Chapter 13 Leadership in Schools

Chapter 13
Leadership in Schools
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Leadership Defined
• Bennis (1989): like beauty, (or pornography), leadership is
hard to define, but you know it when you see it
• Chemers (1997:1): “…a process of social influence in which
one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in
the accomplishment of a common task”
• Most definitions agree that leadership involves a social
influence process; beyond that, scholars dispute the meaning
of leadership.
• We define leadership broadly as a social process in which an
individual or a group influences behavior toward a shared
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Life as a School Administrator
• Structured observation studies reveal similar
characteristics of administrative jobs across countries
and organizational settings:
– School administrators work long hours at a physically
exhausting pace
– School leaders rely on verbal media, and spend much time
walking through the building and talking to individuals and
– Administration requires the ability to change gears and
tasks frequently
– Span of concentration for school administrators is short—
the job is fragmented and discontinuity is prevalent
• How does this leave room for leadership? Look to
theoretical approaches of leadership for answers.
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Trait Approach to Leadership
• Trait approach to leadership: Key leadership traits are
• Aristotle thought individuals were born with the qualities that
would make them good leaders
• Bass (1990) chronicles historical approaches to leadership
qualities in the US. and underscores Stogdill’s major review of
the leadership research.
• Stogdill’s meta-analysis casts dim view on pure trait research:
impact of traits varies widely from situation to situation, so a
person does not become a leader based on the possession of
traits alone
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
• There are some traits and skills associated with effective leadership, which
can be broken into three groups: Personality, Motivation, and Skills
Personality: relatively stable dispositions to behave in a
particular way--four are of particular note:
– Self-confident leaders: more likely to set high goals and persist
– Stress-tolerant leaders: make good decisions, stay calm, provide decisive
directions under stress
– Emotionally mature leaders: have accurate awareness of strengths and
weaknesses, are oriented toward self-improvement
– Leaders with integrity: behaviors are consistent with stated values—these
leaders are seen as honest, ethical, responsible, and trustworthy
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Motivational Traits
• Motivation: set of energetic forces from both within and beyond an
individual to initiate work-related behavior and determine its form,
direction, intensity, and duration
• Four motivational traits are key for effective leaders:
– Task and interpersonal needs: effective leaders have drive for the task and
concern for people
– Power needs: effective leaders seek positions of authority and are comfortable
exercising influence over others
– Achievement orientation: effective leaders have a desire to excel, a drive to
succeed, willingness to assume responsibility
– High expectations for success: effective leaders believe they can do the job
and will receive valued outcomes for their efforts
• Physical traits, such as energy and activity, allow individuals to show their
competence through active engagement
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• Yukl (2002) and Northouse (2004) note three important
categories of skills for effective leadership
– Technical Skills: specialized knowledge about a specific
type of work, activity, procedure, or technique
– Interpersonal Skills: understanding of feelings and
attitudes of others, knowing how to work with people in
individual and cooperative work relationships
– Conceptual Skills: ability to conceptualize, think logically,
reason analytically, deductively and inductively
• Effective leaders need all three sets of skills.
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Situational Approach to Leadership
• Response to trait approach: Researchers tried to identify setting
characteristics that influenced leader success
• Possible situational determinants of leadership:
– Structural properties of organization—size, hierarchy, formalization,
– Role characteristics—type and difficulty of task, rules, content, performance
expectations, power
– Subordinate characteristics—education, age, knowledge, experience,
tolerance for ambiguity, responsibility, power
– Internal environment—climate, culture, openness, participation levels, group
atmosphere, values, norms
– External environment—complexity, stability, uncertainty, resource
dependency, institutionalization
It is clear that both the situation and traits are important in effective
leadership; it is not one or the other. Both are needed.
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Leader Behavior
• Early conceptualizations of leadership relied on two
categories of leader behavior:
– Emphasis on people, interpersonal relations, groups
– Emphasis on production, task completion, and goals
• Ohio State leadership studies
– LBDQ (leader behavior description questionnaire) studies
at OSU in 1940’s measure two dimensions of leader
• Initiating structure: delineates relationship between leader and
subordinates, establishes defined patterns of organization,
procedures, channels of communication.
• Consideration: indicates friendship, trust, warmth, interest, and
respect in the relationship between the leader and members of
the work group
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Major findings of OSU studies
• Four major findings of LBDQ studies (Halpin, 1966)
– Initiating structure and consideration are fundamental
dimensions of leader behavior
– Effective leaders exhibit frequent behaviors on both dimensions
– Superiors and subordinates attribute success to behaviors in
opposite dimensions: superiors tend to credit initiating structure
behaviors; subordinates tend to credit consideration behaviors
– Weak relationship between leaders’ expressed beliefs on how
they should behave, and subordinates’ descriptions of how
leaders do behave; Knowing how to behave and behaving that
way are two different events.
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Recent Perspectives on Leader Behavior
• Same style of leader behavior is not optimal across all
situations: The appropriate style depends on the situation.
• Yukl (2002) proposes three basic dimension to leadership:
– Task-oriented behaviors: clarifying roles, planning and
organizing operations, monitoring organizational functions
– Relations-oriented behaviors: supporting, developing,
recognizing, consulting, and managing conflict
– Change-oriented behaviors: scanning and interpreting
external events, articulating an attractive vision, proposing
innovative programs, appealing for change, creating a
coalition to support and implement changes
• Leaders typically engage in all three types of behavior
• The particular situation plays an important role in determining
best mix.
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Leadership Effectiveness
• Both objective and subjective dimensions are
used to assess leadership effectiveness
– Accomplishment of organizational goals ,e.g.
student achievement (objective)
– Self-assessments(subjective)
– Reputation (subjective)
– Perceptual evaluations by significant reference
groups (subjective)
– Overall job satisfaction of subordinates
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Contingency Models of Leadership
• Contingency theory postulates that effectiveness of the leader
is contingent upon the appropriate match of the leadership
traits and skills with the situation.
• Some examples of Contingency Models:
– Instructional Leadership
– Fielder’s Contingency Model of Leadership
– Substitutes for Leadership
– Distributed Leadership
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W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Instructional Leadership: Alig & Hoy
• The effectiveness of the principal’s instructional leadership is
contingent upon a climate of academic emphasis.
• Instructional Leadership Model postulates that effective
instructional leaders perform three functions:
• Define and communicate goals
• Monitor and provide constructive feedback on teaching
• Promote and emphasize professional development.
• However, such leadership will not lead to high student
achievement (effectiveness) unless there is also a climate,
which emphasizes academic success.
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W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Fiedler’s Contingency Theory
• Fiedler (1967): First major theory to propose specific
contingency relationships
• Situational control: power and influence leaders have to
implement plans, decisions, and strategies is the situational
– Determined by three factors:
• Position power
• Task structure
• Leader-member relations
• Effectiveness: extent to which group accomplishes primary
• Leadership Style: Task-oriented or Relations-oriented
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Fiedler’s Three Propositions
1. In high-control situations, task-oriented leaders are more effective than
relationship-oriented leaders
2. In moderate-control situations, relationship-oriented leaders are more
effective than task-oriented leaders
3. In low-control situations, task-oriented leaders are more effective than
relationship-oriented leaders
• Model tested rigorously, with mixed, but mainly supportive results
• Criticisms:
– LPC has been a moving target: first measured emotional reaction to difficult
subordinates, then relationship orientation, then the leader’s motivational
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Substitutes for Leadership Model
• Kerr and Jermier (1977) question basic assumption that formal leadership
is necessary; their model is their alternative
– Substitutes: situational elements that replace or reduce a leader’s
ability to influence attitudes, perceptions, or behaviors of followers
– Neutralizers: situational factors that prevent leader from acting in a
particular way or that nullify effect of leader’s actions
• Three categories of situational variables have these influences:
– Characteristics of subordinates: abilities, training, experience, and
knowledge, professional orientation, and indifference toward rewards
– Task characteristics: structured routine tasks, intrinsically satisfying
tasks, and feedback
– Organizational characteristics: formalization of roles and procedures,
flexibility of rules and policies, work group cohesiveness, spatial
distance between administrator and followers
Leadership behavior and effective performance is moderated by
subordinate, task, and organizational characteristics.
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Distributed leadership
• Distributed leadership models challenge the assumption that
one person has to be in charge to make change happen; in
this model leadership is an organizational quality.
• Distributed leadership embraces leadership by teams and
• Spillane et al (2001, 2003):Define leadership around the
technical core-- “the identification, acquisition, allocation,
coordination, and use of social, material, cultural resources
necessary to establish the conditions for…teaching and
The distribution and quality of leadership vary
across a variety of situational factors; hence
effective distributed leadership depends upon
matching leadership teams with the appropriate
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Transformational Leadership
• Pioneers: Burns (1978), Bass (1985): Three main types of leadership
• Laissez-Faire leadership: absence of transactions with followers. These
leaders avoid expressing views or taking action, avoid or delay decisions,
ignore responsibility, provide little feedback. Most passive, least effective
of three types.
• Transactional leadership: motivate followers by exchanging rewards for
services. Leaders identify what followers want and try to provide it as
reward for effort. Respond to followers’ immediate self-interest.
Exchanges are economic: pursued on basis of cost-benefit.
– Contingent reward leadership: leader behaviors focus on role and task
requirements; provide rewards contingent on performance.
– Active management-by-exception: leaders maintain high levels of
vigilance to ensure standards are met; take corrective action quickly.
– Passive management-by-exception: leaders fail to intervene until
problems are serious.
• Transformational leadership: leadership is expanded to go beyond simple
exchanges and agreement.
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Transformational Leadership
Transformational leadership posits four main
dimensions (the 4 I’s):
• Idealized Influence
• Inspirational motivation
• Intellectual motivation
• Individualized consideration
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Idealized Influence
• Idealized influence: builds trust, respect in followers, thus
forming basis for acceptance of big changes.
• Leaders display conviction and high standards of conduct,
share risks, consider needs of others first, and never use
power for personal gain. Followers admire and trust leader
and thus buy into mission, even if it requires radical changes
in the organization.
• Attributed idealized influence: followers perceive leader as
being charismatic, confident, powerful, and focused on
higher-order ideals.
• Idealized influence as behavior: charismatic actions of leaders
that focus on values, beliefs, and sense of mission
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Inspirational Motivation
• Inspirational motivation: changes expectations of
group members: problems CAN be solved
• Develops appealing vision to guide development of
organizational goals and operating procedures
• Leader behaviors provide meaning, challenge for
Project attractive and optimistic future
Emphasize ambitious goals
Create idealized visions for organizations
Clearly communicate that vision is obtainable
Results: team spirit, enthusiasm, optimism, goal
commitment, shared vision within the work group
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Intellectual Stimulation
• Intellectual stimulation: encourage followers’
creativity—question old assumptions, traditions
and beliefs, reframe problems
– Encourage followers to design new procedures and
programs and solve problems
– Encourage unlearning—eliminate fixation on “way
we’ve always done it”
– Insist on constant open examination of procedures,
receptivity to change
– Nothing is sacred: any procedure, policy, or operation
can be contested on the merits
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Individualized Consideration
Individualized consideration: leaders pay particular attention
to each individual’s needs for growth and achievement
– Leaders act as mentors—help followers and colleagues develop
potential and take responsibility for own development
– Create new learning opportunities in supportive climate
– Recognize and accept individual differences in needs and values
– Use two-way communication, and interact personally with
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Research findings
• Research on transformational leadership clarifies three
– Idealized influence and inspirational leadership most satisfying and effective (Avolio,
1999; Bass, 1990)
– Transformational leaders receive higher ratings, are perceived to lead more effective
organizations, and have subordinates that exert greater effort than transactional leaders
(Yukl, 1998; Bass, 1998)
– Transformational leadership in schools directly influences teacher perceptions of student
goal achievement and student grades (Leithwood, 1994)
• Influences three psychological characteristics of staff:
perception of school characteristics, commitment to change,
and organizational learning
• Depends upon attending to all four “I’s”, with individualized
consideration as a base
• Support for Leithwood’s claims from other studies: Silins
(1992), Marks & Printy (2003)
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Servant Leadership
Servant leadership is behavior that nurtures individual
development in the organization through listening, empathy,
stewardship, and an awareness to develop followers who think
ethically and foster sound interpersonal relations with their
• The servant leader attends to individual growth, to realizing
the organization’s goals, and to the ethical and moral effects on
the broader community
• Servant leadership inverts the power pyramid to show the
relative placement of leaders: The leader supports the
organization and the responsibility for action is dispersed
across the organization.
• Servant leadership stands on “seven pillars:” personal
character, people first, skilled communication, compassionate
collaboration, foresight, systems thinking, and moral authority
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Evolutionary Leadership Theory (ELT)
• The basic premise ELT is that leadership and followership emerged during the
course of human evolution.
• Leadership and followership are psychological adaptations that have been sculpted
into our brain; they are instinctive and universal and have become the natural
order of things. We are programmed to live in groups, to be led, and to be obedient
most of the time.
• ELT also postulates the particular traits associated with initiative taking and
intelligence are largely inherited and propel people to power positions.
• Leadership has three important functions: it binds groups; it helps the group learn
new things; and it teaches others how to lead.
• We have evolved to follow authority and we have developed an innate “follow the
majority rule;” in fact, the desire to conform overwhelms the desire to be correct.
• The instincts of reciprocity, fairness, and hierarchy are hard wired into our psyches.
• ELT emphasizes followers as a vital component of leadership. Increasingly leaders
need to learn how to shift their pattern of leadership as they as they interact with
followers up the ladder of commitment from subordinates to supporters to loyalists
to apprentices to disciples.
• Leaders need to be a source of inspiration for disciples, a teacher for apprentices, a
defender for loyalists, a figurehead for supporters, and a provider for subordinates.
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011
Practical Imperatives
Know your leadership style and be flexible: There is no one best style.
Match your leadership style to the situation: Effectiveness depends on
the appropriate matching.
“Mission first, people always:” Task achievement and supportive social
relations are essential for success.
Strive to be broadly effective: Your reputation, subordinate satisfaction,
and goal achievement are all important aspects of effectiveness.
Be both an instructional and organizational leader: Effective instructional
leadership depends on a school climate of academic emphasis.
Delegate and distribute leadership widely: Expertise drives success.
Be inspirational, intellectual, idealistic, and tailor you leadership to your
subordinates: Transformative change requires it.
Lead by serving: Servant leadership creates moral authority.
Make informality a virtue: Formal structures often interfere with
authentic action.
Be just: Favoritism and nepotism erode fairness.
Avoid the Dark Triad: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and a Psychopathy.
W. K. Hoy © 2003, 2008, 2011