The key to an effective academic institution is to have a great educational leader in charge. Leadership is the ability to create a unified vision among followers, set goals, develop strategies to meet desired accomplishments and motivate, encourage and serve as a positive and ethical example to others. A good educational leader understands what needs to get done to improve academic conditions and the student experience. However, various theories of leadership styles exist in education, which determine the relationship the leader has with others as well as how he goes about leading.
The facilitative leader does not adhere to the traditional top-down hierarchical structure, where decisions are made solely at the highest level. Rather, a facilitative leader uses a collective approach to decision-making that solicits the input and opinions of others so that the best overall improvements can be made. Facilitative leaders are interested in involving others, which is a positive leadership trait in the education field because it encourages innovation and independence from teachers and other school administrators. This collective decision-making model employed by facilitative leaders helps the educational system make progress because the group input allows leaders to understand the needs of students, classrooms and communities.
In the education system, many leaders use a transformational leadership style to build up the confidence of followers as the school works through organizational or systematic changes. Since the education system is always reorganizing and developing, transformational leaders are ideal for helping teachers, students, parents, faculty and communities grasp a new vision and be led and motivated. Educational leaders who use a transformational style have a way of communicating with others, getting the masses on board with a unified vision and helping people see the benefits of outcomes through change.
Instructional educational leaders are concerned with improving curriculum, monitoring student behaviors in the classroom, evaluating student test scores, improving the work of teachers and closely supervising school academic progress goals. These leaders work closely with teachers to identify weak areas that need improving, and to develop classroom standards of student behaviors and academic standing. This style of leadership is often employed in schools that have fallen behind academically or are experiencing behavioral problems among the students.
Administrative leadership is a leadership theory that is focused on administrative policy, bureaucracy, accountability and school procedures. This leadership style is important, but cannot stand alone successfully in the education world since it does not typically concentrate enough on student and teacher well-being. These leaders are less invested in personal relationships -- unlike transformational leaders -- and are more concerned with following rules and maintaining order.
- The Wallace Foundation; Leadership and Learning; Richard Lee Colvin
- Consortium for Policy Research in Education; Strategic Leadership for Education Reform; Daniel J. Heck and Iris R. Weiss; January 2005
- University of Oregon College of Education: Eric Digest: Clearinghouse on Educational Policy and Management: Facilitative Leadership; Larry Lashway; April 1995
- Interaction Institute for Social Change: Schools and School Systems
- Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development: Leading to Learn: School Leadership and Management Styles
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images
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