Applying Leadership Theories Essay
Grand Canyon University: EDA 575
May 4th, 2011
Leadership styles are similar to teaching styles in that they require a certain amount of flexibility and adaptability; in reality, there is no singular ideal theory. In this way, the study of leadership and the management of the same, as shown by the previous discussion theories about leadership, are multidimensional. However, in reading through various studies on the subject, two come to the forefront as being more applicable than others: Transformational Leadership Theory and the Servant Leadership Theory since both stress the importance of communication and trust amongst administration, staff, and faculty. Transformational Leadership Theory
Transformational Leadership theory was developed in 1978 by James McGregor Burns, “who saw leadership as the motivation of followers to achieve goals that met individual as well as the changing needs of the organization” (Giles, 2006, p. 259). “Transformational leaders are visionaries, role models, and facilitators who prepare their employees to work in dynamic environment” (Hawkins, 2009, p 43). Burns later expanded his theory, by adding that “transformational leaders manage with morals, tenacity, selflessness and have good political skills” (Hawkins, 2009, p 43). This leadership theory has continued to evolve over time with the changing of the world. A more modern take on transformational leadership theory in education would be as follows: “A transformational leader typically has a charismatic vision and personality and is able to inspire his followers to accept change at their school. This leader acts as a moral agent who raises consciousness about professional practices and values in the school. He encourages educational creativity and innovation and fosters a sense of ownership by motivating others to commit to his vision. He does this by considering the specific needs of those who answer to him, thereby empowering them to change. (Cleary, 2011)
Transformational Leadership Theory Flaws
Although in theory a Transformational leader appears to encompass the mind set to lead a school district into the future, this study is also not without flaws. “Because environmental conditions are constantly changing, leadership must be able to manipulate the organizational culture to ensure the system’s ability to adapt to and survive in the environment through the evolution of new cultural assumptions” (Razik, 2010, p.95). Major problems arise when “assumptions” become almost impossible to predict in an expanded school culture. Schools now need to adapt to conditions beyond their control as mandates from the State are increasing at a rapid rate while funding is decreasing just as quickly from both a state and local level. Transformational Leaders who have expressed their goals and ideals and been have been able to put them into practice with the support and cooperation of the faculty and staff are now faced with watching those goals suddenly stalled by unforeseen circumstances that go beyond the theory of being able to adapt and change. Any plans for the future become nearly impossible to implement under these conditions since the future, due to funding, is now so unpredictable. The practice of a unified vision under the realm of a well-liked and respected leader becomes non-existent when monies are limited, agreements become severed, and everyone views his or her concepts as being the most important to the needs of the district. The “consistency and constancy” that created the trust and unity amongst the administration, staff/faculty, and the community is no longer apparent, causing distention within the school organization (Hawkin, 2009).
Servant Leadership Theory
Although similar to the theory of Transformational Leadership in its use of open communication between the faculty and...