Leadership and Education: A conceptual framework of Leadership and its effects on Education

Leadership:

More complex adjustment problems in the society, multiplied tendencies of indulging in conflicts, vanishing social concern, pseudo-patriotism, irresponsibility at work and much other uncanny behaviour can float up, projecting negative personality when good leadership values are not taught. Through various school programmes that include study, games and activities, the subtle task of infusing leadership qualities can be effectively practised.

The meaning of Leadership:

Leadership is a process by which one person influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviours of others. Leaders set a direction for the rest: they help to see what lies ahead. They help to visualize what one might achieve; they encourage and inspire. Without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because one can see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. Leadership helps to point in the same direction and harness the efforts jointly. Leadership is the ability to get other people to do something significant that they might not otherwise do. It’s energizing people toward a goal.

Definitions of Leadership:

The word ‘leader’ comes from old English leden’ which means ’cause to go with one’. It was first appeared in around 1125. It appeared in English in about 1300 as `ledere’, which was formed from Middle English leden’ with the meaning ‘to lead’. The meaning ‘person in front’ is first recorded in 1570.

Leadership can be defined as the ability to inspire other people to accomplish things. Webster’s new word dictionary of the English language defines the word `leadership’ as ‘the position or guidance of a leader, the ability to lead’, which doesn’t help much in understanding the concept. It may be understood that a leader is the one who uses inborn and developed abilities to convert vision into reality through not only own effort, but also those of other people. A leader should be able to assess where the people are and then proceed with the step-by-step movement of the people towards the fulfillment of the vision in the best interest of the people. Leadership may also be referred to as the use of influence (non-coercive) to motivate the behaviour of groups of people to achieve their chosen goals.

Concepts of Leadership:

There is no common definition of a concept like leadership, perhaps the best definition of leadership can be framed by the reader himself based on his/her own understanding, maturity and experience. Ultimately, it is the ability of a person to influence a group of people towards the achievement of goals, which are in the interest of public good and organizational interest.

The Process of Leadership:

Leadership is all about the ability to influence the behaviour of others to get the willing cooperation of the members of groups, organizations etc. to achieve the goals as per the vision of the leader and need of the followers. It involves inter-relationship between the leader and the followers by which they develop mutual trust and rapport to understand their goals and methodology of achieving them. Since a leader ‘sells hope’ to the followers, a leader has to be a person of great passion, empathy and integrity who keeps the overall interest of the organization and followers before his/her personal interest. Since every situation is dynamic, the behaviour pattern of the leader and follower keeps changing and the goals have also to be modified according to the changes in social, political, educational and technological changes that take place. Leaders have to shift their style of leadership depending on the situation as it keeps changing.

Qualities of Good Leaders:

Leadership at any level largely depends on the inherited personal qualities that enable the person to lead a group. A set of specialized personal behaviours desirable influences the life of the people fulfills their aspirations and elevates the person to presume the role of a leader. A leader should have all those behaviours that can influence the behaviours of others intensifying their impulses to love and respect their leader. The leadership qualities possessed should be a strong stimulant, which can stimulate others to work in the same direction as intended by the leader. According to Krech and Cruthfied – ‘A leader must partake the same degree of functions of executive, planner, policy maker, expert, extraordinary group representative, controller of internal relationship, purveyor of reward and punishment, arbitrator, a mediator, and exemplar’.

A leader’s true caliber is thus measured by the consideration and tolerance they have for others. Though every child can’t climb the steps of leadership, at least those with characteristics of leadership should be guided to become good leaders. Teachers should clearly have a wider understanding of those traits that function as qualities of a good leader. The well-established qualities of a leader or the distinguishing characteristics of leadership are: A leader should:

  • Possess a versatile personality by which she/he can inspire others and has taken the position to look after the welfare of others with genuine consideration.
  • Be courageous and should strongly represent the group during problem, adversities, and fills courage at all difficult times.
  • Try to understand the psychology of the group so that the behaviours of the group members are appropriately controlled and directed by sympathetically and carefully dominating over the minds of others.
  • Present themselves as a model before others, projecting before others good ideas so that they identify them, gets influenced by them and tries to emulate them.
  • Try to be familiar with everyone and treat himself as a member of the group that she/he represents.
  • Be a dedicated representative of the group, carefully watching for the interests and needs of the members of the group, and work to meet their requirements.
  • Have the ability to exhibit tolerance without getting irritated or emotionally withdrawn by the troublesome behaviours of the group members.
  • Command prestige forms others in the group by trying to do satisfying things at the times of need and thus earn their appreciation. The capacity of the leaders to lead the group by responding to their needs earns their respect.
  • Be intelligent, plan, guide and direct all the activities of the group and thus project the width of their responsibility.
  • Be tactful, conscious and by wise democratic actions that keep the group members united and the group together about their individual and social responsibility and work with a true desire to fulfil them.
  • Act as a mediator with tools of justice ever kept ready for implementation and solve all naturally arising social tensions that can occasionally crop up and thus maintain a harmonious social relationship.
  • Promote good and binding inter-personal relationship between the members of the group so that unity is undisturbed instead is well sustained within the group and all resources within the group are effectively mobilised.
  • Have the drive and determination to face tough times, be tough with tough, reinforce enthusiasm and energy into the group and lead the group to discharge all its obligations and be counted.
  • Be a good communicator, an expert with many resources to be able to speak to people in a convincing manner with high intelligence and understanding.
  • Stimulate the members to keep themselves away from anti-social simulations and provide them with an opportunity for those social participations that share the pursuit of social growth.
  • Have sublime faith in himself to have faith on other and also faith in his ideas. With a whole-sighted personality, analyse the problems from different angles.

By trying to acquire these specialised personal qualities, one can really look forward to leading the people in the desired direction. One can sow the seeds of courtesy, provide protection and help at the time of difficulties, manure the power of dependence and gather the consideration as a true leader. If students try to uphold these qualities and imbibe them to their life, then they can stand up to be extraordinary representatives.

Some Important Types of Leaders / Leaderships:

Social thinkers through their careful study have been able to identify leaders based on different factors mainly based on their controlling qualities. A brief knowledge of these types helps the teachers to know about the origin and development of certain traits that contribute to different forms of leaderships.

  • Dynamic Leadership: Certain leaders by nature or willfully change their ideas, views and certain physical qualities in accordance with the prevailing situations and changing time. Such leaders by virtue of their versatile nature adopt to the needs and generally controls them in a proper manner, often without much conflicts.
  • Democratic Leadership: Democratic leaders are most successful in winning the hearts and confidence of the followers because they take into consideration the needs, interest, aspiration, problems of the followers. Followers frequently approach the leader with their views and feelings, needs and desires which are accepted and the leader tries hard to act in close touch with their wishes. By earning the confidence of the followers they enjoy the position of power with more lasting representation.
  • Executive Leadership: This type is a purpose — based leadership where a person was chosen is appointed by higher authorities to lead a team. Such leaders should necessarily have the capacity to execute the orders of their higher authority and effectively co-ordinate and motivate the subordinates to function as a productive unit. The intelligence invested, the control exercised, a concern expressed, co-operation commanded, ideals upheld, enthusiasm induced, respect earned, discipline sustained and the efficiency projected decides the capabilities of the executive leadership. Many organisations, establishments, offices, etc. are on a constant lookout for specialists in this type of leadership.
  • Authoritarian Leadership: An authoritarian leader is like a commander who wields more power and makes plans and policies mainly according to his/her own wishes. The ideas, desire, feelings of the followers do not find any consideration in from of the dominating attitude of the leader. Most of the freedom to be enjoyed by the members get suppressed. When the authoritarian exercise of the leader turns out to be intolerant and beyond a limit, there will be more chances for repulsion and splitting.
  • Social Leadership: The social stimulations and the influence of the social environment can develop a type of leadership called social leadership. Here the leader conducts himself/herself as the symbol of the society and desires to lead the followers for social purpose. As a representative of the society, she/he closely considers the interests of the society. Such leaders always keep themselves identified with the society and influence the behaviours of the followers to work for the social concerns of the society. The successful progress of such leaders mainly depends on the extent of efforts put in to protect the culture of the group, identify with the group, represent the people’s problems and on the courage and tolerance put forward at difficult times.
  • Charismatic leadership: Broadly there are two types of leaders, one are the transactional types and the other charismatic types. The transactional type i.e. the first type of leaders help the followers in achieving excellence when the goals are established, the follower is motivated through clarification of their goals and the requirement of the tasks. Second types are such leaders who are able to exercise extraordinary impact on their followers and they transcend their personal interest for the good of the organization. Such leaders are called charismatic or transformational. It is the force of their character and personal abilities, which they use to transform their followers to achieve outstanding results. Any ordinary leader cannot get such results from his/her followers, which they are able to get. Pandit Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, etc. fit in this category. Some of the characteristics which distinguish the charismatic leader from the others are: vision, Self — confidence, Conviction in the vision, Extraordinary behaviour and Empathy, Consistency, Integrity and communications skill.

Leadership Traits:

`Trait’ refers to ‘a feature that gives uniqueness’. It can be used to describe a person’s physical features, mental features, or personality features. A trait is an adjective that describes a characteristic or distinguishing feature or flaw in a person or thing. People and things can have different traits about them. Some of the leadership traits are as follows:

  • Simple and modest: His/her feet are always on the ground and he/she leads a simple life. These two qualities, which others admire, add to the ability to become a good leader.
  • Accessible: A leader is an on — hand person. She/he is there where the followers and situations need him/her to be able to help them and find solutions to the problems.
  • Passionate: Passion for work needs putting in hard labour at odd hours.
  • Consistent: Does not keep changing his/her stance in every situation that may be against the interest of his/her chosen goal.
  • Has perseverance: Ability to ‘never give up’ is developed because of right attitude, belief in self and commitment to the cause.
  • Physical, mental and spiritual health: These are very important for a leader to be able to deliver. Unless she/he maintains a balance through a strategy of life supported by these three pillars, she/he cannot succeed as a leader.
  • Caring: A leader is caring when she/he empathizes with needs, concerns and goals of people she/he leads.
  • Honest: Display sincerity, integrity, and candour in all the actions. Deceptive behaviour will not inspire trust.
  • Competent: Based the actions on reason and moral principles. Do not make decisions based on childlike emotional desires or feelings.
  • Forward-looking: Set goals and have a vision of the future. The vision must be owned throughout the organization. Effective leaders envision what they want and how to get it. They habitually pick priorities stemming from their basic values.
  • Inspiring: Display confidence in all. By showing endurance in mental, physical, and spiritual stamina, one can inspire others to reach new heights. Take charge when necessary.
  • Intelligent: Read, study, and seek challenging assignments.
  • Fair-minded: Show fair treatment to all people. Prejudice is the enemy of justice. Display empathy by being sensitive to the feelings, values, interests, and well-being of others.
  • Broad-minded: Seek out diversity.
  • Courageous: Have the perseverance to accomplish a goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Display a confident calmness when under stress.
  • Straight forward: Use sound judgment to make a good decision at the right time.
  • Imaginative: Make timely and appropriate changes in your thinking, plans, and methods. Show creativity by thinking of new and better goals, ideas, and solutions to problems. Be innovative.

10 Traits of Great Leadership:

  • 1. Leaders know how to deal adversity.
  • 2. Leaders create a desire for success in those under them.
  • 3. Leaders know how to make unpopular decisions and can make decisive decisions in a quick, yet well thought-out manner.
  • 4. Leaders don’t treat every subordinate the same, rather they give recognition and reprimand wherever they are due.
  • 5. Leaders are optimistic, energetic and their enthusiasm trickles down to those under them.
  • 6. Leaders dream Edison who was the world’s greatest inventor went from a telegraph operator to a name that will live on in American history because he had a vision and pursued it despite setbacks. They also know that dreams must be clearly conveyed to the subordinates so everyone is on board.
  • 7. Leaders listen as they know they don’t have all the answer. They don’t accept mediocre ideas from their subordinate rather they demand imagination, innovation and vision.
  • 8. Leaders are team players and exist not to serve themselves.
  • 9. Leaders have faith: they have a belief that if the work that needs to get done is completed, their goals will be met.
  • 10. Leaders are self-confident: they are able to dispute self-doubt in a manner that leads to action rather than capitulation.

Leadership in Education:

Educational leadership is most often associated with the role of the school administration team, however, leadership roles can be enacted by all stakeholders within the school community, including the student population (Levin, 1998; Wallin, 2003). Student leadership enhancement involves giving students opportunities to practise a range of leadership skills in a supportive, learning and social environment where ‘successes’ and ‘errors’ are processed and reviewed (Bisland, 2004). Leadership is a behaviour that involves working with others and on tasks. This is based on the perspective that a leader is a person who is able to communicate well, engage in critical thinking, lead groups in problem-solving and planning, and able to structure goals and objectives for the group (Feldhausen & Pleiss, 1994). To some extent, many students will have the experience of having a leadership role in their daily lives through interactions with families, peers, and community organizations.

Positive student leadership opportunities and experiences at school facilitate young adults’ transition into the community and into the world of work and adult responsibility. This is because leadership is considered to be a part of life long learning and a multidimensional construct involving skills, attitudes, knowledge, experiences, and processes (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001; Drago-Severson, 2004). Similar to self-concept formation, an individual’s leadership formation can be inferred and developed with feedback form significant others and from self – reviews (Hay, 2000). Leadership is both an outcome of an action on behaviour, but the major influence on leadership is from personal experiences and self-evaluations. Both of these are used by individuals to achieve new levels of personal leadership (Boccia & Ackerman, 1997; Feldhausen & Pleiss, 1994).

Leadership Qualities of the Teachers:

Teachers have various levels of school leadership qualities. Some are learned and some are part of their personality. Great teachers possess a combination of leadership qualities that are respected by the students, parents, peers and the community. They can accomplish important tasks because of this connection they have with their profession and the people they touch through it.


Commitment to the Students and Educators:

When one talks about a person’s commitment to teaching, they are speaking of a deep connection with many people throughout the organization. They are dedicated to providing each student with the best possible environment and tools for learning. They work with the parents to understand what challenges the students may have to learn and what approaches might work best with them individually. They engage their coworkers for input on how to structure their lesson plans and teaching style to be the best educator. They will also be involved with the institution to create the highest quality educational opportunities for the students attending. A few areas in which a teacher can get involved include:committees to determine the optimum amount of time students should spend in different subjects ❖ student teacher mentoring programs to orient and coach new teachers ❖ projects to review and recommend new approaches to homework I.3.m. Passionate about Teaching and Learning As a leader, teachers are always

  • committees to determine the optimum amount of time students should spend in different subjects,
  • student teacher mentoring programs to orient and coach new teacher,
  • projects to review and recommend new approaches to homework

Passionate about Teaching and Learning:

As a leader, teachers are always practising their art and learning how to improve their techniques. They listen in class for opportunities to teach. One student’s question can drive an entire lesson plan from which all students will benefit. Teachers are not looking for short answers. They look for explanations that present several concepts and perspectives to the students. These teachers watch their peers and learn from their teaching styles. They ask to be observed and for feedback on how to reach the students in their classroom. They are open to suggestions and to trying new things. They know how to quickly adjust their style. They will be involved in activities that improve teaching within the organization:

  • lead a group to review and comment on the adopted approaches to teaching various topics
  • deliver presentations to student teachers on best practices within the classroom
  • research alternative classroom assessment methods and present to the administration

Original Reference Article:

  • Kolangi, A. (2014). National integration values, leadership traits and social responsibilities among the prospective teachers in ariyalur district. V O Chidambaram College of Education, India. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10603/38596

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