Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Women and Men Teachers' Approaches to Leadership Styles

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Women and Men Teachers' Approaches to Leadership Styles

Article excerpt

This study aimed to find out how frequently teachers at compulsory-education level school primary and junior high schools - perceived that they would adopt various leadership styles in their schools if they were the principal and if this frequency was gender related. Data were collected from 321 teachers from compulsory-education schools by means of the Leadership Questionnaire (Bowers & Seashore, 1966) measuring four leadership styles - support, interaction facilitation, goal emphasis, and work facilitation. The questionnaire was translated and reliability analyses for teachers in Turkey were carried out. On average the teachers scored at a very high level for leadership style in goal emphasis; and at a high level in interaction facilitation, support and work facilitation. The highest score was for goal emphasis, the lowest for work facilitation. Men scored at higher levels than women did in all leadership styles. Suggestions are made about what should be done to achieve effective leadership in schools, to help teachers have a positive approach to more participative leadership styles, and to remove gender inequity among school principals and leaders.

Keywords: leadership styles and behaviors, women and men teachers, principals, primary and junior high school education.

Leadership is a process whereby one person influences others to work toward a goal and helps them pursue a vision (YuIk & VanFleet, 1992). Not all managers exercise leadership. A good manager is not necessarily a good leader. A manager is a person who directs the work of employees and who is responsible for results, that is, managers ensure that employees reach goals by controlling their behaviors: monitoring results, often by means of reports and meetings, and noting deviations from plans. Thus, an effective manager brings a degree of order and consistency to tasks. A leader, by contrast, inspires employees with a vision and helps them cope with change. In other words, leaders start by articulating a direction or a vision of what the future may look like and then developing strategies for producing changes needed to move in that direction. Thus, an effective leader motivates and inspires teams of employees by tapping employees' needs, values and emotions (Conger, 1991; Kotter, 1988; Sayles. 1993). In brief, leadership is the initiation of a new structure or procedure for accomplishing or changing an organization's goals and objectives. On the other hand, the administrator is the individual who utilizes existing structures or procedures to achieve an organizational goal or objective (Lipham, 1965).

An adage says, "Leaders are born, not made." This fatalistic view suggests certain inherent personality traits. Also greatness has been considered a function of being in the right place at the right time (Kast & Rosenzweigh, 1981). The traditional leadership models are based on these ideas.

The traits model emphasizes the personal qualities of leaders and attributes success to certain abilities, skills, and personality characteristics. However, this model fails to explain why certain people succeed and others fail as leaders (Bass, 1990).

Behavioral models emphasize leaders' actions - initiating structure and consideration - insiead of their personal traits (Stogdill, 1974). However, most research indicates that there is a need to analyze the situation in which the leader operates (Kerr. Schrieshiem, Murphy. & Stogdill, 1974; Schrieshiem, & Kerr, 1977). Apparently, views and questions such as what makes some people great leaders, whether they are bom leaders, and whether the environment spawns them to fill a gap have generally been dismissed (Jauch, Coltrin, & Bedeian, 1989).

Contingency leadership theorists, in contrast, direct their research toward discovering the variables that make certain leadership characteristics and behaviors effective in a specific situation (Hellriegel. Slocum, & Woodman, 1995). …

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