Contemporary Issues in Education: Edcucational Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Education, Situational leadership theory Pages: 5 (2973 words) Published: November 2, 2014

Contemporary Issues in Education: Educational LeadershipW. A. C. University of PhoenixContemporary Issues in Education: Educational LeadershipLeadership is about forging relationships and perpetuating communication centered on and around a common vision, goals, and values. As noted by Clauson (2006), leadership is a subject that has been “widely studied over a long period of time, yet it remains an elusive phenomenon to understand and develop” (p. 379). Leadership is, as one would hope, found in the Bible; as noted by Wren (2005), “The Old Testament is a story of the leadership of a people in quest of a land” (p. 17). Leaders throughout history have often been people who have failed in the past. For example, Abraham Lincoln Online (2013) noted, Abraham Lincoln had at least eight failures prior to finally being elected as President of the United States. Within the pages of this paper, the reader will discover the definition of leadership as postulated by several authorities, as well as the definition of educational leadership. Following the definition of leadership will be explanations of some of the various leadership theories, emphasizing the theories’ roles within education. Different theories abound regarding leadership. Cherry (2013a) noted that although there are many leadership theories and most of them may be classified within eight major types. Within the pages of this paper, four of those theories are to be expanded. Following the definition of leadership, each of the four chosen leadership theories will be defined. The four chosen leadership theories presented within these pages are transactional, transformational, trait, and behavioral. The similarities and differences between these theories are analyzed, and a brief discussion of how each theory might address contemporary leadership issues and challenges will be presented. It seems sensible that to understand the various leadership theories, one should know what the term leadership means. Leadership is defined in several ways. As noted by Wren (1995), leadership is an interactive process in which leaders and followers engage in mutual interaction in a complex environment to achieve mutual goals. Horner (1997), further exanded on this idea of a leadership process, explaining "In some cases, leadership has been described as a process, but most theories and research on leadership look at a person to gain understanding” (p. 1). Strang (2005) noted that from a business standpoint, leadership “efficiently integrates and coordinates division of labor across the organization” (p. 68). According to Northouse (2009), leadership is “a relationship between people in a social situation” (p. 15). Effective leaders can move from one style to another. As noted by Jui-Chen and Silverthorn (2004), leadership style affects organizations, individual departments, teams, the work climate, and the work atmosphere. Leaders should not rely on only one leadership style. This author prefers the quote by then-General Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it” (Military-Quotes.com, 2009). General Eisenhower’s definition of leadership is veraciously on the mark, particularly in the context of an educational setting. As educators, we work diligently to engage and motivate students so they want to learn, read, think critically, create, collaborate, and ultimately become life-long learners and leaders. Instructional leaders, as noted by Jenkins (2009), includes deeper involvement in teaching and learning, which are at the core of schooling. As noted by Rothkopf (200X), effective educational administrators purposefully and deliberately seek to create a climate and culture that promotes and perpetuates ongoing learning and growth of students and teachers alike. When a child begs for more reading time, dives enthusiastically into a research project, or makes a cross-curriculum...

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