It is arguable that good leadership drives employees to achieve the goals of an organization. In schools, the leadership role is delegated to the principal. Additionally, the success of the school, in regards to performance, is mainly determined by the teachers’ leadership skills. Thus, one can rightly argue that there are two levels of leadership in schools. However, many schools cannot reconcile the two levels of leadership. In turn, the confusion leads to job dissatisfaction and fatigue, particularly for the teachers. The research sheds some light regarding the impact each level of leadership in schools has on each other using a quantitative method of data collection. Towards this end, the different principal leadership styles will be explored to draw a valid conclusion.
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Education can be viewed as an accelerator of national development. Without knowledge, a country will not have the intellectual resources to ensure that productivity and efficiency of processes are achieved. To this effect, teachers whose sole responsibility is to impart knowledge on students need to ensure that their performance is impeccable. Principals who are in charge of administration and policies in schools play a significant role in the performance of teachers. The research problem that will be discussed is whether a principal’s leadership style affect teacher performance in any way? The study is significant not only since it determines the best principal leadership style but in doing so, it provides basis for leadership, management and governance changes within the educational setup. It is arguable that the type of principal leadership style affects the quality of teaching to an extent of also affected overall school performance.
Aim and Research Objectives
The research aims to determine the best principal leadership style that allows for growth and impeccable performance of teachers. Towards this end, therefore, the primary research objective is to prove that laissez faire is the best principal leadership style for good teacher performance. A secondary objective of the study is to prove that principal leadership styles affect the quality of teaching in one way or another. The third objective is to ascertaining that without information symmetry from principals, it is impossible for teachers to perfectly execute their duties.
Goldman (2014, p. 20) defines leadership styles as precise behaviors exhibited by leaders that directly have an impact or inspire a group to act in a manner that enables them to accomplish the collectively desired goals. Bredeson (2013, p. 19) emphasizes that the study of teachers and leadership styles in schools needs to incorporate in locoparentis. According to the scholar, such a study explores the role that a teacher plays on behalf of the parent while a child is in school.
One of the main principal leadership styles is autocratic. According to Crum and Sherman (2015, p. 570), an autocratic principal rarely communicates with the teachers. To some extent, such a principal is dictatorial in nature. His/her routine involves actively excluding teachers from the decision making process. Such principals are only concerned with occasionally coming up with rules that they pass on to the teachers for implementation. Teachers are rarely consulted on the process. According to Crum and Sherman (2015, p. 570), the leading disadvantage of the autocratic leadership style is the fact that teachers do not feel like they are part of the overall goal achieved as the ideas were forced on them. Thus, the teachers do not own the ideologies associated with the school. Their indispensable role as educators is ignored.
The democratic principal leadership style, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of the autocratic style. According to Gronn (2014, p. 322), the democratic principal leadership style allows teachers to take part in the decision making process. With such reasoning, it is clear that this technique not only motivates teachers but makes them feel like valuable assets.
Hoy and Miskel (2015, p. 89) believe that for teachers to efficiently dispense their duties, students need to trust in their abilities. Therefore, principals need to trust teachers with the instructional process completely. Such trust would encourage students, in a trickledown effect, to full trust their teachers as well. Principals with this leadership style believe in the minimal supervision of teachers.
The third leadership style is laissez-faire. Goldman (2014) explains that laissez-faire employs a delegated approach. Thus, the principal delegates all duties to the teachers and only acts in a consultative and supervisory role. In this context, the teachers take control of the decision-making process as well.
Communication is a common factor in the three principal styles that have been mentioned. The difference is the manner in which it happens. The democratic principal leadership style and the laissez-faire style of leadership both have a supportive and consultative aspect (Gronn 2014 p. 320). This is mainly because the principal includes the teachers in the decision-making process. Bredeson (2013, p. 43) emphasizes that the inclusion of teachers in decision making allows them to get a better understanding of the instructional methods. Autocratic style of leadership, on the other hand, does not have this feature. It only allows for teachers to follow a predetermined set of rules blindly.
A competent employee requires minimal supervision (Hoy & Miskel 2015, p. 90). According to their study, a principal that believed in the skills of the teachers would advocate for minimal supervision of their work. This is only possible with the laissez-faire style of leadership. The other leadership styles do not accord teachers as much trust. Bredeson (2013, p. 17) argues that teaching is a calling and once a teacher is placed in a classroom, he or she will automatically be in a position to perform his or her regular duties. The premise can be translated to mean that a teacher’s competence is not influenced to a great extent by the type of leadership that the principal implements. In response to this, Crum and Sherman (2015, p. 577) state that in as much as a teacher may have his or her drive, a principal’s decision regarding resources and processes will eventually affect the quality of teaching.
A conducive working environment is an excellent motivator for teachers (Bredeson 2013, p. 39). The author adds that when a teacher is under stress or facing pressure from management levels, their attitudes towards teaching will be affected. In turn, their work will be influenced. Toward this regard, it is clear that the autocratic style of leadership has the potential to cause such issues. The study reveals that motivation of an employee can come in the form of entrusting them entirely with their duties.
A teacher can only be satisfied with his or her job if he or she is happy and comfortable with the type of principal leadership employed (Bredeson 2013, p. 43). According to Bredeson (2013, p. 44), job satisfaction can be determined by the overall view that the teacher has on the principal leadership styles employed. Also, the scholar states that a teacher can perform poorly if he or she feels like the value that he or she is adding to the student’s education is trifling.
A descriptive research design is the best way to explore the topic of principal’s leadership style and teachers’ performance. An evocative design allows one to collect a wide variety of data that aims at achieving preset objectives.
Since the study takes a descriptive approach, a qualitative approach is best suited. Here, a Likert scale is used. Teachers will state their opinions within the range of 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest opinion and five the highest.
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Source of Data
Teachers from both high and middle school will be included in the research as it is pertinent to get opinions from teachers in different levels. Through simple random sampling method, a total of 200 teachers will be surveyed from both middle and high school. The teachers will be presented with a questionnaire each. Each questionnaire will have seven entries. According to Adams, Khan, Raeside, and White (2015, p. 32) the use of questionnaires is one of the most accurate means of primary data collection. The interviews are short as they merely seek to explore the surveys further without the restriction of the Likert scale. Secondary data will be obtained from the teachers’ contracts and procedural expectations from the school.
The research will be done in two months as per the table below:
|Formulation of research question, printing and binging questionnaires||1 week|
|Identification of schools to collect data||1 week|
|Distribution of questionnaires||2 weeks|
|Collection of questionnaires||1 week|
|Data compilation||4 weeks|
|Secondary data collection||1 week|
|Compilation and report writing||3 weeks|
Limitation of the Study
In as much as the research had a predetermined set of leadership styles to explore, it does not relate teacher performance to all the principal styles that exist due to scarce resources and limited time.
Findings from the research will have several potential implications. First, the findings will highlight the best principal leadership style that can be implemented in schools. The research study will act as a foundation/basis for change in principal leadership styles. The assumption here is that the study will correctly identify one ‘best’ principal leadership style for implementation. It is also assumed that the identified principal leadership style will be applicable in the various school settings.
Secondly, the study will be a strong basis for future research. The premise means that researchers who will study this topic in future will have a considerable task of investigating a significant number of leadership styles used by principals in schools as compared to the one identified through this study. Additionally, since the literature review is comprehensive, future researchers on the topic, can use this study as a valuable source of information. The study will be submitted for publication and peer review to ensure data and findings are credible.
Additionally, findings realized will also have an impact on the different forms of interventions as they will involve teachers, as opposed to principals only. Currently, many schools use a top down approach where principals are the sole decision makers while teachers only implement the said decisions. This is in regards to decision-making and policy development. The study will change the notion, allowing for teachers to be included actively in both processes.
Adams, J, Khan, H, Raeside, R & White, D 2015, Research method for graduate business and social science students, Sage Publications Inc., New York, NY.
Bredeson, P 2013, Designs for learning, Corwin Press, Thousand Oaks, CA.
Crum, K & Sherman, W 2015, ‘Facilitating high achievement: high school principals’ reflections on their successful leadership practices’, Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 46, no. 5, pp. 562-580.
Goldman, E 2014, ‘The significance of leadership style.’ Educational Leadership, vol. 55, no. 7, pp. 20-22.
Gronn, P 2014, ‘Distributed properties: a new architecture for leadership’, Educational Management & Administration, vol. 28, no. 3 pp. 317-338.
Hoy, W & Miskel, C 2015, Educational administration: theory, research and practice, McGraw-Hill Inc., Chicago, NJ.
1=Very rarely; 2=rarely; 3=neither rarely nor regularly; 4=regularly; 5=Very
|1||The principal considers teachers’ suggestions and opinions while making decisions.|
|2||My views in how goals can be achieved are valued.|
|3||My principal allows me to be innovative and creative in the teaching process|
|4||My principal encourages consultation among staff members in the decision making process|
|5||My principal organizes all strategic discussion meetings|
|6||My principal supervises my daily duties|
|7||My principal delegates to me important duties that he/she could have otherwise handled.|