Success in Education is Determined by an Individual’s Leadership Capabilities
Success in leadership is determined by an individual’s leadership capabilities. (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003 p.136). The National Policy Board for Educational Administration (as cited in Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003 p.136) expresses educational leadership as the ability to provide meaning and direction for the school environment. This definition also includes, communicating goals, assisting in the progress of a plan and vision and preparing for change throughout the school including the students, administration, and community. Clark and Clark (as cited in Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003 p.136) note that leadership involves individuals who work together towards a common goal. One aspect through all definitions remains constant, leadership is an apparent set of skills and abilities that one possesses (Kouzes, 2003,pxvii). Three of the leadership models for education, transformational, school-based and cultural, have various strengths and weaknesses, and the one that explains the purpose that leadership should have in education is the transformational leadership model.
The following three leadership models will address the following scenario: Suppose you have been hired as the superintendent of a problem school district or President of a university suffering from severe financial and labor problems. The school board or board of regents has told you that your job is to turn things around.
Burns (as cited in Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003 p.167) notes that transformational leaders acquire supporters, facilitate new procedures, organize resources, assist and encourage individuals, and act in response to organizational challenges. This type of leader perceives change as essential and attempts to make change happen.
Transformational leaders recognize three basic objectives. Foster individuals to develop and preserve a professional school environment, promote teacher progress, and assist teachers to resolve problems more successfully (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 167). Transformational leaders ensure goal setting, common authority and accountability, continuous professional development, handle inconsistencies successfully, teamwork, a variety of viewpoints, confirm statements, intermittent reflection, advancements observed, and involvement when progress comes to a standstill. Transformational leaders accomplish their goals through vision, communication, and trust (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 167).
School-based leadership allows individuals to establish a school environment that initiates progress, originality, and incessant professional growth. Individuals involved in a school-based leadership have the freedom to continually improve the success of the learning process. The issues that have an effect on success include the circumstances for professional progress and instruction, sufficient knowledge to make educated conclusions, the establishment of an incentive system to acknowledge accomplishments, and the allowance of sufficient time for individuals to contribute to preparation and progress (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 164).
Information is circulated throughout the school and community, meetings and discussions then follow. In a school-based leadership the role of the principal is increased. The principal must be effective and defend the school administration that institute improvements and put into motion the proposed plan of action (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 164).
The school-based leader is concerned with, “outreach efforts, development, facilitation, support, and infrastructure,” (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 164). The likelihood of success through this model is increased when those involved are given time to obtain the knowledge and abilities needed, to communicate and talk about their ideas, and to create, execute and assess thoughts pertaining to the learning environment (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 164).
Cultural leadership emphasizes the culture in which people work. The culture of the workplace advocates an understanding of values and beliefs that characterize an organization. Culture is often defined as “the way we do things around here,” (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 164).
According to Cunningham and Gresso (as cited in Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 165) schools that are successful have a culture that is associated with a high quality school vision. In turn, the culture guides the individuals of the school on a shared path, and offers significance and importance for those involved in the school including students, teachers, and administrators. Cunningham and Gresso (as cited in Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p. 165) propose that schools with a cultural leadership contain the following fundamentals: A concentration on modifications that have a positive impact on students, truthfulness, trustworthiness, and interaction between school personnel, a clear vision of an excellent school, an environment of encouragement and originality, a clear plan in place, resolutions established through standards, awareness, and knowledge, advancements that are organized, mutual support between school, home, and community, authority and support given to the teaching staff, observations and opinions of results.
Culture outlines the various ways individuals distinguish and act in response to events, provides significance and rationale to individual’s efforts, and connects individuals. Innovation and advancement might be intangible unless individuals acknowledge the culture that inspires the function of the school. Trust and vision are significant elements in cultural leadership. Trust among administration, faculty, and the community. Also, a vision that includes dedication, preparation, courage, encouragement, and consideration. (Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003, p.166).
Most effective model for scenario
The most effective model for the preceding scenario is the transformational leadership model. Transformational leaders are frequently depicted as those who convey a vision of the adjustments required in an organization’s composition. This vision will be successful if the leader can convert the vision into implementation (Wren, 1994, p 445). Transformational leadership also, “requires a vision of the future and the capacity to articulate and implement innovative, coordinated strategies to achieve it, “(Gilkey, 1999, p227). According to Bass (as cited in Krishnan, 2001) transformational leadership is comprised of four qualities: charismatic leadership, inspirational leadership, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration.
Transformational leaders are accepted, valued, and trusted. Individuals want to imitate these leaders because they have amazing abilities, perseverance, and character. The leaders are willing to take risks and are consistent rather than arbitrary (Bass, 1998). Transformational leaders “can be counted on to do the right thing, demonstrating high standards of ethical and moral conduct,”(Bass, 1998).
Transformational leaders conduct themselves in behaviors that inspire and encourage individuals and offer significance and challenge. This in turn provokes team spirit and emulates zest and hopefulness. Individuals get drawn into the transformational leaders vision since this type of leader establishes obvious conveyed viewpoints that individuals join and display dedication to objectives and the, “shared vision,” (Bass, 1998).
Transformational leaders motivate individual’s, “efforts to be innovative and creative by questioning assumptions, reframing problems, and approaching old situations in new ways,” (Bass, 1998). In this leadership style originality is encouraged; individuals are incorporated into the problem/solution process, and are not ridiculed for their approach (Bass, 1998). The transformational leader gives consideration to individual’s accomplishments and goals. They pay attention to individual’s desires for accomplishments and goals by facilitating as an adviser to them. As a result, individuals achieve a higher potential in this environment of originality and support. There is mutual communication between the transformational leader and individuals. The transformational leader recognizes the diversity of individuals and treats them as such. Individuals under a transformational leader are treated as people with feelings and not just employees (Bass, 1998).
Transformational leaders are creative thinkers and tend to see the big picture; they are also motivating in their methods. They are inclined to convey apparent vision and goals that individuals recognize. Transformational leaders make an effort to utilize the notions of self and objective recognition for motivation (Scholl, 2002). When transformational leaders are triumphant, they are capable of shifting individuals from outside to inside management. This reduces the need for individuals to be scrutinized. The shift from outside to inside management is accomplished by: “Changing the mental models of employees, linking desired outcomes to values held by employees, creating employee ownership in outcomes so that positive outcomes validate the self concept of employees, and building strong employee identification with the group or organization,”(Scholl, 2002). Hence, transformational leadership is a progressively imperative feature in today’s organizations to generate an organizational culture and work environment that motivates individuals’ creativity and innovation.
Innovation involves a change from one form of accomplishing tasks that is secure to individuals to using a form that is unfamiliar to individuals. Transformational innovation involves presenting or performing tasks that are essentially unlike the traditional way of performing tasks. Many organizations do not do extremely well with this idea since most individuals are resistant to change. Transformational leadership is a leadership style that is capable of arranging and executing innovation. The transformational leader will influence individuals to change, succeed collectively, exchange information, and visualize a persuasive future (Denning, 2005).
There are three aspects to innovation according to Dundon & Pattakos (2001) these include, “technology, global marketplace, and personal power.” Technology includes any application of knowledge to improve on existing knowledge. This in turn led to the global marketplace, here; organizations are no longer dependent on limited supply resources. There is also an increasing view of personal power. A shift from established authority to individual privileges, (Dundon & Pattakos, 2001). Successful leaders comprehend these aspects and assist individuals to see the big picture and how these aspect effect opportunities. Leaders look to innovation to emphasize their viable and mutual talents. There are three methods to innovation: “cost cutting programs in search of greater efficiency, innovation is assigned to a special team or department, an organization-wide approach to innovation, which embraces all levels of the organization,” (Dundon & Pattakos, 2001).
As can be seen from the above models, leadership emphasizes a talent to accomplish success. Admirable leaders are able to undertake various methods to meet the requirements of situations. In any case, leadership involves four features, to lead entails influencing others, where there are leaders there are followers, leaders seem to become visible when an innovative response is needed, and leaders have a concept of what they want to accomplish and why. Consequently, leaders are individuals who are able to think and act creatively in non-routine situations and who set out to influence the actions, beliefs and feelings of others (Doyle, 2001). Leadership focuses on the course an organization ought to accept, a vision. It entices individuals into the quest of the strategic goals. Leadership associates with “vision, mission, purpose, direction, and inspiration,”(Cunningham & Cordeiro, 2003,p. 135).
Bass, B.M. (1998). Transformational Leadership: Industrial, Military, and Educational
Impact. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Retrieved June 16, 2005 from
Cunningham, W. G. & Cordeiro, P.A. (2003). Educational Leadership: A problem-based
approach (2nd edition). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Denning, S. (2005). Transformational innovation: A journey by narrative. Strategy &
Leadership. Chicago. 33 (3) p11. Retrieved on July 9, 2005 from the ProQuest
Doyle, M.E. & Smith, M.K. (2001). “Classical leadership”, the Encyclopedia of informal
education. Retrieved on June 5, 2005 from InfoTracOne database on April 9, 2005.
Dundon, E. & Pattakos, A.N. (2001). Leader the Innovation Revolution: Will the Real
Spartacus Stand Up? Journal for Quality & Participation; Winter 24 (4), p48.
Retrieved on July 9, 2005 from the EBSCOHost database.
Gilkey, R. W. (1999). The 21st Century Health Care Leader. San Francisco: John Wiley
Kouzes, J. M. (2003). Becoming a leader. Business leadership A Jossey-Bass reader.
(p.355). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Saner R. & Lichia, Y. (2000). Challenges of the 21st Century for Leadership
Qualifications: Reflections and Responses. Asian Journal of Public Administration,
22, 1, p. 75-89.
Scholl, R.W. (2002). Leadership Style. Retrieved on July 8, 2002 from
Wren, D. A. (1994). The evolution of management thought (4th ed.). San Francisco: John
Wiley & Sons.