Leadership Capacity for Lasting School Improvement

By Linda Lambert | Go to book overview

APPENDIX G
How Principals Build Leadership Capacity in Others
By Jeffrey Michael Pechura, [Head Learner] (principal) at Jefferson Elementary School in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.Note:Jeff Pechura conducted a research study in three high leadership capacity schools in Wisconsin, one each in an urban, suburban, and rural setting (2001). The study closely examined principal behaviors that evoked leadership in others.As the demand for schools to improve student performance increases, the need for principals to cultivate broad-based, skillful participation in the work of leadership becomes essential. Principals who build and sustain leadership capacity share the following core beliefs:
1. Teachers, parents, and students can be successful leaders when given the opportunity to lead;
2. School community members must experience success in leadership roles;
3. Leadership capacity will be enhanced when the principal supports the leadership experiences of others;
4. Building the individual leadership capacity of the many builds organizational leadership capacity; and
5. The ability to do this important work lies within the school membership.

Figure AG.1 describes behaviors principals should engage in as they seek to build, develop, and sustain leadership capacity in others.

To begin building leadership capacity, a principal simply talks with teachers, parents, and students about taking on leadership roles and responsibilities. Once the dialogue begins, the principal asks others to participate, encourages involvement, and supports people as they engage in new leadership ventures. Teachers, parents, and students are eager to extend their leadership if and when asked to do so by the principal; he is the catalyst who must begin the conversations about sharing school leadership. When a principal is viewed as one who values shared leadership by talking about it with other school members and provides the necessary help

Reprinted by permission.

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