Educational Leadership

Educational leadership is a phrase used to describe the process of managing an educational institution. Other terms that may be used for the same concept are school leadership and educational management.

Transformational strategies are based on persuasion, idealism and intellectual excitement. The leader uses values, symbols and shared vision to motivate and inspire employees. This approach can be used to unite people, giving them the feeling of a common cause, which can be especially important when the organization faces major change. One disadvantage of this model is that having an exciting and emotionally satisfying environment for employees does not guarantee that the organizational goals will be achieved.

Facilitative leadership is "the behaviors that enhance the collective ability of a school to adapt, solve problems and improve performance," according to David Conley and Paul Goldman, who are cited by Lashway. The role of the facilitative leader is to actively engage employees in the decision-making process at all levels. Facilitative leadership is similar to transformational leadership in that it unites followers in a common cause. However, transformational leaders are said to sometimes adopt a top-down approach, whereas leaders using facilitative strategies often stay in the background and partner with teachers on a daily basis. Some difficulties connected with the facilitative approach are related to the fact that it may blur accountability and that it takes time where immediate action is often required.

In Transformational Leadership (1992) Lynn Balster Liontos differentiates between the styles of leadership. Transactional leadership, also referred to as bartering, is based on exchange of services for certain rewards that are controlled by the leader. In the case of schools, the principal has control over the salary that teachers are paid for their job.

According to Kenneth A. Leithwood, as cited by Liontos, transformational leaders have three main goals: helping staff develop and maintain a collaborative, professional school culture; fostering teacher development; and helping teachers solve problems more effectively.

Lashway states that whereas traditionally power is seen as domination through formal authority, facilitative power is based on mutuality and synergy. This second type of power is especially suitable for schools and other educational institutions because teachers cannot do their job using standardized formulae. Teachers are tasked to create conditions for students to learn and the role of principals is even more indirect as they have to create the right environment for teachers to work effectively. "In short, facilitative power is power through, not power over," Lashway said, quoting Diane Dunlap and Paul Goldman.

According to Lashway in Facilitative Leadership (1995), the concept of instructional leadership was born in the late 1970s. At that time an effective principal was considered one that sets clear expectations, keeps firm discipline and implements high standards. The transition to the transformational and facilitative models, which focus on collaboration and empowerment, was driven by developments in the private sectors.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Understanding Educational Leadership: People, Power and Culture
Hugh Busher.
Open University Press, 2006
School Leadership That Works: From Research to Results
Robert J. Marzano; Timothy Waters; Brian A. McNulty.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005
Finding Your Leadership Style: A Guide for Educators
Jeffrey Glanz.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2002
School Leadership in the 21st Century: Developing a Strategic Approach
Brent Davies; Linda Ellison; Christopher Bowring-Carr.
RoutledgeFalmer, 2005 (2nd edition)
The Art of School Leadership
Thomas R. Hoerr.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005
The Learning Leader: How to Focus School Improvement for Better Results
Douglas B. Beeves.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006
Connecting Leadership with Learning: A Framework for Reflection, Planning, and Action
Michael A. Copland; Michael S. Knapp.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006
Teacher Leadership That Strengthens Professional Practice
Charlotte Danielson.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2006
Professional School Leadership: Dealing with Dilemmas
Daniel Murphy.
Dunedin Academic, 2007
Leadership for Educational Renewal: Developing a Cadre of Leaders
Wilma F. Smith; Gary D. Fenstermacher.
Jossey-Bass, 1999
Lessons from Exceptional School Leaders
Mark Goldberg.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2001
Managers of Virtue: Public School Leadership in America, 1820-1980
David Tyack; Elisabeth Hansot.
Basic Books, 1982
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