An Assessment of the Contribution of the Leadership Skills to Effective Management of Schools
This study examined the development of leadership skills in schools; an assessment of the contribution of leadership skills to effective management of Caleb International and Supreme Foundation schools located in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. Literature review was carried out under relevant sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was applied in the assessment of respondents’ opinions using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of one hundred and fifty (150) respondents were involved in this study to represent the entire population of the study. A total of four null hypotheses were formulated and tested using the pearson product moment correlational statistic and independent t-test statistic at 0.05 level of significance. Also, the bio-data and the responses of the respondents were analysed using the simple percentage frequency counts. At the end of the data analyses, the results obtained showed that: there is a significant relationship between authoritative and authoritarian leadership styles amongst school principals, there is a significant relationship between permissive leadership styles and democratic leadership styles of the principals, there is a significant difference in the leadership of principals who are skilful and those who are not, and there is a significant difference between the job performance of teachers who teach in schools where there is principal-teacher relationship and those who work in schools where there is none. Based on the results obtained at the end of the analysis, and the conclusions arrived at, at the end of the study, the researcher recommended that school leaders or administrators should seek government’s financial support in funding the secondary school system. They should ensure that atmosphere of peace and harmony is maintained. Principals also should create good and healthy school climate where academic work is carried out without hindrance.
Background to the Study
Teacher education programme is saddled with the responsibility of nation building for the Nigerian as development society. The quality of the products from teacher training institutions determines the pace of the nation’s development.
Quality in the educational sector is considered in terms of exceptionally high standards, consistency, fitness for purpose, value for money (accountability) and transformative effects (Atanda 2007). Onuh (2006) claims that quality in education is a multidimensional concept which should embrace all functions and activities, teaching and academic programmes, research and scholarship, staffing, students, buildings, facilities, equipment, services to the community and academic environment (UNESCO 1998). There are five indicators of quality measures in an organization or the school system. They include highly trained staff; adequate funding; visionary leadership; Service to the community/academic environment and Research and academic activities
There are also some elements or indicators of good service delivery in schools or organizations. They are adequate staffing, population (enrolment of students), management of funds, and adequate management of infrastructure, accommodation and equipment, provision of adequate instructional materials, co-curricular activities, uniform input and output evaluation procedures and provision of scholarship facilities. In schools that are extremely good, we inevitably found an aggressive, professionally alert, dynamic principals determined to provide the kind of educational programmes deemed necessary no matter what (Gold, 2006).
In another development, (Hechinger, 2005) has this to say “I have never seen a good school with a poor principal or a poor school with a good principal. I have seen unsuccessful schools turned around into successful ones and, regrettably outstanding schools slide rapidly into decline. In each case the rise and fall could readily be traced to the quality of the principal. Leadership is the pre-eminence of one or a few individuals in a group in the process of controlling the societal phenomena”. By this definition, leadership is meant to be the central focus of a group of people (workers) in the working goals. Thus, by virtue of his/her special position in the group, the leader serves as the primary agent for the determination of group activities (Mumford, 2000).
Gbadamosi and Adebakin (2006) hold the view that a leader is one who inspires others to work willingly towards the achievement of a goal through maximum application of his/her personal qualities and capabilities. In order words, people are said to be leaders endeavour to the extent that they succeed in their attempt to influence others to perform a goal or an activity. In doing so, the leader is expected to have some basic attributes such as skill, intelligence, determination, imagination, endurance, charisma and courage. This means that leadership means the process of influencing the activities of an individual or group of individual in their efforts towards the accomplishment of goals and objectives of the organization (Hersey and Blanchard, 1999). From the above descriptions, one can affirm that leadership involves social influence and interaction between the leader and the subordinates, the aim of which is to achieve a stated goal.
Therefore, the importance of leadership in an organization or work environment cannot be overemphasized. This is because leadership concerns the total manner by which a manager influences the actions of the subordinates. This includes the issuing of orders that are clear, complete and within the capabilities of workers to accomplish. It also implies a continuing training activity in which subordinates are given instructions to enable them carry out the particular assignment in the existing situation (Makinde, 2005).
According to Eskor (2001), there are two broad views of leadership such as psychological and the sociological views. Eskor opines that the psychological view holds that the primary function of leaders is to develop an effective motivation system. The psychologists also believe that the leader must stimulate their subordinates in such a manner that they would be able to contribute positively to the organization’s achievement of goals and objectives. They think that the Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs is a model good enough for leaders to use in developing the most effective motivational system for their subordinates. They also hold the view that a motivational system which focuses on the entire needs of the subordinates (i.e.) physiological, safety, social, system and self-actualization, will have a higher probability of success than a system which covers the needs spectrum only in parts.
The above statements show that it is the leadership of the school that makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence.
A capsule description of the qualities and behaviours that characterize principals in successful schools; qualities that have surfaced again and again in the research literature, runs as follows:
(a) Effective principals have a strong vision of what their schools can be, and they encourage all staff to work towards realizing that vision (Gunge, 2000).
(b) They hold high expectations for both students’ achievement and teacher staff performance.
(c) They observe teachers in classrooms and provide positive constructive feedback aimed at solving problems and improvising instruction.
(d) They encourage excellent and efficient instruction time and design procedures to minimize disruptions.
(e) They use material and personal resources creatively.
(f) They monitor the individual and collective achievement of students and use the information to guide instructional planning (Adamson 2001).
Unfortunately, many less effective principals define their role as managers of the building and budget, keepers of the records, chief disciplinarians and communicators with everyone (Davis, 2000). According to Willower (2002); many less quality or effective principals leave teaching to teachers. Research on the activities and behaviours of principals indicate that most school principals spend very little time on curriculum and instructional matters; while few of them have been trained and prepared for instructional leadership.
As Goodhead (2003) puts it, most teachers, parents and interested others are not aware of the pivotal role an instructionally active principal can play in creating an effective school, a school where everyone is concerned with learning and achievement, where expectations are high and educational improvement is a daily concern.
The daily routine of every school principal, although routine is hardly the correct word includes activities which are described as “varied, brief and disjointed” Lee (2007), and “varied brief and fragmented” by Martin and Willower (2001); While Greenfield concluded that the activities of effective school principals involve “an endless series of brief interpersonal encounters and exchanges with students, teachers, parents, supervisors and others”.
Principals must deal with competing values and expectations along with shortages in space, staff, funds, equipment and materials and miss communications are common (Barnett et al, 2004) The work of the principal is largely verbal. Principals dispense information about procedures and politics to veteran teachers, new teachers, substitute, teachers, special education teachers, reading specialties, counsellors, school psychologists, maintenance staff, students, parents and others in the community. Well-trained and experienced school principals answer questions about the availability of aids, space, materials and other resources and details about forth coming events in the schools where they are found (Bloomberg, 2007). According to Morris et al (2002), the principals’ activities are classified into monitoring school activities, serving as school spokesperson, disseminating information to school staff, handling resources and so on.
The school principal is the arrow head of the school system. This means that the school principal determines the pace at which things or events move in the school. In this regard therefore, the quality of the school principal to a large extent, determines the services he/she renders to the school. According to Goodhead (2003), many less effective principals view the role they play in the school as managers of the school building and budget keepers of the school records and communicators with every one. They unfortunately, leave the teaching to the classroom teachers. Most principals spend little time on curriculum and instructional matters. Most principals in the school system today are poor school leaders, inefficient administrators, who lack the required capacity and academic process to keep the school moving ahead. They lack experience and qualification with which high and qualitative services are rendered in the administration of the school (Ola, 2004).
Statement of the Problem
The problem inherent in the lack of or and adequate leadership skill or competence among secondary school heads cannot be overemphasized. This is because, principals who are not competent, who lack the wherewithal to manage the affairs of the school, will find it extremely difficult to run and control effectively, the school system placed in their care. Needless to say that most school principals lack the required skills in terms of the ability and capacity to provide good leadership quality, to provide good school climate and cooperation. For instance, in school where there is bad leadership, where the principal lack the necessary skills and capacities of managing, controlling and organising and leading effectively, there tend to be chaotic situation in the school. There may be no leader-follower relationship, and in a situation where there is non-relationship between the leader and the followers, things do not work well and this affects growth and development of the school negatively.
For instance, if there is no good relationship between principals and teachers, and between principals and students, there will be a confused situation in the school and this can lead to poor academic performance of students and poor work activities by the teachers and this gives bad image to the school system on the other hand.
The above identified problems gave rise to the examination of development of leadership skills in schools, a contribution of leadership skills to effective management of schools.
Purpose of the Study
The objectives of this study include to:
(1) examine the difference between authoritarian and authoritative leadership styles among school principals.
(2) Investigate the relationship between permissive leadership style and democratic leadership style of principals.
(3) find out the leadership skills of school principals.
(4) examine the difference between the leadership skills of principals who are skillful and those who are not.
(5) differentiate teachers’ job performance in schools where there is principal-teacher relationship and schools where there is none.
The following research questions were raised in this study.
1. Would there be any relationship between the authoritarian and authoritative leadership styles among school principals?
2. Is there any relationship between permissive leadership style and democratic leadership style of principals?
3. Can the leadership skills of school principals be investigated?
4. Will there be any difference between the leadership styles of principals who are skilful and those who are not?
5. Will there be any difference between the job performance of teachers who are in schools where there is principal-teacher relationship and those who are in school where there is none?
The following research hypotheses were postulated in this study:
1. There will be no significant relationship between the authoritative leadership and the authoritarian leadership styles of principals.
2. There will be no significant relationship between permissive leadership style and democratic leadership styles of principals.
3. There will be no significant difference in the leadership styles of principals who are skilful and those who are not.
4. There will be no significant difference between the job performance of teachers who are in schools where there is principal-teacher relationship and those who are not.
Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial to the following:
This study will help school principals have better insight on the importance of service delivery in the school. With the recommendations and findings of this study, school principals would be more aware of the importance of quality in service delivery.
This will enable them to imbibe the culture of being exposed to training and retraining in the school in order to achieve maximum quality for effective service delivery in the day to day management and administration.
The findings of this study enables teachers in the school system, who practice teaching on daily basis, the opportunity of knowing that the quality of a teacher to a large extent affect the way at which he/she delivers service in the teaching profession.
With this study, practising teachers would be able to imbibe the culture of updating their academics periodically as that will help them to perform their duties creditably well. It also helps teachers to know that it pays to deliver quality services in one’s profession.
This study would help the school authority to be able to provide conducive environment towards the production of personnel who will be able, available, ready and efficient in service delivery in the school system. With this study, the school authority will be able to make policies that would enable staff to be trained and groomed for better performance and higher productivity in the school. The study would serve as a good and important reference material to the public and the upcoming researchers and students in general.
Scope of Study
This study covered an investigation into the development of leadership skills of school principals in Caleb International and Supreme Foundation schools in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Limitations of Study
The constraints of this study include lack of finance, time frame, lack of adequate materials and other logistics that may arise as a result of collecting data.
Definition of Terms
The following terms were defined in this study:
Quality: Quality is defined as grade of goodness, excellence or degrees (especially high degrees) of goodness of work.
Service Delivery: The control and effective management and utilization of school population, funds, infrastructures, accommodations, equipment, information communication technology and so on for growth and development of the school system.
Quality Service Delivery: This is a situation in which services or functions are at the apex level. This means the highest services delivered by those expected to deliver them in an organisation or institution.
School Administrators: This refer to those or personnel who manage the schools as institutions of learning. The headmasters, headmistresses, principals, vice principals are regarded as school administrators.
Leadership – It is the way leaders or school principals pilot the affairs of the school. Leadership also means the way and manner management sees things and applied control and others in order to get things done.
Effectiveness – The ability or power to have a notable or desired effect on something.
Performance – The act of performing something, the action or an act of performing, the ability to do something especially something needing skills etc. Performance also means the overall activities of students in a particular school over a period of time.