It cannot be denied that educational leadership remains one of the most important topics related to teaching that are often discussed in the academic community. Nevertheless, speaking about educational leadership, it is necessary to assume that its definitions proposed by various researchers may be slightly different. In general, the notion refers to educators’ and other specialists’ ability to influence students or followers and encourage them to extend their knowledge and behave in accordance with the prescribed rules (McLeskey & Waldron, 2015). Furthermore, effective educational leadership is impossible without proper vision that may be supported both by an individual and the entire community related to the process of education (Dinh et al., 2014). There is a wide range of ways to study the components of educational leadership, including making a comparison between situations in different locations (Santamaría, Webber, & Pearson, 2014). In general, it is hard to make the educational process more effective without studying the reasons that may influence educational leadership development.
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Considering the significance of proper education for the entire nation, it may be stated that it is extremely important to study the factors connected to educational leadership. As for the important findings related to the sphere, it is necessary to pay an increased attention to the study that was conducted by Sternke (2011). Working on the discussed paper, the author was interested in studying particular leadership traits of the participants and analyzing their role and significance. In order to do that, the author observed and analyzed the behavior and leadership traits of superintendents from the most successful schools in Wisconsin. Interestingly, the results were then assessed with regard to the findings reported by another author who singled out a few personal traits and behaviouristic characteristics peculiar to chief executive officers working in successful companies. It was important for Sternke to define all the factors that could influence the participants’ effectiveness and leadership skills. Speaking about the way of how the results were analyzed, it is necessary to mention that Collins, whose work was used by Sternke invented a special system of classification where leadership skills were divided into groups. Collins singled out five levels of leadership. Having assessed the participants’ behavior in accordance with these levels, the author concluded that the traits that they possessed corresponded to the ones that were usually found in leaders of the highest level. Therefore, the range of the leadership skills found in school superintendents was very similar to the one that chief executive officers possessed. What is more, the author concluded that there were even behaviors that had not been mentioned by previous researchers; thus, the author concluded that it was important for the participants to do their best in order to be helpful for the entire community and motivate the followers to adhere to the common position concerning achievements of the students. The research possesses certain practical significance as its results can be used for many purposes. First, they can serve as a basis helping other researchers to extend the knowledge that is already used by the specialists in the field. What is more, the author conducted a very important work; the traits identified in the given research may help to identify the most effective leaders in other schools.
Furthermore, there were other researchers whose works helped to extend the knowledge on educational leadership and the ways to get around the roadblocks related to implementation of the results. For instance, Santamaría (2014) studied the topic of educational leadership in connection to multicultural education. According to the findings reported by the author, there were certain attributes used by the leaders in order to ensure justice while practicing leadership; the attributes found were related to the participants’ national identities. Therefore, the author concluded that there was a need for particular approaches to leadership in multinational communities.
Pazey and Cole (2013) also conducted their research and concluded that it was necessary to develop and implement leadership training that would be focused on teaching the specialists to be just. Day, Fleenor, Atwater, Sturm, and McKee (2014) also suppose that there are certain qualities peculiar for good leaders such as self-awareness. Speaking about other authors whose findings related to the field can be called important, it is necessary to pay attention to the research by Hallinger (2014). In order to make an important conclusion and generalize the most significant findings that have been reported earlier, the author conducted a review of more than thirty works in the field. The problems that were identified included a lack of information concerning key moments related to the ways to classify the data that were noticed in many reviewed works. In the end, the author concluded that one of the problems related to the roadblocks to implementation of the solutions was connected to weaknesses in methodology and data analysis. The discussed studies extend the knowledge on educational leadership and they are connected to the work by Sternke as they touch upon certain leadership qualities and the opportunities for their development.
Discussing the studies that have already been conducted in the field, it may be necessary to define possible research opportunities connected to them. Taking into consideration the findings that have been reported previously, it may be interesting for future researchers to study specific behaviors demonstrated by educational leaders belonging to different races and compare them in order to find differences and similarities. It can be supposed that the noticed differences may become an important basis allowing to develop the different educational leadership development approaches. As it is clear from this fact, there can also be the difference between the roadblocks to their implementation, the difference depending on national identities of certain educational leaders. Realizing the importance of studying the factors that can significantly decrease the chances of success of any educational leader, it will be necessary to conduct research where all these factors will be identified and listed. What is more, they can be studied together with the qualities identified by other researchers that are supposed to make people successful education leaders; these qualities can also be analyzed with regard to national identities. Also, it may be necessary to define students’ and followers’ attitudes towards different leadership styles used by educational leaders. Therefore, it may be stated that there are a lot of opportunities for future researchers to extend the knowledge on educational leadership with the help of the findings reported by Sternke and other authors.
In the end, it is necessary to say that there are still certain knowledge gaps concerning successful educational leadership and roadblocks to its implementation. The findings reported by Sternke and other researchers may become a basis for future studies that can be devoted to intercultural differences in connection to educational leadership and specific qualities that need to be developed. Thus, it will be possible to fill the knowledge gap and ensure leaders’ effective performance in different situations.
Day, D. V., Fleenor, J. W., Atwater, L. E., Sturm, R. E., & McKee, R. A. (2014). Advances in leader and leadership development: A review of 25years of research and theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 63-82.
Dinh, J. E., Lord, R. G., Gardner, W. L., Meuser, J. D., Liden, R. C., & Hu, J. (2014). Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(1), 36-62.
Hallinger, P. (2014). Reviewing reviews of research in educational leadership: An empirical assessment. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(4), 539-576.
McLeskey, J., & Waldron, N. L. (2015). Effective leadership makes schools truly inclusive. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(5), 68-73.
Pazey, B. L., & Cole, H. A. (2013). The role of special education training in the development of socially just leaders: Building an equity consciousness in educational leadership programs. Educational Administration Quarterly, 49(2), 243-271.
Santamaría, L. J. (2014). Critical change for the greater good multicultural perceptions in educational leadership toward social justice and equity. Educational Administration Quarterly, 50(3), 347-391.
Santamaría, L. J., Webber, M., & Pearson, H. (2014). Indigenous urban school leadership (IUSL): A critical cross-cultural comparative analysis of educational leaders in New Zealand and the United States. Comparative and International Education, 43(1), 1.
Sternke, J. A. (2011). Good to great: A case study of the leadership traits and behaviors of school superintendents in exemplary school districts [Doctoral dissertation]. Retrieved from ProQuest database. (Accession № 3459501).