By: Hazel Mason and Heather Marlborough
Educational leaders are working in an increasingly diverse society with a number of competing values. It is difficult to be effective in this environment and it requires leaders to rely on a number of different styles and to take context into account. Moral leadership is a style that recognizes the importance of values and attitudes in decision-making. This style of leadership requires administrators to become reflective practitioners using their values and attitudes to govern their decision-making. According to Sergiovanni (1992) when administrators are acting as moral leaders they are compelled to do the right thing not just what is right. This style of leadership is particularly challenging for principals in the current educational context. Governments, Ministries of Education and School Districts have become dictatorial about how educational policies and practices will be implemented. In spite of these changes, administrators coming from a moral leadership perspective will keep the big picture in mind while relying on their values and ethics to modify decisions to do what is best for children and schools. Begley states (1999) “it is not enough for school leaders to merely emulate the values of other principals currently viewed as experts. Leaders of future schools must become reflective practitioners.” School Leaders must be aware of the personal values that they bring to a decision and the competing values of those around them. Principals who are moral leaders must take into account the relational norms operating within their building. For example, a teacher who disagrees with standardized testing at all grade levels and appears to be undermining the decision confronts a Principal. The Principal respects the position of the teacher and recognizes that the teacher is feeling undervalued and unappreciated. Instead of becoming confrontational with the teacher, the Principal...
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