organized human groups, whether in education, business, the military, religion, government, or international organizations (Lamb & McKee, 2004; Ivancevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2007). Leadership involves a type of responsibility aimed at achieving particular ends by applying the available resources (human and material) and ensuring a cohesive and coherent organization in the process (Ololube, 2013). Northouse (2007) and Rowe (2007) described leadership as a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. This article contends that effective leadership is crucial to the proper operation and very survival of a non-profit organization. Leadership is arguably one of the most observed, yet least understood phenomena on earth (Burns, in Abbasialiya, 2010). Over time, researchers have proposed many different styles of leadership as there is no particular style of leadership that can be considered universal. Despite the many diverse styles of leadership, a good or effective leader inspires, motivates, and directs activities to help achieve group or organizational goals. Conversely, an ineffective leader does not contribute to organizational progress and can, in fact, detract from organizational goal accomplishment. According to Naylor (1999), effective leadership is a product of the heart and an effective leader must be visionary, passionate, creative, flexible, inspiring, innovative, courageous, imaginative, experimental, and initiates change (see figure 1).
|Figure 1. Qualities of the leader and the manager|
- This study was enthused by the premise that no nation grows further than the quality of its educational leaders and or educational managers. In this theoretical debate, the authors presented a moderately detail analysis of a theoretical research conducted on the need for African countries especially Nigeria to reform. This debate focus not simply on what educational leadership is, but the impact it has on school management, teachers and students and the part it plays in meeting the challenges facing education institutions. The overall purpose of this theoretical debate is to examine the wider context in which leadership is made on effectiveness and improved school management.
2. Theories of Leadership
- There are as many different views of leadership as there are characteristic that distinguish leaders from non-leaders. While most research today has shifted from traditional trait or personality-based theories to a situation theory, which dictates that the situation in which leadership is exercised is determined by the leadership skills and characteristics of the leader (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009), all contemporary theories can fall under one of the following three perspectives: leadership as a process or relationship, leadership as a combination of traits or personality characteristics, or leadership as certain behaviors or, as they are more commonly referred to, leadership skills. In the more dominant theories of leadership, there exists the notion that, at least to some degree, leadership is a process that involves influence with a group of people toward the realization of goals (Wolinski, 2010).Charry (2012), noting that scholarly interest in leadership increased significantly during the early part of the twentieth century, identified eight major leadership theories. While the earlier of these focused on the qualities that distinguish leaders from followers, later theories looked at other variables including situational factors and skill levels. Although new theories are emerging all of the time, most can be classified as one of Charry’s eight major types:
2.1. "Great Man" Theory
- Great man theories assume that the capacity for leadership is inherent, that great leaders are born, not made. These theories often portray leaders as heroic, mythic and destined to rise to leadership when needed. The term great man was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male quality, especially military leadership (See also, Ololube, 2013).
2.2. Trait Theory
- Similar in some ways to great man theories, the trait theory assumes that people inherit certain qualities or traits make them better suited to leadership. Trait theories often identify particular personality or behavioural characteristics that are shared by leaders. Many have begun to ask of this theory, however, if particular traits are key features of leaders and leadership, how do we explain people who possess those qualities but are not leaders? Inconsistencies in the relationship between leadership traits and leadership effectiveness eventually led scholars to shift paradigms in search of new explanations for effective leadership.
2.3. Contingency Theories
- Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that might determine which style of leadership is best suited for a particular work situation. According to this theory, no single leadership style is appropriate in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including leadership style, qualities of followers and situational features (Charry, 2012). A contingency factor is thus any condition in any relevant environment to be considered when designing an organization or one of its elements (Naylor, 1999). Contingency theory states that effective leadership depends on the degree of fit between a leader’s qualities and leadership style and that demanded by a specific situation (Lamb, 2013).
2.4. Situational Theory
- Situational theory proposes that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational conditions or circumstances. Different styles of leadership may be more appropriate for different types of decision-making. For example, in a situation where the leader is expected to be the most knowledgeable and experienced member of a group, an authoritarian style of leadership might be most appropriate. In other instances where group members are skilled experts and expect to be treated as such, a democratic style may be more effective.
2.5. Behavioural Theory
- Behavioural theories of leadership are based on the belief that great leaders are made, not born. This leadership theory focuses on the actions of leaders not on intellectual qualities or internal states. According to the behavioural theory, people can learn to become leaders through training and observation. Naylor (1999) notes that interest in the behaviour of leaders has been stimulated by a systematic comparison of autocratic and democratic leadership styles. It has been observed that groups under these types of leadership perform differently: § Autocratically led groups will work well so long as the leader is present. Group members, however, tend to be unhappy with the leadership style and express hostility.§ Democratically led groups do nearly as well as the autocratic group. Group members have more positive feelings, however, and no hostility. Most importantly, the efforts of group members continue even when the leader is absent.
2.6. Participative Theory
- Participative leadership theories suggest that the ideal leadership style is one that takes the input of others into account. Participative leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members to feel relevant and committed to the decision-making process. A manager who uses participative leadership, rather than making all the decisions, seeks to involve other people, thus improving commitment and increasing collaboration, which leads to better quality decisions and a more successful business (Lamb, 2013).
2.7. Transactional/Management Theory
- Transactional theories, also known as management theories, focus on the role of supervision, organization and group performance and the exchanges that take place between leaders and followers. These theories base leadership on a system of rewards and punishments (Charry, 2012). In other words, on the notion that a leader’s job is to create structures that make it abundantly clear what is expected of followers and the consequences (rewards and punishments) associated with meeting or not meeting expectations (Lamb, 2013). When employees are successful, they are rewarded and when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished (Charry, 2012). Managerial or transactional theoryis often likened to the concept and practice of management and continues to be an extremely common component of many leadership models and organizational structures (Lamb, 2013).
2.8. Relationship/Transformational Theory
- Relationship theories, also known as transformational theories, focus on the connections formed between leaders and followers. In these theories, leadership is the process by which a person engages with others and is able to “create a connection” that results in increased motivationand morality in both followers and leaders. Relationship theories are often compared to charismatic leadership theories in which leaders with certain qualities, such as confidence, extroversion, and clearly stated values, are seen as best able to motivate followers (Lamb, 2013). Relationship or transformational leaders motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance and higher good of the task. These leaders are focused on the performance of group members, but also on each person to fulfilling his or her potential. Leaders of this style often have high ethical and moral standards (Charry, 2012).
2.9. Skills Theory
- This theory states that learned knowledge and acquired skills/abilities are significant factors in the practice of effective leadership. Skills theory by no means refuses to acknowledge the connection between inherited traits and the capacity to lead effectively, but argues that learned skills, a developed style, and acquired knowledge, are the real keys to leadership performance. A strong belief in skills theory often demands that considerable effort and resources be devoted to leadership training and development (Wolinski, 2010).
3. Principles of Leadership
- In addition to leadership theories, the principles of leadership are a commonly studied phenomenon. The United States Army (1983) has identified eleven basic principles of leadership and the means for implementing them: • Be technically proficient: As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with the tasks of your different employees;• Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers: Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities;• Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished: Communication is key. A leader must be able to communicate effectively. Leaders should spend most of their day engaged in communication. Older studies, in fact, noted that organizational leaders (managers) spent 70 to 90 per cent of their time each day on communication and related activities (Barrett, [n.d]);• Keep your workers informed: Know how to communicate with not only junior staff, but senior staff and other key people as well;• Know your people and look out for their well-being: Be well versed in basic human nature and recognize the importance of sincerely caring for your workers;• Know yourself and seek self-improvement: In order to know yourself, you have to understand what you are, what you know, and what you can do (attributes). Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal education, workshops, reflection, and interacting with others;• Make sound and timely decisions: Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools;• Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions: Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. When things go wrong, do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge;• Set the example: Be a good role model for your employees. Employees must not only be told what is expected of them, but see leaders embodying organizational qualities and ethics. Leaders must embody what they wish to see in their employees;• Train as a team: Do not focus on just your department, section, or employees, but envision the whole organization as an entity that must learn and succeed together; and• Use the full capabilities of your organization: By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ the abilities of your entire organization towards organizational goals. Effective educational leadership is very essential to school effectiveness and improvement (Ololube, Egbezor, Kpolovie, & Amaele, 2012). To sustain educational leadership, leaders must develop sustainability on how they approach, commit to and protect teaching and learning in schools; how they sustain themselves and followers around them to promote and support teaching and learning; how they are able and encouraged to sustain their vision and avoid burning out; and how they consider the impact of their leadership in school management. Most leaders want to do things that matter, to inspire others to do it with them and to leave a legacy once they have gone (Hargreaves & Goodson, 2006). To a large extent, it is not leaders who mismanage their schools; however, it is the systems in which they lead (Mulford, 2003). Questionably, sustainable leadership certainly needs to become a commitment of all school leaders. Therefore, to sustain effective educational leadership, Hargreaves and Fink (2004) presented seven principles of sustainable leadership vis-à-vis:• Sustainable leadership creates and preserves sustaining learning• Sustainable leadership secures success over time• Sustainable leadership sustains the leadership of others• Sustainable leadership addresses issues of social justice• Sustainable leadership develops rather than depletes human and material resources• Sustainable leadership develops environmental diversity and capacity• Sustainable leadership undertakes activist engagement with the environment
4. Leadership Styles
- Leadership styles are the approaches used to motivate followers. Leadership is not a “one size fits all” phenomenon. Leadership styles should be selected and adapted to fit organizations, situations, groups, and individuals. It is thus useful to possess a thorough understanding of the different styles as such knowledge increases the tools available to lead effectively. Below are a number of leadership styles articulated in the Toolkit (n.d):
4.1. Autocratic Leadership Style
- Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leaders have complete power over staff. Staff and team members have little opportunity to make suggestions, even if these are in the best interest of the team or organization. The benefit of autocratic leadership is that it is incredibly efficient. Decisions are made quickly, and the work to implement those decisions can begin immediately. In terms of disadvantages, most staff resent being dealt with in this way. Autocratic leadership is often best used in crises situation, when decisions must be made quickly and without dissent.
4.2. Bureaucratic Leadership Style
- Bureaucratic leaders follow rules rigorously, and ensure that their staff also follow procedures precisely. This is an appropriate leadership style for work involving serious safety risks (such as working with machinery, with toxic substances, or at dangerous heights) or where large sums of money are involved. Bureaucratic leadership is also useful in organizations where employees do routine tasks (Shaefer, 2005). The drawback of this type of leadership is that it is ineffective in teams and organizations that rely on flexibility, creativity, or innovation (Santrock, 2007).
4.3. Charismatic Leadership Style
- Charismatic leadership theory describes what to expect from both leaders and followers. Charismatic leadership is a leadership style that is identifiable but may be perceived with less tangibility than other leadership styles (Bell, 2013). Often called a transformational leadership style, charismatic leaders inspire eagerness in their teams and are energetic in motivating employees to move forward. The ensuing excitement and commitment from teams is an enormous asset to productivity and goal achievement. The negative side of charismatic leadership is the amount of confidence placed in the leader rather than in employees. This can create the risk of a project or even in an entire organization collapsing if the leader leaves. Additionally, a charismatic leader may come to believe that s/he can do no wrong, even when others are warning him or her about the path s/he is on; feelings of invincibility can ruin a team or an organization.
4.4. Democratic/Participative Leadership Style
- Democratic leaders make the final decisions, but include team members in the decision-making process. They encourage creativity, and team members are often highly engaged in projects and decisions. There are many benefits of democratic leadership. Team members tend to have high job satisfaction and are productive because they are more involved. This style also helps develop employees’ skills. Team members feel a part of something larger and meaningful and so are motivated to by more than just a financial reward. The danger of democratic leadership is that it can falter in situations where speed or efficiency is essential. During a crisis, for instance, a team can waste valuable time gathering input. Another potential danger is team members without the knowledge or expertise to provide high quality input.
4.5. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
- Laissez-faire leadership may be the best or the worst of leadership styles (Goodnight, 2011). Laissez-faire, this French phrase for “let it be,” when applied to leadership describes leaders who allow people to work on their own. Laissez-faire leaders abdicate responsibilities and avoid making decisions, they may give teams complete freedom to do their work and set their own deadlines. Laissez-faire leaders usually allow their subordinate the power to make decisions about their work (Chaudhry & Javed, 2012). They provide teams with resources and advice, if needed, but otherwise do not get involved. This leadership style can be effective if the leader monitors performance and gives feedback to team members regularly. The main advantage of laissez-faire leadership is that allowing team members so much autonomy can lead to high job satisfaction and increased productivity. It can be damaging if team members do not manage their time well or do not have the knowledge, skills, or motivation to do their work effectively. This type of leadership can also occur when managers do not have sufficient control over their staff (Ololube, 2013).
4.6. Transactional Leadership Style
- This leadership style starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader when they accept a job. The transaction usually involves the organization paying team members in return for their effort and compliance. The leader has a right to punish team members if their work doesn't meet an appropriate standard. The minimalistic working relationships that result (between staff and managers or leaders) are based on this transaction (effort for pay).
5. Factors That Determine Leadership Style
- There are a number of factors that can help to determine which type of leadership style is most effective and/or when to draw on a different or combination of leadership styles. Listed below are a number of these factors as outlined by Ibara (2010, pp. 74-76):
5.1. Size of an Institution/Organization
- Many organizations have the tendency to grow, and as they grow, to divide into subgroups where the real decision making power lies. As institutions or organization grow, problems arise which may become more difficult to address at a macro or senior management level. At the same time, as institutions and organizations grow larger and become more multifaceted, there is a propensity for decision making to be centralized (Naylor, 1999). This situation leads to limited employee participation or no participation at all. Leaders may, if inclined, present ideas and invite input from employees (Ibara, 2010).
5.2. Degree of Interaction/Communication
- Organizational interaction or communication in this paradigm refers to a relational approach between two or more individuals on the basis of social and organizational structures aimed at achieving goals (Ololube, 2012). Given that uncertainty surrounds many situations in organizations, leaders need to be involved with their staff. In this way, leaders can keep focused on key issues and ensure that organizational learning takes place. The quantity and quality of interaction in an organization tends to influence the style of organizational management with the main issue being that employees must work together in order to accomplish tasks. According to Naylor (1999), for organizations to be effective: ■ Managers must constantly share information;■ Managers must have open channels of communication; ■ There must be information of sufficient potential to demand regular attention from leaders at all levels;■ Interpretations of complex data/information should be done in face-to-face discussions with staff■ Managers must debate the nature of the data/information and the possible assumptions and actions that results from it (1999, p. 825).Organizations can operate as open or closed systems. An open system receives information, which it uses to interact dynamically with its environment. Organizations are open systems. Openness increases the likelihood of better communication and in turn the functioning and survival of organizations (Ololube, 2012).
5.3. Personality of Members
- The personality attributes of employees and other managers/leaders can influence the leadership style of an organization. Some people tend to react more to certain styles of leadership than others. Individuals who like to depend on others generally do not like to participate in organizational affairs since their need for security and direction is better served by a rigid organizational structure. Those with an understandable sense of direction wish to advance in their careers and enjoy participating in organizational decision-making processes tend to be more inclined towards open and collaborative leadership styles. Leaders should adapt to such situations by providing opportunities for participation to those who desire them and directing those who find it more difficult to participate in organizational decision-making (Ibara, 2010).
5.4. Goal Congruency
- The term goal congruence is applied to an organization that ensures that all its operations and activities support the achievement of its goals. Organizations with high goal congruence review their operations and activities to ensure that none of these limit or inhibit the ability to achieve organizational goals. In a situation like this, there is a unity of direction as everybody (individuals, departments and divisions) is working towards the attainment of a common goal. Different leadership styles may be called for depending on the degree of existing goal congruence in an organization.
5.5. Level of Decision Making
- Differentiating effective leaders from ineffective leaders is a major management concern. One means of differentiation may be the quality of decision making and that effective leaders make good decisions or choices that yield favourable outcomes for the organization (Schoderbek, Cosier, & Aplin, 1988). In addition to leadership ability, employee perception often plays a big role in the implementation and outcome of decisions (Weddle, 2013).In a centralized organization, there is little or no provision for decisions or input from lower level staff. Directives are handed down and strict obedience is expected. Leadership in these organizations tends to be directive rather than participative or laissez-faire. Hence, the location of decision-making, which is the functional specialization of the organization, determines the style of leadership that is called for (Ibara, 2010). Weddle (2013) identified five levels of decision making in organizations. With each level the amount of time and the decision making involvement increases:■ Level One: Leader makes the decision alone & announces the decision. This level requires little time and no staff involvement. This is particularly useful in crisis situations where immediate action is needed. ■ Level Two: Leader gathers input from individuals and makes the decision. The leader seeks input, usually to cover blind spots and enhance the depth of understanding of the issue at hand. Key individuals hold important information and not consulting is seen to be irresponsible. ■ Level Three: Leader gathers input from team and makes the decision. The leader holds a team meeting and solicits input from the team, listens to the team’s ideas and then using that information, makes a decision.■ Level Four: Consensus building. At this level, the leader is part of the team and s/he is just one vote/voice among many. The group processes all possible options and compromises until everyone is in agreement. ■ Level Five: Consensus and delegation with criteria/constraints. The leader delegates decision making to the team and is not a part of decision making discussions. This requires the leader to be very clear with the team as to the criteria/constraints that must be met for their decision to be able to move forward. Failure to meet these criteria could result in the need for the team to reconsider their decision or the need for the leader to choose a default and/or use another level (from above) for moving the decision forward.
6. Educational Leadership and Management Processes
- Leadershipis the process of influencing employees towards the achievement of organisational goals and organisational excellence (Naylor, 1999). Outstanding leaders have a vision for their institutions. They have a picture of the preferred future, which is shared with all in the institution and which shapes the programmes of learning and teaching as well as the policies, priorities, plans and procedures pervading the day-to-day life of the institution (Beare et al., 1997). Leadership in the educational context is also the ability to anticipate the future. Through words and examples, leaders in education inspire the whole system by effectively influencing the behaviours, thoughts, and feelings of those working within it, and ensure their vision by creating a strategic alignment across the whole system (Peretomode, 1991). However, no matter how effective leaders are, they are faced with numerous obstacles which they must manage and contain in order to succeed. Warren Bennis in Anyamele (2004) argued that leadership is a creative enterprise, involving all in innovating and initiating. Leadership looks at the horizon and not just at the bottom-line. A leader makes good decisions which imply a goal, a direction, an objective, a vision, a dream, a path, and a reach. According to Bennis, a leader does the following:■ Creates a compelling vision: Leadership has to get people in the organisation to buy into a shared vision and then translate that vision into reality. Leaders motivate people by helping them to identify with the task and the goal, rather than by rewarding or punishing them. Leaders inspire and empower people; they pull rather than push. ■ Creates a climate of trust: Leaders must know how to generate and sustain trust. In order to do this, leaders must reward people for disagreeing, reward innovation, and tolerate failure. For a leader to create trust he or she must be competent so that others in the organisation can rely on the leader’s capacity to do the job. To create trust a leader must behave with integrity. Finally, to generate trust (and be an effective leader) a leader must achieve congruency between what he or she does and says and what his or her vision is. ■ Creates meaning: A leader creates meaning by maintaining an environment where people are reminded of what is important. A leader helps to define the mission of the institution and models the behaviour that will move the organisation towards goals. Leaders are people who can eloquently use words to express the collective goals of the organisation. ■ Creates success: Effective leaders perceive and handle ‘failure’ differently – they embrace error and vow to learn from it. ■ Creates a healthy and empowering environment: Effective leadership empowers the workforce to generate commitment, and developed the feeling that organisation members are learning, and that they are competent. Good leaders make people feel that they are at the very heart of things, not on the periphery. ■ Creates flat, adaptive, decentralised systems and organisations: Bureaucracy does not create leaders, bureaucracy creates managers and bureaucrats. Managing change is perhaps the ultimate leadership challenge. Strong leadership can often be seen in organisations based on a network or flattened hierarchy model — a more centralised model where the key words are acknowledge, create and empower. On the whole, vision and constancy of purpose are central concerns of leaders in educational management and planning. They seek to establish the best educational policies and strategies, which involves the improvement of educational programmes and administrative services aimed at creating competent graduates capable of entering significant positions in society and, in turn, improving educational practices and procedures (Ololube, 2013). Wallace and Hoyle (2005) argue that effective leadership and management of the education systems require a shift of direction away from current orthodoxies of radical transformation promoted by reform policies towards a more temperate approach.Educational management processes involve the arrangement and deployment of systems that ensure the implementation of policies, strategies, and action plans throughout a set of integrated practices in order to achieve educational goals. Process performance can only be optimised through a clear understanding of how different units of work fit into the whole. Process performance ensures that a fit for purpose management system of the education is developed, implemented and constantly improved. It looks at how management gathers information to inform educational policy and strategy and involves the application of systems standards covering quality management systems (Lewis, Goodman & Fandt, 1995). Process performance, when documented and analysed scientifically and compared with desirable outcomes, generates facts on the basis of which the processes in question can be effectively managed and continuously improved. This factual information supports decisions at all levels that in turn improve educational process performance further (Schoderbek, Cosier & Aplin, 1988). Quality management indicators involve the ways in which educational leaders ensure that academic and non-academic staff are continually trained to operate in the innovative and ever-changing educational process and that they are building professional learning communities (Harris & Muijs, 2005; Ololube, Dudafa, Uriah & Agbor, 2013). According to Wallace and Hoyle (2005), effective leadership and management mean less leadership and management. Teachers have now become caught up in specific managerial roles and distributed leadership, relieving teachers of non-teaching tasks where possible would enable them to concentrate more on their teaching means less leadership and management in school systems. The authors of this article suggest that the benefits of accepting effective leadership principles and styles in school management are immediate and real because effective leadership provides a number of key characteristics which have been proven to be of momentous worth: • Effective educational leadership provides educational institutions with a holistic approach to coherently run the affairs of school management; • Effective educational leadership styles must be based on objective criteria. However, the methods can be defined to suit the circumstances of the particular school. • Effective educational leadership styles should be able to provide a framework through which the essential part of the school management are identified and improved upon on a frequent basis.• Effective educational leadership provides should be able to offer benchmarking opportunities with others both within and outside of a school system. • Effective educational leadership and management of schools create structures and processes and establish relationships which enable teachers to engage fully in teaching.
- More frequently, academic commentaries and books surface that blends theoretical, empirical, and practical ideas and knowledge relevant to understanding studies, methodologies and issues essential to educational leadership. These syntheses are only achieved with the reflective ability of the authors to link thematic issues across wider range and overlapping themes from which they start off and become known. To this end, this article has discussed effective educational leadership in school management and a quality wake up call for a better model that has applicability to the Nigerian education contexts. By examining the circumstances surrounding quality educational leadership in relation to school management, this article could conclude that success is certain if the application of the leadership styles, principles and methods is properly and fully applied in school management. Quality educational leadership tradition offers great opportunity to further refine educational leadership and management policies and practices by accepting and utilizing the basic principles and styles. The authors wish to propose that outstanding educational leadership principles and styles be adopted as a means of enhancing school management in Nigeria, given that at present things are not progressing after decades of schooling in Nigerian public school management.Educational managers know that leadership requires a number of judgments each day that requires sensitivity and understanding of various leadership strategies. Thus, bridging the gap between theory and practice should be able to provide exploration of dominant leadership strategies to give school leaders a solid basis in theory and practical application. School leaders are encouraged to discover the most appropriate leadership strategy, or a combination of strategies that will best enable their school achieve results.Effective educational leadership style in school management is relatively fast, easy and cost effective if applied appropriately. The results of the effective educational leadership style applications are feasible for a number of purposes, which include improve administrative performance, team-building, and enhanced individual and school innovation in teaching and learning.
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