Leadership is a general aspect in the society
It is cultivated and practiced in all unit levels including the family, political, educational, and organizational units. Leadership is not a new concept in our modern world and its existence can be traced back from the time the first society of people was established. Leadership can be defined as the ability to bring different people to a common platform, forge strong bonds and relationships, and initiate good communication among then to drive them towards achieving common, values, goals and visions. Leadership is considered as a verb hence an action towards the service of others unlike the assumption some people may have that power is leadership. The concept of leadership is very fundamental in the influence and management of any kind of activities. A good leader leads people to the right pathways and led to the general success of any venture. More and more focus is shifting toward popularizing effective and skillful leadership. However, a few people who still misunderstand the development of leadership from an early childhood to raise responsible and skillful leaders (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2008).
It is in the light of the fact that we need to raise skillful young leaders. It underscores the need to emphasize on the role that schools play in shaping the young people. Education leadership is such an approach that is used to give the young people an opportunity to develop themselves in different fields of school learning. School leadership encourages the students to take leadership roles and this in turn provides them with an opportunity to develop their leadership skills easily. The ability to poses attributes of a good leader is key in ensuring that in future, one has the ability to work professionally with others and uphold good conduct in the work environment. The following essay takes an in-depth discussion on educational leadership and its influence of the next future leaders. We will also review a case study that involves a work situation regarding the challenges that a school leader may face and what actions should one take when faced with a conflict regarding an overstep of power at the workplace.
School Leaders and the Role They Play
School leaders are individuals that have various responsibilities and roles in an educational institution. In an education setting, the school leaders influence the students and manage the schools’ culture. In addition, they give direction to others and ensure that everyone is working towards the achievement of the school’s goals and targets. Schools are learning organizations where the relationship between all involved parties should be strengthen to build a well-organized community.
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More focus has been channeled towards improving the quality of educational institutions. It is because unlike previously witnessed more people are realizing the critical role that schools are playing to produce the next young leaders. Unlike the 20th century where there was less emphasis on the development of leadership skills in schools, the 21st century displays the emergence of skillful young leaders who inspire leadership and future succession. Currently, many schools acknowledge the great role of education leadership and play their role in developing and nurturing tomorrow’s future leaders. Moreover, early management of talent within the learning setting ensures that proper focus is given hence emergence of skillful leaders. The ability to ensure that school leaders nurture the young people does not only encourage great leadership but also registers high performance and quality education. Student leaders have the ability to influence the learners therefore when this avenue is maximized; the results are incredible (Mulford & Silins, 2011).
Elements of Leadership
Currently, the 21st century period is considered the international golden age of educational leadership. It is said so because in many schools have adequate knowledge and information regarding school leadership unlike in the previous decades. Educational researchers and reformers consensually agree that leadership is the key to the general success of a learning institution. In addition, research has displayed a solid empirical proof that school leadership is essential and the backbone of boosting the success of any institution. Already many governments are pouring in facilities and resources for the general development of new school leaders and the already existing ones. Many schools are under the pressure to initiate new leadership programs to be in line with the new set of emerging educational leaders (Mulford, 2008).
The new initiative to boost leadership in learning institutions has created a different working context for many school leaders who were used to a different old working context. School leaders are now faced with new challenges in the workplace but they still play a crucial role in school organizations. The choice of an educational leader on how to invest properly school time is very important. It is because the input of a single school leader can result to multiple outputs, therefore, it is fundamental that the efforts of the school leaders are yield positive influences to the learners.
In order to clearly understand the elements of school leadership well, there are three key elements interrelated that will be discussed. The three main elements are embedded into each other and one must carefully understand each of the elements to gain a clearer concept on school leadership. The elements can be discussed as follow: Under school context, school organization and school leader. The school context refers to the complex and challenging forces in schools and their implications. The school organization relates to the looking beyond bureaucracy and creating a community of professional learners. Lastly, the school leader element refers to the establishment of successful leaders, the process of recruiting and retaining school leaders.
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I have been participating in the admission office in a private university in China. In addition, I have this is my work situation: the employee (Tang) overstepped authority because of his close relationship with his boss. “Granxi” (relationships, the basic dynamic in personalized networks of influence) plays a significant role in workplace that threatens the fair procedures in Chinese society. Therefore, the other counselors were obedient simply because of their absolute low status, and they did not have such a close relationship with the board or the boss sort not to seek revenge or be diametrically opposed to Tang in order to ward off troubles. Last summer, the position of director of the admission office was vacant, I was told by the boss to assist in the admission office before we find the right person for the position. As soon as I started my work in the office, I recognized that Tang had already taken over the authority from the resigned director without authorization, and his overstepping actions became aggravated when he was eager to show off his management intelligence to me.
Challenge: How to deal with the overstepping boundaries behavior at workplace without threatening the ongoing relationship in the team?
Challenges of School Leadership
School leadership is not an easy task especially at a time when there is a conceptual shift from improving the quality of education to sustaining it. Building the challenges from the above-mentioned case study, it is evident that school leaders face several work-related problems at the workplace. One of the challenges facing most school leadership is the top-down style of leadership that is still in place in many educational institutions. This type of leadership style is conventional hence limiting the ability of any school leadership to be independent. Most of the head and senior management still view leadership as the ability to have power and control others. School leaders in lower positions are hence easily intimidated and may not provide educational leadership to the best of their ability. Secondly, work intensification is also a common challenge to many school leaders. The external pressures to perform especially under poor working conditions can be evenly overwhelming to the performance of student leaders. It is because most educational leaders are required perform under extreme working hours and with limited resources to aid them hence this leaders to low leadership performance and in turn leadership effectiveness is limited. Thirdly, school leaders are viewed as guiders to the learners and mentors to the young people. However, they lack control over their work. They are often given minimal powers to execute independently their mandate as leaders and this result to the inability to perform effectively as a leader since their hands are tied to say.
In addition, many school leaders are not lack proper motivation and work satisfaction. It is due to poor salaries and remunerations. As school leaders, they require good payments as a key to motivate them to work effectively. However, this is mostly not the case. School leaders are often sidelined and miss new opportunities to develop themselves professionally. A well-paid and supported school leadership team can foster good leadership in educational institutes as well as bring out a new and efficient outlook on how school leaders execute their roles in schools. Moreover, the decentralization of school management is not fully implemented, therefore, leaving school leaders out of the decision making process. Research shows that school leaders will indicate high performance only when they feel part of the institution. Leaving out teachers in decision-making processes only undermines their ability to be leaders and leads to low leadership morale.
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Nevertheless, school leaders have minimal career pathways to chose. It is due to poor school systems that limit the professional growth of school leaders. Educational institutions have a challenge to restructure their school systems to encourages more flexible and attractive opportunities for young student leaders. It is only when there is a wide variety of school roles, that educational leadership will fully be explored and the full benefits of educational leadership achieved (Mulford, 2003).
There are many other challenges of school leaderships depending on a person’s work environment and their leadership position. Concerning the previously mentioned case study, the challenge facing this student leader is lack of equality in the workplace. In some institutions, some school leaders are given preferential treatment due to certain relations they have with the top leaders. It is quite an unfair scenario because leadership should ensure that all school leaders are given their mandate to perform according to their different roles and positions.
Overstepping another person’s position is a barrier to the general performance of other team leaders. In such a case where a school leader is considered superior because of his/her relations with the top boss, other school leaders feel undermined and fail to speak out due to intimidation. Close relationships within educational leadership is a barrier to effective performance of school leaders. It brings forth conflicting interests and greed for power hence putting aside the intended interest of serving and leading the students. Overstepping of power also undermines the other person’s ability to individually perform independently. Furthermore, it also undermines the entire team setting of school leaders who may feel overwhelmed and out of place (Mulford, Kendall, Edmunds, Kendall, Ewington & Silins, 2007).
Challenge: how to Manage Overstepping of Powers in a Work Situation
There is an increased focus made on the importance of upholding professionalism in school leadership. Such professionalism is to ensure that there is no overstepping of power within any level of leadership or intimidation of other student leaders. In such a situation where a school leader oversteps his mandate in the workplace, proper avenues and conflict resolution methods should be put in place. However, this should be done without affecting the entire school leadership team. One of these avenues is to discuss the matter with the immediate top leader in the workplace. Using the right channels of communication acceptable in the workplace, it is important to let your immediate boss understand that your position as a school leader is being overstepped hence you cannot fully perform under such conditions.
It is important to give the matter enough time for investigations and after investigations are complete, gauge the recommendations given. If this is not satisfactory and one still feels he/she cannot work well under such circumstances, it is then allowed to consult with the committee members regarding the same issue. In doing so, one should have adequate proof of leadership overstepping in the work area. This entire process should be carried out without interfering with the rest of the team. Conflict resolution should follow the right pathways to avoid personal confrontations. As a leader, one should be able to address work related issues from a professional point of view rather than putting across personal feelings.
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Ways to Improve School Leadership
Currently, there is need to improve the entire concept of school leadership especially to the 21st century generation. The objective is to ensure that this concept does not fade away amidst rapid technological developments. The establishment of such focus is also inclusive of maintain and sustaining high educational performance in learning institutions. Numerous ways can be employed in educational institutions to ensure that the concept of school leadership is upheld.
Such ways include the following:
- Educational research has shown that schools should restructure their systems and configure the general professional autonomy in relation to school leaders and the roles they play. It has shown to be an effective method of encouraging young leaders to join educational leadership. In addition, it also encourages school leaders to feel part of the school and open school leadership as a career path to consider in future.
- There should be formal methods of initiating school leaders from an early age rather than leaving the opportunity to chance. It involves the provision of leadership skills and experience to young learners and encouraging them to take up leadership roles.
- Top school leaders such as principals need to evaluate the work situation of every school leaders and the execution of their roles and duties. Moreover, they should show adequate support to school leaders, working with them hand to hand. It ensures that internal and external conflicts and pressures are well handled hence building the school leaders’ morale and in turn the general improvement of schools.
- The general view of leadership should change. Leadership should be view as a service to others rather than the ability to make others work for you. It will ensure that effective and responsible school leaders are nurtures and the celebration of each leader despite differences in gender, backgrounds, or ethnicity.
- A greater emphasis should be put on the context in which school leaders are mandated to operate. It will level school leadership and acoid cases of misuse of power and position for selfish interests.
- The school systems should consider broadening the educational concept from mere academic achievements to a more student-parents engagement and student-school leaders’ participation. It will ensure that the young people are equipped with self-improvement tools that are useful in the future as young successful leaders.
- The need for schools to decentralize school systems. Unlike in the previous decades, education systems need to be improved and more roles and responsibilities distributed across other personnel. The to-bottom management also requires to be changed to ensure that there is no misuse of office power. Moreover, this will count for accountability and setting school priorities right. With such decentralization, school leaders will have the ability to maximize positively their influence on the young learners.
- Constantly review the level of administration of school leaders and the magnitude of support and priority they give to educational leadership. It is also important to ensure that school leaders are equipped with the right resources that include authority and flexibility to carry out their responsibilities and fully discharge their leadership skills amidst the many challenges they face.
- Carry out reviews on the process of appointing and recruiting educational leaders. It involves making an in depth-analysis on the criteria used in selection of school leaders and whether they meet the standard requirements of becoming an educational leader. A school leader has a huge influence on building and nurturing students, therefore, it is essential that a review be done on the ability of school leaders to influence positively the future leaders.
- To ensure that the concept of school leadership is not eroded easily, it is important for schools to make the field attractive by providing extensive career pathways for school leaders, making fixed appointments rather than casual working and exploring attractive job contracts (Mulford, 2008).
Many schools are exploring various ways of improving the educational systems to be in line with the new emerging demands of the 21st century. Many new approaches are employed to ensure that the old approach to education is shifted and blended in to create a new approach that focuses on using schools as the best institutions of developing future successful leaders. School leaders are individuals who take the role of influencing and affecting the development of students in educational institutions. The concept of school leaders to nurture young people is a fundamental model, since it encourages learners to get leadership skills and participate in developing these skills at a very tender age. Three key elements are important in school leadership. The three elements include: school context, school organization, and school leader, are interrelated and work together to generally establish the context of school leadership.
The satisfaction of a school leader is to see his/her leadership bringing forth a positive impact to the students. However, this is not purely an easy task. Several challenges and barriers hinder the full capacity of school leaders to perform. School leaders face challenges such as lack of proper career pathways and opportunities, poor salaries and remunerations, constrained control of their power and many other more depending on the work environment. In a section above, we reviewed a case study of a school leader who feels intimidated by a colleague that oversteps the workplace authority because of a close relationship with the top boss. It is challenges that affect school leaders in their workplace. However, there are solutions that can be reached upon in order to resolve such matters. Therefore, in the light of such cases, there is need to improve the school leadership by incorporating several approaches that are beneficial to both school leaders and the students in general. In conclusion, it is evident that school leadership plays a crucial role in shaping and nurturing future leaders in our society.
I have been presented with an opportunity to be part of the administration in a private university located in Guangdong province in China. Although my position as a school leader is still uncertain, I believe I have a greater responsibility to help improve school leadership in the university. The various skills outlined in this essay are guidelines that will help me with my participation in development of the new school and learning culture.
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