• Facebook
  • Twitter

If you order your custom term paper from our custom writing service you will receive a perfectly written assignment on Attributes of Effective School Leaders. What we need from you is to provide us with your detailed paper instructions for our experienced writers to follow all of your specific writing requirements. Specify your order details, state the exact number of pages required and our custom writing professionals will deliver the best quality Attributes of Effective School Leaders paper right on time.

Out staff of freelance writers includes over 120 experts proficient in Attributes of Effective School Leaders, therefore you can rest assured that your assignment will be handled by only top rated specialists. Order your Attributes of Effective School Leaders paper at affordable prices with Live Paper Help!

Attributes of Effective School Leaders

Not the cry, but the flight of the wild duck, leads the flock to fly and follow. ~ Chinese Saying

In this assignment, after some preliminary contemplation about school leadership, I will consider the content of the six SHU evening course sessions I attended in June and July 00. Concurrently, as a secondary school subject team leader, I will reflect upon my practical experience of leadership, thinking about my strengths and weaknesses and possible steps I might take to become a more effective leader.

Clearly, in recent years, there has been a movement throughout the English speaking world to redefine and re-emphasise the role of school leadership. From New Zealand to Canada and from the United Kingdom to the United States, we see evidence of educationists writing passionately about how vital good leadership is in what has become a universal drive to raise standards in our schools. In the UK, we have seen the establishment of our National College for School Leadership (NCSL) and there is hardly a university Education faculty anywhere that is not focussing vividly on this area. In an NCSL website article, “Flavor of the Month or Serious Business?”, Vicki L. Phillips (000) marks this seachange in our thinking about educational leadership ‘For years school leadership has been more about organizing and managing the institution than about strengthening teaching and learning’.

Help with essay on Attributes of Effective School Leaders

cheap essay writing service

Some commentators appear to reserve the term “school leadership” specifically for headteachers while others have a broader view of leadership, appreciating that within any educational establishment there will be different tiers of leadership. To these analysts, the pyramidal model of hierarchical leadership is invariably just a convenient caricature. Changes in the organisational nomenclature of my own school have recently emphasised the pre-eminence of leadership as a tool for eliciting positive change. The Senior Management Team (SMT) have transmuted themselves into the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) while the Review and Planning Group (RPG), mainly populated by Heads of Departments and Heads of Year, is now known as The Leadership Team. Through this changed terminology, the school reveals that it is very much in tune with modern thinking about leadership.

The first teaching session (5/6/0) encouraged course participants to reflect upon their own characteristics both as leaders and as people. Undoubtedly, who we are is inextricably linked to how we will function as leaders. Kolb’s Learning Style Inventory (185) markedly suggested that my preferred learning style is via ‘concrete experience’. Honey and Mumford (1) would unquestionably categorise me as an ‘activist’. This concurs with my view of life and how I principally operate both as a teacher and as a human being. “The proof of the pudding is in the eating” and “Seeing is believing” are aphorisms to which I subscribe wholeheartedly. Yet, Kolb’s Inventory reminds one that there are other ways in which people who are leaders might function and that there will indeed be people whose percentile scores are more evenly distributed than mine.

I found Covey, Merrill and Merrill’s Time Management Matrix (14) to be an interesting reflective tool that reminds us how easy it is to squander precious leadership time while concomitantly encouraging us to think about the relative importance and urgency of the various tasks we find ourselves performing as leaders within schools. I agree with the underlying premise that effective leaders will consciously seek to make the best use of their limited time. I admit that as the Head of English at Yewlands, I have often found myself either “fire-fighting” problems or, rather like one of Pavlov’s dogs, reacting to immediate stimuli instead of standing back from the fray in order to proritise the use of my energies and survey the bigger picture.

Between the first and second teaching sessions, I completed a learning log of some six hundred words in which I reflected upon my recent Spring Bank Holiday week ( See Appendix). This was a week when I was in school every day, chiefly performing administrative tasks, though on that Thursday, with the other two English postholders, I certainly led our long term planning discussion. In the log, it occurred to me that there is hardly a holiday that goes by when I am not in school working � but, partly thanks to the course, I ask myself two questions about this habit 1) How much of this largely unappreciated work is really about leading English in the school? and ) Is one key attribute of an effective leader a demonstrable willingness to give hundreds of extra hours to their job each year? In ‘Effective School Leadership’ (website article for NCSL), Day and Harris (000) judge that successful school leaders are finding it increasingly difficult to form a healthy balance between ‘personal time’ and the invasive impact of ‘professional tasks’.

Perhaps, as Covey, Merrill and Merrill (1) wrote; ‘We have to water, cultivate and weed on a regular basis if we’re going to enjoy the harvest.’ In other words, maybe it is all those mundane managerial and organisational actions that optimise conditions for effective leadership. However, I also take heed of the same writers’ jam jar analogy � ‘…if we know what the big rocks are and put them in first, it’s amazing how many of them we can put in’. For me, the lesson I draw from this idea is to be wary of completely filling my time up with daily trivia � the immediacy of everyday subject department life and to make sure that the big things � the things that matter in the longer term are very much in the jam jar. Currently, bigger issues that spring to mind are boys’ attainment, preparing documentation for OFSTED’s next inspection, remembering to mentor and monitor our new NQT and injecting some real delight into our pupils’ experience of English.

Our second teaching session (1/6/0) continued the theme of self-evaluation with focus upon Kiersey’s temperament sorter results linked with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In my view, one ought to have some reservations about any psychological assessment tools which present polarised and rather simplistic impressions of the human personality. I prefer either the notion of crosshatched continua or the idea of a tangled web of personality traits in which the judger may become a perceiver, extraversion is replaced by introversion or feeling and thinking are interchangeable � depending upon the situation. That’s how I think most people really are � complicated, refusing to be typecast � often revealing different facets of themselves.

With that health warning noted, the Type Indicator revealed me to be an ‘ISFJ’ � in how I focus my attention, I tend towards introversion while in the acquisition of information I’m inclined towards ‘sensing’. In how I make decisions, I tend towards ‘feeling’ and in my orientation towards orderliness I tend to be a ‘judger’. Jenny Rogers’ commentary on Type Indication suggests that I might be more effective by for example, ‘learning to say no to inappropriate demands’ and by ‘speaking up’ about my ‘achievements’ and by ‘learning to appreciate the big picture implications of current trends and actions’ � bringing us back to Covey’s rocks in the jam jar perhaps.

As an ‘SJ’ type I am allegedly like 8% of the population � a ‘stabilizer’ whose ‘Achilles’ heel’ is ‘disorganization’. I’m ‘dependable’ with a sense of ‘social responsibility’ and I’m ‘precise’ with a sense of a ‘duty’. Okay, I’m happy to accept that those labels fit me but when I look at the characteristics of “SP”, “NT” & “NF” types, I see other characteristics which also seem to fit me perfectly, for example� “likes hands on experience” (SP), “wordsmith” (NT), “sympathetic” (NF). Type attribution is indeed an imprecise science but as with Kolb’s Inventory, it reminds us that there are many different ways of being and therefore different ways of leading.

In my second learning log � dated June 18th (See Appendix), I reflected on a situation I had been put into because of yet another initiative from central government � namely the delivery of English transition units to bridge Y6 pupils’ transfer to secondary school. It had fallen on me to both administer and to lead this process with representatives from our local feeder primary schools. In relation to course content, I noted a tension between “thinking” and “feeling”. This was a role which had been thrust upon me without extra time or recompense, involving a scheme of work which I judged to be unnecessarily complicated and arrogantly prescriptive. The teaching materials seemed uninspiring. The “thinking” part of me pleaded that it had to be done but the “feeling” part wanted the morally and professionally justifiable protest that I knew I could not make. The tension led to a rather uncharacteristic hold up in the actions I had agreed with primary colleagues.

Cynically, I ask myself if these are attributes of effective leaders � doing things you don’t believe in, feeling that protest is useless, delaying the leadership of burning practical issues in order to accommodate externally imposed initiatives. The current fashion in education is to keep one’s head below the parapet, to draw one’s salary, to doff one’s cap as each new bandwagon passes by - rather different from how great leaders of history might have dealt with things � with courage, sticking their heads above the parapet and refusing to be subdued by perceived external enemies.

The third teaching session (1/6/0) drew course participants away from inward reflections to consider different views of leadership. For example, Bennis and Nanus (17) claim that there is no real pattern to the attributes of leaders but suggest rather obtusely that, “Leadership is like the abominable snowman, whose footprints are everywhere but who is nowhere to be seen.” Initially, I thought that that was a strangely hopeful and vaguely mystical view of leadership but perhaps what the writers were really expressing was their frustration about accurately defining leadership after processing 850 different depictions. Like the abominable snowman, the recipe for effective leadership has proven itself to be extremely elusive.

Day and Harris (000) observe that effective school leaders are generally very visible figures, leading by example and involved in the daily lives of their schools in a demonstrable “hands on” manner. From their groundbreaking research in and around effective schools, they identified five core characteristics of effective leaders. Such people are generally driven by particular ‘values’. Secondly, they are ‘people centred’. They place enormous store on lifting achievement. Symbiotically, they look both inwardly to the schools they are leading and outwardly to the ever changing pressures, expectations and opportunities which arise in the external world. Finally, they are able to ‘manage a number of ongoing tensions and dilemmas’.

Lipman-Blumen (16) contend that in today’s world, the effective leader will ideally embody three complementary leadership styles. They will combine “direct”, “relational” and “instrumental” methods of leadership. Critically reflecting on my own leadership style and from discussion with colleagues, I suspect that the relational style has been my dominant approach and perhaps in the future I will, depending on circumstances, be consciously aiming to be more directional � actually leading instead of managing.

Aspinwall (18) has a vision of leadership in which management and organisation are secondary functions. Drawing on the work of Kouzes and Posner (187), Aspinwall asks readers to consider their “Five Practices”. I applaud the sense in which these five “practices” recognise that a key feature of successful leadership is contained in the recognition that a leader needs to actively encourage others � utilising as well as celebrating their talents. Leaders cannot do it all, nor is it their job to do so. They are responsible for giving those who are led both a sense of worth and a sense of direction. Good leaders listen and they seek to maximise the potential input of those they lead.

Last school term, I arranged for the two other English postholders to undertake a factfinding mission to a neighbouring secondary school in order to discern the characteristics of that school’s demonstrably more successful English department. This was at once an attempt to “envision the future and enlist others” and real evidence of my desire to “foster collaboration and strengthen others” (Aspinwall 18) � but what was especially important after this visit was that my colleagues were able to see that their observations had been prized sufficiently to initiate particular changes in our department’s practice. As a leader, I think it is healthful to develop such collegiality in the firm belief that this empowerment will strengthen the team’s commitment to our shared cause � to keep lifting attainment and provision in English. If people are in the habit of simply following orders, they will behave like Orwell’s proles, subdued and uncommitted - but if we allow them a sense of purpose and genuine opportunities to make vital contributions to the advancement of the core task, I believe that their feelings of self worth will blossom along with growth in their willingness to keep on contributing. Being a good leader does not have to be lonesome � in fact, as Aspinwall implies, it’s probably more about being a good team player, working with others, encouraging them to give of their best and to grow. This view is commensurate with the leadership definition which emerged from my discussion group during the third teaching session “Leadership is about having a clear vision of where you are going and it is about having the ability to bring other people along with you � perhaps using a range of techniques to achieve your goals.”

In the fourth teaching session, we explored the concept of roles, seeking to clarify the factors which help to form our roles. According to Rosemary Stewart (17), those who are leaders within schools and many other organisations will find themselves seeking to juggle the ‘demands’ of the job, its ‘constraints’ and the ‘choices’ we are able to make. The role set analysis activity which course members undertook during the teaching session illuminated our understanding of how our roles are linked with other people and the relative significance of those links. Later, I was able to delineate the prescriptive, creative and negotiable elements of my role, discovering how dominant the prescriptive features appear perhaps at the expense of creativity.

Recommended reading arising from this session was a selected chapter from Grace (15) in which some moral, ethical and professional dimensions of teaching were partially examined, especially in relation to school leadership and management. Grace recognises an historical shift from a time when school leadership was defined in terms of “its capacity to give moral and ethical direction” to the present day in which “market preoccupations” have become the litmus test of success. At first, I thought this was an odd chapter to include in the course reader but upon reflection it has had the useful function of reminding me that educational leadership does indeed have a moral dimension and even within my subject leader’s role I have had to wrestle with several dilemmas over recent years.

The annual preoccupation with league tables and percentage scores, comparing one school with another and this year with last has become an anathema for me because that numbers game hides so many truths, creates so many restrictions and has to a large extent transformed schools into sausage factories. This movement has diminished my belief in a job that I was passionate about through the seventies and eighties and surely one vital attribute of leadership is the maintenance of a passionate belief in what you are about. With more than a touch of irony, Grace notes that ‘reflective practice’ has become a desirable trait of school leaders during a time when ‘work intensification has increased dramatically for teachers’. In signing up for this Leadership and Management course, I mainly hoped that it would allow me some time and opportunity for focussed reflection.

In the fifth teaching session, we looked at what makes an effective team and after Meredith Belbin (1), sought to define various group roles from the ‘chair’ who orchestrates ‘group resources’ to the ‘company worker’ who gets on with the job. As with Kolb’s type theories, I have a real problem with this kind of reductive labelling process. I acknowledge that within my English team at Yewlands, people show particular strengths and weaknesses but they are not fixed and they are not exclusive. The ‘team worker’ might on another occasion be the ‘plant’ who generates ideas or the ‘resource investigator’ who generates ‘resources for the group’. We are capable of playing different roles but I think that what we do need to accept is that any successful team is like a jigsaw � each part is different but essential to the whole. We are foolish if we expect to see ourselves mirrored in other team members because such a narrow clone-like team would surely be impoverished through its sameness.

In the sixth teaching session, we moved on to consider interpersonal elements in organisational life and to reflect on leadership processes in organisations but this learning and its associated reading will form the basis of my second course assignment.

The course has already increased my leadership vocabulary, and improved my ability to look critically at myself, the team I am leading and what we are actually about but, in the final analysis, what are the attributes of effective school leaders? At subject leadership level, some would simplistically argue that it’s all about examination results. The best leaders are simply those whose departments are at the top of the pecking order and the worst are those whose results are disappointing. Or perhaps the best leaders are those who make the most noise in promoting their department causes? Instead, maybe the most effective leaders are those whose departments are happy, in which teachers feel valued and supported and are clear about what they have to do. As the course has so vividly demonstrated, there are dozens of ways of looking at leadership. One practical dilemma for subject leaders in secondary schools is that so much of their time is consumed by large teaching loads and unavoidable managerial tasks which greatly restrict the time that’s left available for leading so clearly that limited time needs to be used well. Ultimately, laying my cards on the table, I think that effective leaders will display tenacity, integrity, respect for others, willingness to change and adapt and a lot of positive energy � these are certainly qualities I strive to exhibit in my own leadership. Probably above all, we need to set good examples � like the Chinese wild duck � demonstrating flight rather than crying about it.


Aspinwall, K (18) Leading the Learning School, Lemos & Crane.

Belbin, M (1) Team Roles at Work, Butterworth Heinemann.

Bennis, W. and Nanus, B. (17) Leaders Strategies for Taking Charge HarperBusiness

Covey, S R, Merrill A R and Merrill R R (1) First Things First, Simon &Schuster.

Day, C. and Harris, A. (000) Effective School Leadership NCSL website

Grace, G (15) School Leadership Beyond Education Management. Falmer Press

Honey P. and Mumford, A. (1) The Learning Styles Helpers Guide.

Kolb, D (185) Learning Style Inventory, Training Resources Group.

Lipman-Blumen, J (16) Connective Leadership, Oxford University Press.

Phillips, V. Leadership in Education � Flavor of the Month or Serious Business? NCSL website.

Rogers, J (17) Sixteen Personality Types, Management Futures Ltd.

Stewart, R (17) The Reality of Management. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Please note that this sample paper on Attributes of Effective School Leaders is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Attributes of Effective School Leaders, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Attributes of Effective School Leaders will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

Order your authentic assignment from Live Paper Help and you will be amazed at how easy it is to complete a quality custom paper within the shortest time possible!

Leave a Reply

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.