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How to Improve Leadership in Schools Management

Introduction to the problem

This article tries to explain the causes of mismanagement in organizations and schools. It tries to explain some of the theories of governance that are pertinent to be used for effective management of schools and organizations. It also investigates in depth, one of the theories that could be used in management of the school in case study “Demetrio Secondary School”. The last part of the article tries to explain the step by step implementation of one of the techniques of leadership in the improvement of the school performance.

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The article is composed of the introductory part to the problems facing the organization. The second part of the article makes a brief review into some of the techniques of leadership that are applicable in the improvement of the relations between a leader and his disciples. One of the styles of leadership is scrutinized and a conclusion is made on the recommended artistry of supervision to be used for improvement of the school. The last part of the report is composed of the courses of action to be taken in the improvement of Demetreio Secondary school.

Demetrio secondary school has been managed for ten years by Chris Michael as the principal. Since he had believed in hierarchical form of leadership, the school has not been run flat. He had believed that the primary decision maker is him and his two assistants. As a result there have been fears among the staff in taking certain actions on his affairs of the school. As an example, teachers cannot engage in certain projects because they fear the act the principal would take if their projects did not succeed. The teachers are also hesitant to enjoy their stay at school as can be seen that they can only take tea under the consent of the principal. The consequence is that there have been several quarrels among students and teachers as well as with the parents. The parents are not satisfied with the way their children are managed. The level of academic performance is unsatisfactory and there is a lack of communication between teachers and students.

Most Important Leadership theories

Bernard Bass states that Some of the most prominent leadership theories in existence include distributed leadership theory, transformational leadership theory, Hersy & Blanchard’s Situational Theory, Four leadership frames (Bolman & Deal) and Instructional Leadership, this Article tries to give a brief description of each of the above leadership theories (242).

Distributed Leadership

In Distributed leadership, leaders take certain routines and structures that will transform the organization’s culture, resulting in teacher contentment, higher teacher prospects for students and enhanced students’ performance. In this leadership style, multiple leaders are involved. It focuses on more than what people do, how they do it and the reason of doing it.

The major aspect of distributed leadership is that the Leadership practice is present in centers stage. It involves interactions between people and their leaders, followers and situations. Hence several individual are responsible for the running of an organization. It views leadership as a consequence of interactions between leaders, followers and their situation rather than as a product of one’s knowledge and expertise (Bass). Another distinction of distributed leadership is that it involves people and practice; hence it does not only install actions of individuals but also interactions between them that are indispensable in leadership activities. Here it is assumed that responsibility can involve multiple leaders, not just principals, who work in a coordinated way in certain situations and differently in other situations. Ronald Jackson advocates that this leadership style also involve overlap of activities: in which the actions of the principal may sometimes overlap with the actions of the teachers while in certain situations there may be no overlap (29). It also involves the actions of the followers who provide information about specific teaching method that sometimes is applied by leaders in improving literacy instruction.

Robert Birnbaum concludes that other consequence of distributed leadership is that it involves people, role and application (204). This incorporates interaction with others as well as with situations such as tools and structures. Tools that can be used may include student data and protocols applied in examining teachers.

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Transformational Leadership

This is a leadership style that brings about change in personal and social components. It brings about positive change in the circle with the main purpose of imposing leadership responsibilities to the followers. When implemented fully, transformational leadership will promotes motivation, morale and performance of staff at a wide range of mechanisms. Timothy Judge and Raphael Piccolo Claims that Such actions motivate and convey a feeling of belonging to the followers hence they work towards achieving the organizational goals (201). The leader has to play the role of being a role model so that then subordinate may have the challenge and therefore assume greater responsibilities for what they are doing, this will help leader with the apprehension of establishing the strengths and weaknesses of their followers. Consequently, the leader becomes capable of allocating tasks as per the follower’s abilities for proper execution of duties.

The distinctions of transformational leadership are varied. One of them is that it includes intellectual stimulation. Celia Whitchurch remarks that as a result of this long held status quo is broken and creativity amongst the leaders is enhanced for effective delivery of services in the sense of innovativeness (60). It also encourages individualized consideration. This involves provision of inspiration and support to the followers. It also involves keeping communication open so that followers are able to share information and experiences that can contribute to recognition of each follower’s personal contribution. This leadership style also offers inspirational motivation. This involves articulation of the vision of the leader to the followers. It involves encouraging the followers to experience the same passion and encouragement to achieve these goals. Another distinction of transformational leadership is that it promotes idealized influence by the leaders. They serve as role models to their followers. The followers will automatically emulate the leaders ideals build on trust and respect they grant the leader.

Hersy & Blanchard’s situational Theory

In this theory, it is claimed that managers must use different leadership techniques depending on the situation. The technique enables the leader to examine the conditions of the circumstances in which one is involved. The leadership is expected to be variable based on the competency of employees on the tasks assigned to them for accomplishment. The applicable on one employee successfully cannot be assumed to be applicable to all employees. Each follower is unique and must be treated independently. The leadership styles are classified to S1 to S4 depending on the amount of duty and Relationship behavior (Leithwood 96)

  1. S1: telling- this is where the leader tells the individual what to be done by correspondence and provides what to be done, when it should be done and place of the task.
  2. S2: Selling-involves two-way communication and presentation of socio-emotional support that allows the person being directed to apprehend the process.
  3. S3: Participating- This involves shared decision-making about how the task is achieved and the leader is less contributing while maintaining high connection behavior with the follower.
  4. S4: Delegation of responsibility- the leader remains with the responsibility to make decisions and any examination is upon him. The leader has to monitor all the allocated tasks to ensure that they are accomplished perfectly. The particular leadership style to be used is a factor of the level of sophistication of the follower. These levels vary from M1 to M4
  5. M1:- Here, the follower has little or no skills for the task and are reluctant to take responsibility for the task.
  6. M2: the followers have the willingness to work but are not subject to any responsibility of the tasks assigned to them.
  7. M3:- the followers are not devoted to take any responsibility of the assigned tasks but they have experiences and are capable of working.
  8. M4: The follower’s posses the relevant experiences are willing to work and are motivated. They are also capable of taking responsibility of what they are undertaking.

Four Leadership Frames (Bolman & Deal)

Bolman and Deal’s Four Framework is made up of:

  1. Structural Framework-A leader is assumed to be a social expert whose style of leadership is analyzing and designing – focusing on structure, objectives, surrounding, implementation and experimentation not neglecting adaptation.
  2. The HR framework- they inspire followers and reward the empowerment of talents. They empower and enhance participation, support, sharing of information and move to decision arrival in the organization.
  3. Political Framework- champion responsible for coalition building- specifying what is needed and what can be got. They make analysis of how power is distributed and interests. They link the organization to other to other stakeholder. They persuade first, then negotiate and finally coerce if the situation allows.
  4. Symbolic Framework- A leader is inspiring, viewing the organization as a stage or theatre where particular roles are played to give particular impressions. They attract attention using symbols and shape experience by giving concrete experiences and interpretations of experiences. They foresee a vision and communicate it to the followers.

The Instructional Leadership

This kind of leadership is associated giving the initial priority to learning and teaching, practicing the scientific oriented research reading and understanding them and alignment of curriculum with instructions and goals of the standard requirements. It also involves analysis of data to enable principal’s guide and wristwatch the instructional orientation of teachers and developing a tradition of increased development for teachers and outstanding company.

Colleges and universities represent well formats of instructional leadership. Others are trainings in a five day centers and online courses. There are a variety of topics but the data-oriented decision making, curriculum and informative assignment, guidance and professional amplification, management of the association and Community Corporation and communication.

Study show that principals and teachers who received instructional leadership training created a more improved academic performance among their students.

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Examination of one of the leadership styles (Distributed leadership)

This is the leadership where the responsibilities of a leader are assumed to be placed upon everyone in the school. It is closely connected with how people with their situations, tools and structures. The leadership style involves both the top management and the low management staff members.

It also equates leadership with position in which the person is holding it thus involves multiple leaders, some with awhile others without recognizable leadership positions. Followers also form part of the leadership practice. Also, interaction among the people is what constitutes leadership rather than their actions. There are different ways in which responsibilities are distributed. This involves coordination among principals and Co principals and sometimes working parallel. Responsibility is distributed to a number of people.

Leadership can be delegated to two or more people who work in separate locations yet they need each other. In schools where this leadership style is applied, the principal makes biennial visits to examine a teacher’s practice. Together with the assistant principal, they develop a detailed procedure for examining and evaluating teaching practice. The associate principal builds an excellent relationship with the teachers and takes his/her frequent calls to the classrooms and reporting factual information to teachers. The principal make the final evaluation by making biennial visits to the classrooms. Through official and informal meetings, he and the assistant principal sum up their findings to develop a perception of teachers’ practices. Through this relationship, the two superiors divide actions and interact to define a collective responsibility for monitoring and evaluating training.

Occasionally, separate leadership is distributed over the actions of two or more leaders and has to be carried out in a specific order. The core fundamentals of leadership routines are the interdependence tasks in a sequence. For instance, the school will organize a five weeks of assessing the leadership practices and how they can be widened with time. It involves a seven-stage order.

  1. The literacy coordinator carries out an evaluation and instruction to students.
  2. Teachers implement the assessment
  3. The literacy coordinator and the assistant evaluate and do analysis of the results.
  4. Through the information gathered the principal and coordinator convene a meeting to discuss the assessment results of the gathered information and observations.
  5. The literacy coordinator analyses the assessment information and then compiles the equipment and ways of needed to address these problems.
  6. The planner then makes the report to the committee meetings after receiving it from the coordinator.
  7. After making the report, the principal, literacy coordinator, and teachers absorb and make an interpretation of the results and determine the ways in which the issues can be addressed.

In this type of leadership, leaders interact with each other. Tools are composed of the student evaluation data as well as procedures for evaluating teachers. The Structures engross processes such as grade-level conferences and the organization of teachers’ prep times. These routines, tools and structures determine leadership technique of leadership. The situation both allows and hinders leadership practice.

Aspects of situation determine and are determined by leadership practice in interaction with the principals and teachers. People take actions through Structures, tools and routines in their daily cores. It is vital to make a distinction between ostensive and per formative parts of managerial routines.

Ostensive implies routine by rule while per formative aspect implies routines in particular places at specific times. The routine aspects in executing per formative tasks may include ostensive custom and even a five week appraisal and also reporting to the common committee meetings. The ostensive part involves practice. Kenneth Leithwood, Blair Mascall, and Tiiu Straus explain that its practice creates and recreates the ostensive part. Ostensive and per formative parts of routines can be used in aspects of situation, incorporating structures and tools.

For example, in the use of student data, in an effort to hold the students responsible for their achievement, the student assessment information tool contributes to a particular aspect in all schools by narrowing leadership on the performance of students.

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This type of leadership brings improvement and harmony between teachers and students as well as in the hierarchy of school management without causing misunderstanding. As a result, it is highly recommended for improvement of a school like Demetreio Secondary school where the principal had poor relations with the staff as well as with the students and staff. It encourages the coordination between the principal and the assistant principal. This is achieved when the principal and the principal makes biennial visits to the classrooms to supervise the learning process.

However, there are other techniques of leadership that can be implemented to bring reforms to the school in case study. The above leadership styles provide the best solutions to the problems of management of institutions facing managerial problems. Once in practice these leadership styles should be incorporated into schools, organizations and institutions by the succeeding authorities to maintain the status of the institution.

Action plan to improve leadership

This section of the article explains the procedure to be followed in the improvement of the situation at Demetreio secondary School. The aim of the plan is to enable teachers and the two assistant principals that the management of a school is based on collective responsibility rather than hierarchical kind of leadership. It also aims to show the benefits of assuming that everybody is a leader and leadership is not measured by what one can do but the interaction between him and the situation that is of importance. It explains the way the teachers can relate with the students to bring the best out of them. Montgomery Van Wart explains how the principal should relate with the teachers, when he should make a decision and when he should leave the responsibility of decision-making to the teachers (304). The article further explains the course of action that teachers should take in order to bring intimate relationship with the student thus contributing to better performance of students. The article also explains the way the students should be allowed to interact with the tools, structures and situations to improve their learning.

As it has been identified, the previous principal believed that he was the top leader and consequently the main decision maker in the school. He believed that the other members of staff could not make decisions concerning the leadership of the school. Stephen Robbins believes that leadership is measured by the skill and the ability to do something rather than the interaction with the situation (308). He also did not encourage teachers to associate with the parents. Consequently, there was a misunderstanding between the staff members and parent as well as with the students. He did not encourage the student to interact with their tools, structures and constraints of their situation. This contributed to lack of familiarity with the learning facilities which contributed to low academic performance of the school. He also restricted teacher from taking certain actions such as engaging in a project or taking tea without his permission. This resulted in fear among the teachers that contributed to lack of motivation to do their duties which resulted in low academic performance. Furthermore, he used ones, skills and ability to do something in evaluation of performance rather than the tools, structures and constraints. This resulted in lack of motivation among the teachers and student thus contributing to low academic performance.

The action plan that would be adopted to improve the leadership and performance of the school is distributive leadership (Yieldera, 202).

The report covers leadership as a resultant product of interaction with different situations as opposed to the individual’s skills and knowledge that is acquired in leadership arena. These are given the center stage in evaluating leadership of any level. Thus the new principal should measure the output of the teachers on the basis of how they interact with the situations at school such as students, their work plan and not their level of knowledge or skills in a particular field of knowledge. This will provide the accurate assessment of academic progress in school. Then leadership is not only interaction with situations only but also interaction with leaders and followers.

Hence the new principal should allow the student to interact with the teachers as well as with the parents. Practices such as; not allowing teachers to make certain decisions or taking some actions like; taking breakfast under his permission should be abolished. The teachers should also be allowed to interact with the parents to enable them know better how to handle the students.

The second course of action to be taken would be to allow every individual concerned with the affairs of the school to exercise leadership in their areas of involvement. Thus everybody should be considered a leader in his area of concern. This eliminates the belief that leadership is measured by the actions of the superhuman to the followers.

The next course of action would be to exercise leadership in terms of distribution of leadership in various ways such as occasional working in a coordinated manner and sometimes working parallel. Here, the principal would be doing the supervision of the learning process on his own by making occasional visits to classroom while sometimes together with his deputies. On the other hand, he would be required to consult the other teachers and members of staff in certain situations such as change of teaching timetable or cancellation of learning activities in certain times. This is achievable through discussion in a staff meeting the teachers would be allowed to take certain responsibilities on their own in certain circumstances while in other conditions; they would be required to consult each other, parents and the principal. Decisions such as engaging in a project would be made individually by a teacher but making certain decisions such as missing lessons would be done with the consultation of the principal or his deputies. The students also would be allowed to consult their teachers in various areas of difficulties while in certain situations like personal study timetable should be left to them to decide.

This technique also involves infarction with others. It would involve interaction with the tools, situations and routines. Routine is the protocol followed in evaluation of the work done by the coordinated group of people involved. For instance the deputy principal would be the first to making weekly visits to the classrooms while the principal would be making the visits at the end of every month. The information from these visits would then be used o evaluate the learning process in the school.

Tools of evaluation would be things like files and folders to determine how effective a teacher is teaching a particular subject. This would involve giving every teacher a folder where he keeps a record of one of his students’ work for every week. The principal would then be taking this folder and examining the contents of the work to assess the level of teaching of this teacher. The parents would also be allowed to evaluate how the learning process takes place by visiting the school and interviewing the students on the level of their satisfaction with the teaching process in school and the recommendations they would like to be implemented. Alma Harris claims that this would cause the parents to have confidence in the school and encourage their children to work hard (260).

The parents would also be allowed to follow a certain routine while evaluating the performance of the school. This would involve allowing teachers to do their part of teaching and handling the students. This would be followed by the deputy principals’ assessment of the student by making occasional examination of the students’ performances. This is followed by the principal’s examination of the students’ performances and the recommendations of students for improvement of the learning process. This is followed by the parents’ visit to school and assessment of learning of their children. The information from the principal, deputy principal, teachers and parents are then shared during termly parents meeting with the teachers to determine the best course of action to be taken in the management of student performance.

The principle is restricted on making decisions and can only do that to an extent but leave other decision making to the teachers who can also make certain verdict on issues. For instance, when a student has not completed his assignment, the teacher should be allowed to make a decision on the kind of punishment he would prefer for the student. If the decision is too complicated, the student should be forwarded to the deputy principal to handle. Incase the deputy principal is unable to handle the case; the decision is made under the presence of the principal.

The teachers would also be allowed to engage in certain projects for the improvement of the school. These decisions should not be based on the viability of the project but rather on the willingness of the teacher to initiate it. The principal should only determine whether the teacher is able to obtain enough facilities to carry out the project and provide financial support if he is able (Kezar 60).

The students would be allowed to interact with their structures, tools and routines. The tools used by students include their learning materials such as books and stationery. The students are supposed to get access to education facilities but and handle them with care as they would stay on their custody during this time. The practical facilities such as school farm should be open to students who have a passion for farming to do practical work, while laboratories should be left accessible to students who have an interest in scientific work. Students who are passionate about the literary work should be allowed to use the libraries. These freedoms enable students to interact with the situations contributing to their familiarity with situations and challenges pertaining to academic performance and their areas of interest.

The routines that students should follow in their effort to utilize these facilities is preceded by obtaining the necessary permission from the relevant authorities. This would be followed by asking for assistance on how to use the facilities. This is followed by obtaining the facilities seeking guidance on how to use the facility. For instance, a student interested to use the library would be expected to ask the librarian the location of the book he is looking for. The student, who needs to use the laboratory, would be expected to consult the lab assistant on the required reagent required for carrying out an experiment. He would also be expected to know the safety regulations in the laboratory before starting to carry out the experiment.

Conclusion and recommendation

The school would be smoothly run and managed if distributive leadership is applied in the management of the affairs of the school. As can be seen, the highest cause of mismanagement in the school is the lack of distributive leadership. The former principal used the hierarchical form of leadership which contributed to unpleasant consequences. In distributed leadership, if a problem occurs, all the parties concerned are aware of the cause of the problem. Furthermore, it eliminates the excuse of blaming one party in case there is a problem. Jon F. Wergin says that there is also elimination of the belief that leadership is measured by the result of one’s knowledge and skills but by the level of his interaction with the situations in which they find themselves (123). The tools of evaluation provide the most accurate assessment of a teacher’s work rather than the ability of the teacher in a particular field.

This article, therefore recommends that distributive Leadership is the best for the reform of this school. The new principal is expected to apply this form of leadership if he is result oriented. He should allow teachers to make decisions in certain instances and make decisions in certain instances. Parents should also be involved in the running of the school by monitoring the way their children are taught.

Works Cited

Bass, Bernard, and Avolio, Bruce. Improving organizational effectiveness through transformational leadership. London: Sage, 2009.

Bass, Bernard, and Riggio Ronald E. Transformational leadership. Chicago: Rutledge. (2006).

Birnbaum, Robert. How colleges work: The cybernetics of academic organization and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1990.

Brent, Davies. The essentials of school leadership. London: SAGE, 2005.

Hacker, Stephen, and Roberts Tammy. Transformational leadership: creating organizations of meaning. Chicago: ASQ Quality Press, 2003.

Harris, Alma. Distributed Leadership: Different Perspectives volume 7 of studies in education leadership. New York: Langrage, 2000.

Jackson, Ronald. Transformational leadership theory: creative advance or theoretical desperation. Virginia: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1987.

Judge, Timothy, and Piccolo Raphael. Transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89, 755-768 (2004):42-46, 2000. Print.

Kezar, Adrianna, Carducci, Rozana, Contreras-McGavin Melissa. Rethinking the “L” word in higher education: The revolution of research on leadership. San Francisco: Wiley, 2006.

Leithwood, Kenneth, Mascall Blair, and Straus Tiiu. Distributed leadership according to the evidence. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2009.

Robbins, Stephen. Organizational behavior: global and Southern African perspectives. Cape Town: Pearson South Africa, 2009.

Van Wart, Montgomery. Dynamics of leadership in public service: theory and practice. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 2005.

Wergin, Jon F. (Ed.). Leadership in place: How academic professionals can find their leadership voice. Bolton, MA: Anker, 2007.

Whitchurch, Celia. Shifting identities and blurring boundaries: The emergence of “third space” professionals in UK higher education. Higher Education Quarterly, 62, 377-396, 2008.

Yieldera, Jill, and Codling, Andrew. Management and leadership in the contemporary university. Journal of Higher Education Policy & Management, 26, 315-328, 2004.

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