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InstructionsLeadership encompasses a sense of power, and at times, this power can be misused by the leader in the form of an intimidating dictatorial leadership style resulting in a fearful, intimidating, untrustworthy, and hostile working environment. Board of education members have historically experienced the need to secure a new more democratic superintendent to replace one who subscribed to more of a top-down overly aggressive leadership style, leaving staff and even the larger community questioning their judgment to effectively operate the school district.Utilizing the assigned readings for the course as well as additional applicable scholarly sources, describe a leadership style more indicative of an authentic, servant, cooperative, and transformational leader you would convey as a superintendent candidate during an interview with a board of education searching for more of a democratic leader. Within your essay, present the last two pages where you are speaking to the board of education and you specify your leadership qualities, traits, characteristics, beliefs, actions, behaviors, practices, processes, etc., you would consistently demonstrate if selected by the board of education to lead the school district as its superintendent.Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pagesReferences: Minimum of 5 scholarly resources


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Journal of Leadership Education
DOI: 1012806/V14/I3/R5
Summer 2015
Comparison of Transformational Leadership Practices:
Implications for School Districts and Principal Preparation
Jeff Quin
Department of Technology/District Administration
Lawrence County School District
Aaron Deris
Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education
Minnesota State University
Greg Bischoff
Adjunct Professor
Northcentral University
James T. Johnson
Director of the Center for Research Support
University of Southern Mississippi
The purpose of this study was to determine the leadership practices needed to improve
academic achievement and generate positive change in school organizations. The study was also
conducted to provide insight to principal preparation programs and school districts about
effective transformational leadership practices. A quantitative research method was used to
achieve the survey study. Ninety-two teachers completed the Leadership Practices Inventory
developed by Kouzes and Posner. Data was analyzed with the use of descriptive statistics and ttests. The findings of the study indicate that (a) principals in high performing schools employ all
leadership practices more frequently than principals in lower performing schools and (b)
inspiring a shared vision and challenging the process are the two practices that have the biggest
impact on student achievement. It is recommended that principal preparation programs
incorporate Kouzes and Posner’s transformational leadership model into their curriculum in
order to develop highly qualified school leaders.
Accountability has been part of the educational landscape for the past five decades.
Since the early 1990s, accountability has concentrated on issues of adequacy. The Goals 2000
and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) were enacted to increase academic achievement for all
students and improve didactic institutions (Styron & Styron, 2011). Even though accountability
has been prevalent throughout the years, principal leaders continue to be unsuccessful at meeting
the academic standards set by the state and federal accountability models (Dillon, 2010; Styron
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
& Styron, 2011). Many researchers have proposed principals are not being taught the needed
leadership theory and skills for K-12 leadership roles (Huff et al.,2011; Styron & Lemire, 2009;
Versland, 2013). Versland (2013) indicated many leadership programs fail to connect theory to
practice, provide effective internships and field experiences, and recruit high quality candidates.
Davis and Darling-Hammond (2012) found principal preparation programs must provide a clear
focus on the leadership practices and theory that will improve student learning. McKibben
(2013) proposed that school districts should provide a pre-service program to develop and retain
effective school leaders.
Principal Preparation Programs. School leadership is essential to the success of
school organizations. Principals are rated second to teachers in the improvement of student
achievement and they may explicate up to 25% of the variance in student learning (Davis &
Darling-Hammond, 2012; McKibben, 2013). In this new era of accountability, school leaders
are expected to increase achievement and make substantial academic growth for all students.
The reform of the didactic organization depends on the quality of principal leadership (Hess &
Kelly, 2005, McKibben, 2013). Effective principal preparation programs are key to the
development of high quality school leaders (Hess & Kelly, 2005; McKibben, 2013; Styron &
Lemire, 2009).
Research in the last 10 years suggests that traditional and alternative preparation
programs are failing to prepare school principals for the leadership role. Maulding et al. (2010)
suggested school districts around the nation are suffering from a shortage of qualified principal
leaders. Finnigan (2010) stated a significant problem in failing schools is ineffective leadership.
Studies indicate that school leadership programs are failing to prepare leaders with the skills
required to successfully lead teachers and increase student achievement (Huff et al., 2011).
According to Styron and Lemire (2009), traditional and alternative training programs in the
United States lack the vision, purpose, structure, and unity needed to prepare leaders to improve
curriculum, instruction, and achievement. Al-Omari & Sharaah (2012) indicated leadership
preparation programs in Turkey are not preparing principals for the responsibilities and duties
needed to successfully generate positive change in the school organization. McKibben (2013)
revealed conventional principal preparation programs lack a sound practice-based curriculum,
rigor, and selection criteria for candidates.
Recently, studies by Davis and Darling Hammond (2012) and Perilla (2014) have
provided insight into characteristics of an effective principal preparation program. Davis and
Darling-Hammond (2012) conducted a study on five university-based principal preparation
programs. The researchers examined several pieces of evidence to draw conclusions, such as (a)
candidate and graduate perceptions about preparedness, (b) observations of graduates’ practices
on the job, and (c) student achievement data. The research team found the key elements of a
leadership program include: a rigorous admission process, development of core leadership
practices or skills, an evaluation process, development of leaders who can generate
organizational change, alignment of leadership theory with practice, and effective internships
with skilled supervision (Davis & Darling-Hammond (2012). Perilla (2014) proposed school
districts should provide high quality mentors to new principals along with professional
development appropriate for the individual. A limitation of this study was that each of the
essential characteristics of effective leadership programs were not examined.
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
Leadership Practices and Transformational Leadership. Research has indicated
specific leadership practices positively influence academic achievement and reform the didactic
institution (Abu-Tineh, Khasawneh, & Al-Omari, 2009; Crum, Whitney, & Myran, 2009;
Leithwood, Harris, & Hopkins, 2008). Leithwood, Harris, and Hopkins (2008) declared
effective leaders utilize a common set of leadership practices to transform school organizations.
A number of studies were conducted to establish the most frequently employed leadership
practices and skills of effective leaders. The leadership practices included setting directions,
developing the capacity of staff, redesigning the educational institution, and managing the
instructional program (Crum et al., 2009; Leithwood, Aitken, & Jantzi, 2006; Leithwood et al.,
2008). Kouzes and Posner (2007) discovered inspiring a shared vision, modeling the way,
challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart were the leadership
practices utilized regularly by successful transformational leaders.
Studies of Leadership Practices. An infinitesimal number of studies have been
conducted on the comparison of transformational leadership practices in high performing and
low performing schools. Knab (2009) conducted a survey study to determine the differences
between the leadership practices of principals in high performing and low performing schools
and concluded that a significant difference exists. Sawati, Anwar, and Majoka (2011) conducted
a similar study and concluded that no significant difference existed in the leadership practices of
principals in low performing and high performing schools. From available literature, it is
debatable if a significant difference exists in the leadership practices of principals in high
performing and low performing schools. This study was conducted to identify the difference in
transformational leadership practices in high performing and low performing schools and
contribute to the body of research on leadership theory.
Transformational Leadership. Research indicates that transformational leaders are
capable of transforming the people and culture within an organization (Masumoto & BrownWelty, 2009; Pepper, 2010). Kouzes and Posner (2007) proposed leaders who utilize
transformational leadership practices make exemplary changes in an organization. Universities
and alternative preparation programs must teach principals transformational leadership practices
to prepare them to use accountability and achievement data to drive instruction, serve as an
instructional coach, challenge the status quo, motivate and mentor staff, manage personnel,
handle disruptions in and out of the school, and understand economic, social, technological, and
global change on schooling (Sadeghi & Pihie, 2012; Styron & Lemire, 2009). The increasing
demands of the principalship require leadership programs to make changes to their programs and
curriculum. Kouzes and Posner (2007) indicated leadership programs should utilize a
curriculum that includes a set of prescribed leadership practices.
Empirical research indicates that effective and capable transformational leaders are
essential to the success of reform efforts (Al-Omari & Sharaah; 2012, Knab, 2009; Pugh,
Fillingim, Blackbourn, Bunch, & Thomas, 2011). Principals in high performing schools
generate positive change in their organization through building trust among the stakeholders and
creating a healthy school culture (Leithwood et al., 2008; MacNeil, Prater, & Busch, 2009).
Principal leaders strengthen their culture through celebrating successes, telling success stories,
and reinforcing the established standards and values (Turan & Bektas, 2013). According to AbuTineh, Khasawneh, and Al-Omari (2009), school leaders in high performing schools transform
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
their organization through improving the culture, motivation, and performance of the faculty and
Theoretical Framework
Transformational leadership is the leadership theory that served as a model for this study.
Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership strategy that generates reform in the
stakeholders, school culture, and educational organizations (Burton & Peachey, 2009). Chegini
(2010) proposed principals who employed transformational leadership improved teacher
performance and student achievement. Abu-Tineh et al. (2009) stated transformational leaders
achieve extraordinary results by developing a shared vision, setting the example, challenging the
status quo, and supporting staff.
Burns (1978) developed the conception of transformational leadership in 1978.
Transformational leadership was considered a moral endeavor that raised the morale and
motivation of the leader and followers to a higher level (Pepper, 2010). Bass employed the work
of Burns to develop the Full Range Leadership Model (Hoy & Miskel, 2008). The leadership
model contained four transformational components, two transactional components, and laissezfaire leadership (Abu-Tineh et al., 2009). Transformational leaders are described as exhibiting
inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, idealized influence, and individual
consideration. The research team of Kouzes and Posner has refined our understanding of
transformational leadership.
Transformational leadership, as identified by Kouzes and Posner (2007), served as the
foundation of this study. The research team emphasized leadership is a set of learned practices
that can be employed by any individual willing to make a difference. The transformational
leadership practices allow the principal leader to achieve the goals set by the organization and
obtain exceptional results. The five practices of effective leadership were established through
investigating approximately 75,000 leaders over the past 30 years. The five transformational
leadership practices include modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process,
enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart (Abu-Tineh et al., 2009; Kouzes & Posner,
Inspiring a Shared Vision. Successful leaders inspire a shared vision with their faculty
and staff (Kouzes & Posner, 2009). Constituents are committed to achieving the objectives of an
organization when the vision is created collectively. Hallinger (2011) identified organizational
vision as the key to improving student learning. Effective school leaders employ the shared
vision to guide their staff and align resources to attain organizational goals (Kantabutra, 2010).
A shared vision motivates the stakeholders to make informed decisions regarding instructional
practices and stimulates the constituents to examine current organizational policies and practices
(Kouzes & Posner, 2009).
Modeling the Way. Effective leaders develop a clear set of values for constituents to
follow (Gulcan, 2012). Transformational principals set the example and build loyalty through
their daily actions. Principal leaders reveal their commitment to the stakeholders by setting a
positive example. Faculty and staff are willing to follow a credible leader who lives by the
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
values he or she supports (Abu-Tineh et al., 2009). Chegini (2010) proposed teacher
performance improves dramatically when the school leader is seen engaging in the
organization’s shared vision and goals.
Challenging the Process. Exemplary school leaders generate new and novel ideas
through challenging the process. The principal leader and faculty develop innovative reform
efforts through experimentation and risk-taking (Sahin, 2011). Challenging the status quo allows
the stakeholders to test their skills, learn new effective teaching strategies or procedures, and turn
ideas into action (Abu-Tineh et al., 2009; Saban & Wolfe, 2009). Finnigan (2010) declared
leaders create positive change in the organization when they encourage staff to take the initiative.
Abu-Tineh et al. (2009) proposed leaders and staff must make mistakes in order to open the door
to new ideas and opportunities.
Enabling Others to Act. Successful leaders encourage staff to perform at their
maximum potential by enabling them to act and lead. The school leader builds trust with the
faculty by cultivating teamwork and support (Gulcan, 2012). An environment based on trust and
self-respect allows stakeholders to create positive change at the classroom and organizational
levels (Sahin, 2011). Roby (2011) asserted that high performing principal leaders support their
staff members frequently and inspire their teachers to become leaders. Transformational leaders
motivate their staff and teacher leaders to initiate reform efforts and develop new approaches to
improve educator and student performance (Valentine & Prater, 2011).
Encouraging the Heart. Teachers and staff need encouragement and inspiration to
attain the goals of the organization. Abu-Tineh et al. (2009) indicated encouraging the heart is a
fundamental practice in improving teacher performance and student learning. Transformational
leaders influence job performance of teachers and staff members by utilizing incentives,
celebrations, and recognition (Lee, 2008). The effective leader uses the encouraging the heart
practice to increase teachers’ sense of belonging, commitment, and drive to achieve the
objectives of the didactic institution.
Kouzes and Posner (2007) proposed school leaders who use the five transformational
leadership practices will generate positive educational reform and achieve exemplary results.
Nash (2010) found successful leaders use transformational leadership practices to improve
teacher performance and student achievement. Studies have shown that academic achievement
is positively impacted by transformational leadership (Knab, 2009; Turan & Bektas, 2013). It is
hypothesized in this study that leaders in high performing schools utilize transformational
leadership practices more effectively than principals in low performing schools and school
performance is correlated with transformational leadership.
Research Problem
Principals from around the world continue to struggle with increasing student
achievement (Styron & Styron, 2011). Universities and principal preparation programs are not
preparing school leaders with the leadership practices or skills necessary to be successful in the
school setting (Huff et al., 2011). Thus, research is needed to develop a deeper understanding of
the transformational practices required to prepare principals to reform the didactic institution and
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
increase academic achievement. An assessment of the transformational leadership practices
employed by principals in varying performing schools could provide universities with insight to
improve their leadership programs.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to assist universities in developing a deeper understanding
of the transformational leadership practices needed to better prepare school leaders to generate
positive change in their educational organizations. A second objective of this study was to
determine the individual transformational leadership practices that would improve teacher
performance and student achievement. A third aim of the study was to establish the differences
in transformational leadership practices of principals in high performing and low performing
schools. The following question guided the study:
RQ1. What is the difference between high and low performing schools on the five
variables of leadership practices (modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the
process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart)?
The following hypothesis was tested:
H10. There is no significant difference between high and low performing schools on the
five variables of leadership practices (modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging
the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the way).
Research Design. The quantitative research study was executed with the use of an
online survey. The survey study was cross-sectional because all data was collected at one point
in time. A comparative design was employed to conduct the research. A comparative technique
was appropriate for this study because the method allowed the researcher to determine
differences among groups (Yan, 2009). A set of t-tests was utilized to determine the differences
in leadership practices of principals in high performing and low performing schools.
Participants. Teachers from 10 school districts in Southwest Mississippi participated in
this study. The study was conducted during the 2011-2012 school year. Mississippi schools
obtain a performance level or Quality Distribution Index (QDI) based on the students’ scores on
the state assessments. The QDI is calculated from the percentage of students scoring basic,
proficient, and advanced on the state assessments. The QDI is calculated by using the following
formula: QDI = (Basic X 1) + (Proficient X 2) + (Advanced X 3). The performance score or
QDI of a didactic organization ranges from 0 to 300 (Mississippi Department of Education,
Office of Accreditation, 2009). The seven accountability labels issued to school organizations
during this study were (a) Star, (b) High Performing, (c) Successful, (d) Academic Watch, (e)
Low Performing, (f) At Risk of Failing, and (g) Failing. Organizations labeled High Performing
and Star were considered high performing organizations and those with the label of Failing, At
Risk of Failing, or Low Performing were considered low performing schools (Mississippi
Department of Education, Office of Research and Statistics, 2010). The Mississippi Department
of Education (MDE) website was used to obtain student achievement or performance level data.
Journal of Leadership Education
Summer 2015
An a priori power analysis was performed to establish the appropriate sam …
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