Author: Grant Obinwa Nwaogu
Title: Leadership in Education
Country: United States
Available for Download: Yes
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Leadership is the key to progress, success and survival of any group; it is one of the commonest characteristics of all the species of the animal kingdom, because whenever any of the species are in a group, a leader always emerges. It is the secret of the success of any organisation, be it a business enterprise, political or governmental institution , religious congregation or an educational agency or institution. It is , in particular, an elusive but fascinating topic of continuing and abiding interest among students of educational and public administration. Unfortunately, not much attention seems to have been focused on this basic human phenomenon either by scholars or by practitioners in Nigeria.
Nations have becomes what they are today , and the world is today is largely because of leadership. Religious leaders like Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddah, Confucius and so on has definitely affected and shaped the world’s cosmological, ethical and moral beliefs. Scientific leaders like Newton, Faraday, Copernicus, James Watt, the Bright brothers, George Stephenson, George Simon Ohm, etc, have largely been
responsible for what the world is Today. Political leaders like Napoleon, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Bismark, Kemal Ataturk, Hitler, Churchill, Stalin, Lenin, and so on have largely been responsible not only for the present sate of affairs in their respective nations but in the whole world at large. Social scientists and philosophers like Karl Marx, Hegel, Max Weber, Freud, Spinoza etc., have all helped to shape our social and political institutions, thoughts and beliefs and the educational leaders like Plato, Aristotle, Quintilian St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Comenius, Francis Bacon, Sigmund Freud, John Locke, Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, Pestallozzi, Herbert, Froebel, John Dewey, Montessori, Alfred North Whitehead and so on have all been responsible for our present day educational thoughts, organisations, contents and processes. Nigeria is what it is today largely because of leadership past and present.
From the forgoing analysis, it should be clear that the future of any enterprise and particularly the educational enterprise and indeed the future and survival of our country, Nigeria, will in no small measure depend not only on the providential emergence of effective leaders in all spheres of our national life ( with particular reference to education), but also on our national consciousness, awareness, understanding and appreciation of the efficacies of leadership in national development.
Leadership is so clearly manifested in all our human endeavours, yet researchers are not all agreed as to its precise definition. There are however some generally acceptable conceptualisations and definitions. For instance, Ralph M. Stogdill (1948) holds that leadership is the process of influencing the activities of an organised group towards goal setting and goal achievement.
Amitai Etzioni (1961) feels that leadership is power , based on predominantly on personal characteristics, usually normative in nature. James Lipham (1964) contends that leadership is the initiation of new structure or procedure for the accomplishment of organisational goals or objective. Fred H. Fiedler ( 1967) believes that the leader is the individual in the group given the task of directing and coordinating the affairs relevant activities of the group.
William J. Reddin (1970) sees leadership as a function of the leader, the followers, co-workers, superiors, the organisations and technology. Gibbs in E.H. Schein (1980) defines leadership as a function of the relationship between the leader, the followers and the task-situational characteristics. And Hugh J. Arnold and Daniel C. Feldman (1986) conclude that leadership is an influence process.
From the above selection of some of the major conceptualisations of leadership, we can summarise that leadership involves :
Historically, three approaches for the study of leadership has been identified. They are
The earliest approach on the study of leadership centred on leadership traits. Right from the time of Aristotle it was the notion that some people are born to lead while others are born to follow. This concept holds that one is born a leader by predisposition which means that one is leader by natural endowment or the possession of some attributes or traits. Thus a successful leader is said to have some leadership ability. This was the belief that made plato that in his plan of his ideal republic classify the members of his republic into three classes – the workers, the guardians and the rulers or leaders.
This conception suggest that there are certain characteristics such as physical, physiological and psychological that are essential for effective leadership, that is the theory that holds that leaders are born, not made. It was believed that these inherent personal characteristics , qualities or attribute are transferable from one situation to the other and that only those who possess such traits were potential leaders.
Research studies by people like Stogdill (1958) have, however failed to produce one single personality trait or even a set of trait that can be used to isolate leaders from non- leaders . Rather empirical research suggest that leadership is a dynamic process varying from situation to situation with changes in leaders, followers and situations. Studies however also indicate that there are certain traits that could be generalised but not sufficient for leadership effectiveness. Such traits include :
Intelligence in the leader is not seen as an absolute quality but as being relative to the intelligence of his followers. In other words studies has shown that successful leaders are more intelligence than their follows. But this is often limited by situational factors. For instance if the disparity between the leaders level of intelligence and those of his followers is very wide then such a leader may not be effective with such followers.
The third trait that is often associated with leadership is initiative. This is because one who can not initiate action or ideas cannot be described as a leader. A man who exhibits initiative under one set of circumstances may not be able to display the same in another situation.
Here it is observed that even the so called essential traits are limited by situational factors. Hence it can be concluded that traits are necessary but not sufficient for leadership effectiveness. Thus we can say that there is need to possess some leadership traits, these is also the need to develop these leadership capabilities through effective experience. An important lessen here is that nobody can be a leader under all conditions and nobody or group of people can have monopoly of leadership and therefore we conclude that leaders are born and made.
Another approach to leadership study of leadership is to describe the behaviour of leaders. How effective leaders initiate structures or exert influence on his subordinates, the emphasis here is not on traits or qualities of a leader but on his performance or behaviour. In this conception once the description of the leader behaviour has been established, then the comparison between an effective and ineffective leader behaviour can be made using a variety of criteria. The behavioural studies of leadership conceptualise it as multi-dimensional hence I shall first discuss the issue of dimensions of leadership before the consideration of behavioural studies.
Studies of leadership has identified at least two distinct dimensions. Chester Barnard (1938) was the first to distinguish between effectiveness and efficiency as two basic dimensions of leadership . Andrew W. Halpin (1956) in his studies delineated two basic dimensions of leadership as initiating structure and consideration. Ralph M. Stogdill (1954) and his associates in the Ohio State University leadership studies have proposed two dimensions of system- oriented and person-oriented.
The behavioural approach to leadership studies can be illustrated with the Ohio State University leadership studies. The study group which was led by Professor Carroll Shartle (1945) had Ralph Stogdill, Halpin, et al , as the associates. The aim of the study was to identify leadership behaviour that was necessary for the achievement of the organisational task, whether in terms of planning or in terms of execution. The study used an instrument designated as leadership behaviour descriptive questionnaire (LBDQ) which was designed to measure two basic dimensions of leadership behaviour namely : Initiating structure and consideration.
Initiating structure was defined as behaviour largely devoted to efficient use of human and material resources to accomplish the goals of the group or organisation while consideration describes behaviour concerning primarily with establishing and maintaining sound personal relationships with subordinates. Initiating structure therefore , refers to such leader behaviour as defines patterns of organisation, clarifies subordinate roles, directs activities, structure the task to be done, criticizes poor work and urges subordinates to work harder. Consideration on the other hand, includes leader behaviour that emphasizes friendship , trust, warmth, interest and respect in the relationship between leader and subordinates.
The Ohio LBDQ items ask subjects to describe the behaviour of the leader on a five point likert type of scale: always, often, occasionally, seldom and never. The item were divided into two sub –scales, one for each of the dimensions of initiating structure and consideration. The figure below illustrates the arrangement of the scores into four quadrants.
Quadrant 11 Quadrant 1
(Low) _____________________________________________________ (High)
From the figures, four leadership styles emerged, namely:
The relevant conclusion from this study are :
Leadersip Effectiveness, Self-Reliance, Creativity and National Development.
The whole concern for educational leadership is its effect., particularly on patriotism, self-reliance, creativity and national development.
It was Chester Barnard (1938) who first identified the two leadership dimensions of effectiveness and efficiency. He stated that effectiveness relates to the accomplishment of the co-operatives purpose of the group which is non-personal in character . Another researcher, Reddin (1970) , defines effectiveness as the extent to which a leader or manager achieves the output required of his position. In other words he defines effectiveness in terms of output rather than input, that is by what a leader achieves rather than what he does but defines efficiency as the ratio of output to input. The problem with this concept which is also the scientific definition of efficiency is that if both input and output are low, efficiency could still be high as 100 per cent. Thus, in this conception, a leader could be100 per cent efficient but zero percent effective. Peter Drucker sharpens the concept further when he states effectiveness is doing the right things while efficiency is doing the things right.
The distinction between effective and efficient leaders could be summarised as follows:
. I have also stated that leadership effectiveness I have tried so far to show what leadership is all about by saying that leadership is the key determinant factor of any group progress or achievement be it for a profit making or non-profit making organisation, banks or educational institutions. I have presented and analysed some leadership theories and have assimilated from these theories the declaration that leadership effectiveness is a function of the personality of the leader and situational variables and consequently that leaders are born and made . I have therefore stated that leadership effectiveness can be achieved through various strategies and that leadership effectiveness evokes pride, patriotism, loyalty, commitment, self-reliance and national development.
Good leadership is indeed elusive but it is crucial for group progress or even national survival . In Nigeria we need leadership effectiveness not only in education but in all spheres of our national life. It is important for any nation to have good and effective leadership to ensure growth in every area of our national economy.
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GREAT EDUCATORS HAVE ALWAYS KNOWN THAT LEARNING IS NOT SOMETHING THAT'S LIMITED TO THE CLASSROOMS, OR THAT SHOULD BE FORCIBLY UNDERTAKEN UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF TEACHERS.
"BEING DOES NOT MEAN ACCEPTING WHAT ONE IS; IT MEANS CREATING ANOTHER SELF THAT DOES NOT EXIST."