Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Headteachers' Leadership Behavior and Problem-Solving Skills: A Comparative Study

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Headteachers' Leadership Behavior and Problem-Solving Skills: A Comparative Study

Article excerpt

In this research, the relationship between headteachers' leadership behaviors and problemsolving skills was investigated. The sample comprised 268 headteachers, 53 female and 215 male. The research instruments used were the Leadership Behavior Scale of Turkish Public Administration (Ergun, 1981) and the Problem Solving Inventory (Heppner & Peterson, 1982). The data were analyzed using the independent t test, variance analysis, Tukey test and correlation test. The results revealed: 1) that there was no significant difference according to gender in the leadership behavior subscale, 2) that there was a significant difference between headteachers' leadership behavior and the type of school at which they were employed, and 3) that there was a significant relationship between headteachers' leadership behavior and problem-solving skills.

Keywords: leadership behaviors, problem solving skills, headteachers, school, Turkey.

In the need for development and advancement of human nature, individuals encounter obstacles which must be overcome. According to Morgan (1999), a problem is a conflict situation in which an individual encounters obstacles when slhe tries to attain a goal.

Problem solving is the process in which the obstacles to achieving a goal are overcome. In this process the individual looks for ways to be released from anxiety and tries to achieve balance. According to Bingham (1958), problem solving is a skill to be learned. This skill is constantly improved via education. Various approaches to problem solving have been identified, such as the impulsive approach, the reflective approach, the avoidant approach, the monitoring approach, the problem-solving confidence or the planned approach (Savasir & Sahin, 1997).

According to Heppner and Baker (1997), a person who lacks problem-solving skills experiences psychological maladjustment in stressful situations. Effective problem-solving skills refer to being flexible, adapting easily, and being able to find suitable methods for problem solving (Durlak, 1993). Researchers have examined the relationship between problem solving and variables such as depression, hopelessness, inclination to suicide, physical health, career anxiety and academic performance (Bonner & Rich, 1987; Bonner & Rich, 1992; Elliot, 1992; Elliot, Godshall, Shrout, & Witty, 1990; Heppner & Krieshok, 1983).

According to Canman (1995), the concept of "problem-solving skills" can also be understood as assertiveness, analyzing, decision making, representation ability, decentralization, goal setting, applying and evaluating decisions, situations and individuals objectively, encouraging subordinates, having vision and a mission. To be effective leaders, school headteachers must possess these leadership skills.

Scientists and researchers have defined the term leadership by taking different dimensions into consideration. Leadership is sometimes perceived as a part of personality (Gordon, 2002; Stogdill, 1974), sometimes as an art (Work, 2000), sometimes as the requirements for a position (McEwan, 2003) and sometimes as aprocess of behavior (Bass, 1985; Certo, 1977; Graen, 1976). Regardless of these differences, researchers agree that leadership has the power to affect others.

Behavioral theories focus on two dimensions of leadership behavior; the taskbased dimension, and the relationship-based dimension (Ankan, 2001; Brestrich, 2000; Çelik, 2000). An effective leader inspires employees to perform their jobs better through task-based leadership behavior and also helps them to reach their personal goals through relationship-based leadership behavior (Hellriegel, Slocum, & Woodman, 1986).

Pioneers such as Lewin (1947), Mayo and Lombard (1944), Warner (1947) and Hicks (1971) defined the term leadership as the focus of group process and group activities. According to this perspective, the leader is at the core of all social movements and team direction. …

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