Concepts of Leadership and Learning   Leave a comment

One issue that was reinforced had been the need for leadership to change within the educational system as Caldwell described, “However, while there was a progression towards advanced leadership opportunities for individuals within the current study, the experiences of these leaders still took place within the broader context of disability oppression. In other words, advanced leadership opportunities within the US are an ongoing struggle, where there were often few opportunities available, tenuous positions and inadequate supports” (1011).  It is important to note that the role of leaders within this environment has changed throughout time and therefore crucial for leaders to begin looking outside the box in order to prepare young leaders. Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin reinforced this concept by asserting, “Since the current literature firmly supports the need for a change in leadership in order to adequately meet the needs of current educational institutions (Bolman & Deal, 2002; Day, Harris, & Hadfield, 2001; Kouzes & Posner, 2003), the need to examine a new leadership model is essential” (30).

The job of a leader is to care about their followers. Ethical behavior is reported by Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin, “The necessity for a change in leadership is further warranted based on the need for an “ethic of caring” (Grogan, 2003, p. 25). Consequently, Halpin (2003, p. 84) concluded, “Invitational leadership contributes to school effectiveness by the way in which it cares for and supports the efforts of others. Since Invitational leadership is comprehensive in nature, consisting of many positive and essentially sound educational components (Day, Harris & Hadfield, 2001; Purkey & Siegel, 2003; Stillion & Siegel, 2005), it may well serve as a model of leadership that will positively impact the diverse and changing needs of today’s educational organizations” (30). Also, it increases social capital as Terroin commented concluded that because a management leadership program provided opportunity for informal interaction and the development of relationships that foster learning, it did indeed help build SC.” (Van de Valk and , 83). This leadership is incorporated and supported by Huizing, “Throughout church history, various underlying presuppositions of the Sermon on the Mount have led to four distinct perspectives on the sermon’s relationship to discipleship: (a) commands to be followed in order to do God’s will, (b) what doing God’s will results in, (c) a best-case  perspective that no follower can be expected to fully enjoy, or (d) examples of ethical behaviour to open the eyes of disciples to right living. All our views can be held in tension with each other rather than trying to identify the one best view” (335).

It has been affirmed that a leader needs to communicate clearly and act effectively in order to reduce any anxieties a follower may have while reinforcing their vision. According to Nielson et al., “Significant correlations have been found between transformational leadership and psychosocial work dimensions of well-being, meaningful work, role clarity, skills development opportunities influence and involvement (Malloy and Penprase, 2010, 717).  Clarity is a combination of trust, intention and authenticity which intertwine to guide a follower creating a positive culture. According to Siegel, “Stillion and Siegel (2005, p. 15) defined intention as “knowing what we intend to bring about as well as how we intend it to happen gives clarity and direction to our work.” (Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin, 2010, 31). Furthermore, Krause remarked, “Once a safety culture is defined, it must be understood by those within an organization Words used to define a safety culture must be understood by everyone so that management and employees can communicate clearly about what the safety culture means and what activities may take place to initiate or grow that culture. (Dunlap,2011, 44).

A leader who shares responsibility is creating a positive environment. Dove and Freeley commented, “Principals as facilitators foster innovation by working collaboratively with other school leaders, faculty, and staff to develop learning communities, which confer, oversee, and support the change process. In a study that examined the effectiveness of principals in promoting change, Cruz (2009) noted that when a principal collaborates and shares authority, school members have an increased interest in and responsibility for obtaining mutually agreed-upon objectives” (26). Is it possible that a leader who shares authority the more influence they will have over the followers? Dunlap reported that, “Geller (2000) approaches employee involvement from a behavioral perspective by communicating the need to give workers control over their environment. By giving employees control over certain things that affect their work, their behavior will change to accommodate the freedom provided. Rather than employees reporting to work and having each aspect of their work planned for them, employees should be given choices and control in matters of workplace safety. This will result in true engagement instead of automated responses to the environment” (43). The concept was challenged by Thompson, Thach, and Morelli, “This may be of particular relevance to school contexts: while distributed leadership implies that students should be included in the decision-making process, efforts to elicit student voice may backfire if they discover that, having been given responsibility and having taken pains to gather opinions and form plans, they have no real authority to institute changes” (420).

Is a follower supposed to replicate a leader? Two articles challenged this question. According to Huizing, “Irrespective of these differences, the Anabaptist tradition sought to emphasize an imitation of Christ that was of such a nature that to look at the believer was to look at an incarnation of the work and ministry of Christ himself. (339). Although, Grint commented, “…by the time any of these lists of character traits is complete the only plausible owner of such a skill base is ‘god’ and it is therefore usually impossible to name any leaders who have all these traits and thus we are left in the paradoxical position of thinking we need omniscient leaders when they do not actually exist” (Medina, 2011, 72).

Good leadership skills can be learned as their experiences are applied. Medina challenges whether leadership can be taught, “Furthermore, as Doh reminds us “even if we can learn to lead that does not mean that leadership can be taught: it is possible that the process of learning is simply too complex, unconscious or non–replicable to teach” (74). Whereas, Caldwell explained, “Leaders learned many skills from the movement, such as networking, developing bylaws, forming and organizing a non-profit board, conducting meetings, and collaborating with other organizations. Involvement also helped leaders develop skills and comfort in public speaking…” (1009).

In conclusion, the readings in this section reinforced and challenged the concepts of leadership from the readings in M01D1. Once again it comes down to one thing perspective of leadership.

hand_rightWorks cited

Burns, Gwen, and Barbara N. Martin. “Examination Of The Effectiveness Of Male And Female Educational Leaders Who Made Use Of The Invitational Leadership Style Of Leadership.” Journal Of Invitational Theory & Practice 16. (2010): 29-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 29 Sept. 2012.

Caldwell, J. “Leadership Development Of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities In The Self-Advocacy Movement.” Journal Of Intellectual Disability Research 54.11 (2010): 1004-1014. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Dove, Maria G., and Mary Ellen Freeley. “The Effects Of Leadership On Innovative Program Implementation.” Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin 77.3 (2011): 25-32. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Dunlap, 2011. “Safety Leadership.” Professional Safety 56.9 (2011): 42-49. Academic Search Complete. Web.  16 Sept. 2012.

Huizing, Russell L. “Leaders From Disciples: The Church’s Contribution To Leadership Development.” Evangelical Review Of Theology 35.4 (2011): 333-344. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Malloy, Terry, and Barbara Penprase. “Nursing Leadership Style And Psychosocial Work Environment.” Journal Of Nursing Management 18.6 (2010): 715-725. Academic Search Complete. Web. 16 Sept. 2012.

Medina, Marc. “Leadership And The Process Of Becoming.” Existential Analysis: Journal Of The Society For Existential Analysis 22.1 (2011): 70-82. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 Sept. 2012.

Thompson, Karen J., Elizabeth C. Thach, and Melissa Morelli. “Implementing Ethical Leadership: Current Challenges And Solutions.” Insights To A Changing World Journal 4 (2010): 107-130. Academic Search Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.

Van De Valk, Lawrence J., and Mark A. Constas. “A Methodological Review Of Research On Leadership Development And Social Capital: Is There A Cause And Effect Relationship?.” Adult Education Quarterly 61.1 (2011): 73-90. Education Research Complete. Web. 1 Oct. 2012.



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