Throughout the history of education, leaders have used many different styles to lead faculty and staff. Leadership within the educational system has evolved over the years to become a more participative rather than a domineering style. The purpose of the paper is to explore in detail educational leadership theories.
Educational Leadership Theories
Leaders are not born; however, they do have natural traits that affect their abilities. In recent years, Educational accountability has been the focus of state and local governments. Federal and state achievement standards are being created for students as well as educational leaders. Now more than ever school districts are under pressure to increase student achievement. Leaders are being asked to provide specific documentation that student performance is part of the goal and mission of the schools. Educational leaders are being held accountable for the processes they establish as well as the success of their faculty and students. They are being required to implement strategies for measuring and reporting student outcomes and connecting those outcomes to the performance of teachers and schools. How a leader successfully runs a school directly impacts how successful students can be, this is second only to classroom instruction. Leadership entwines leaders’ faculty and staff and their influence, organizational objectives, change and people. Everyone is leading someone somewhere, but the question is where and how. In order to be a good leader one must be a good employee. Many scholars define leadership as one who plans, directs, or guides people toward a mutual goal. Leadership has been described as an influence relationship among leaders and staff who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes. The basis for good leadership is a respectable personality and unselfish service to employees and the organization. The best leaders are those who are deeply interested in others and can bring out the best in them. Great leadership begins by modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act and encouraging hearts. In order for one to favor a leadership style, one must understand where the leadership styles originated. However, one may wonder if certain characteristics or traits are inherent in leaders. According to research, the 1940’s found that leaders maintain certain traits. These traits were based on physical and personality characteristics as well as intelligence and interpersonal skills (Sahin, 2004). The limitations of trait theory are that leaders cannot be developed through their skills and education (Sahin, 2004). Directive Leadership
This style of leadership is considered job-centered. The job-centered (task-initiating structure) behavior focuses on the leader taking control in order to get the job done quickly. It relies heavily on faculty and staff taking orders from the leader instead of the leader offering much clarification or dialogue faculty and staff are inspired through threat of correction and reprimand. The directive leadership style offers several advantages: swiftness of task completion keeps group members from producing alternatives that influence the minority negatively, guarantees the leader is heard and informs staff when their conduct is undesirable. The disadvantages of the directive leadership style are: dissociates staff, non-development of employees and convenience. One might use this style of leadership when the faculty or staff is in danger of not accomplishing a task in a timely manner or in a crisis situation. Laissez-Faire Leadership
The Laissezz-Faire leadership style places an emphasis on the staff centered attribute. Leaders who use this style fail their staff because they offer no positive or negative direction nor do they interfere at any time. Laissezz-Faire leaders renounce their leadership, giving staff a wide spectrum of...