«CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN MARCOS Restructuring Leadership for 21st Century Schools: How Transformational Leadership and Trust Cultivate ...»
What is not always clear is how to support and sustain teacher leadership based upon the changing demands placed on today's schools. Principals must be willing to create environments of collaboration that provide time for teachers to develop their leadership abilities while helping teachers realize that leadership is not a role reserved only for the principal. In addition, the job of the school leader is to create opportunities for teachers to become productive leaders (Ash & Persall, 1999). It is important to note that the development of teacher leadership is not a one-way street. Teachers must be willing to continuously be trained, expand their own abilities and assume leadership positions as they develop their leadership.
A shared leadership approach is not the only predicative factor in promoting school wide success. Quality relationships have been found to be a contributing factor in job satisfaction and school effectiveness (Chhuon, Gilkey, Gonzales, & Daly, 2008). As with principals who support teacher leadership through their actions, teacher leaders act as role models for other teachers. In schools where trust among stakeholders is evident, these environments become breeding grounds for teacher leaders to take on leadership roles. Trusted teachers help facilitate a stronger commitment from other teachers to their school, fellow colleagues, students, and administration (Ghamrawi, 2011). Once trust is in place it acts as an anchor for school stakeholders to become active members of the larger school community.
When examining the successful practices of schools, it becomes easy to identify the importance of leadership practices on the development of teacher leaders and how quality relationships on school campuses improve the overall goals of the school, yet it remains unclear how the presence and practice of both can simultaneously influence the development of teacher leadership. Therefore, recognizing the importance of developing teacher leadership and how to best support its growth and development became the central premise of this study. From this examination the researcher believed these two factors: a principal's leadership style and the quality of relationships between principals and teachers overwhelmingly effect the transformation of teachers to teacher leaders and warranted further examination. Figure 1 provides a visual representation of how a principal’s leadership style alone can be a contributing factor to the development of teacher leader or how quality relationships support teacher leaders, but when the two are combined the results will have a greater impact.
In school settings, the more principals and teachers connected to a common purpose, the more willing teachers were to invest in change and the generation of new ideas and teaching strategies (Moolenaar, Daly, & Sleegers, 2010). From this study, the researcher became interested in how principals identify and relate to teacher leaders with whom they share a common vision and sense of trust. In addition, the researcher developed an interest in how transformational leadership and trust impact the creation and sustainability of teacher leadership.
Previous research has shown that there is a delicate balance between training and empowering teacher leaders and maintaining district goals and direction (Chrispeels, 1997; Elmore, 1993). The real challenge for any administrator lies in creating a teaching culture that relies on data-driven results and genuine teacher-to-teacher relationships to guide school reform (Fullan, 2008). The purpose of this study was to explore the conditions that help support the leadership practices of middle school principals and the development of teacher leaders. While a convincing case was presented to support the practice of transformational leadership and the impact of trust on quality relationships in schools, an examination of how these two constructs intersect and impact teacher leadership was the focal point of this study.
The following research questions guided this study:
1. In what ways does the principals’ leadership style affect the development of teacher leadership in the middle school setting?
2. In what ways might the principals’ leadership style affect the quality of relationships among middle school principals and teachers in developing teacher
Study Methodology A mixed methods research design was employed for this study. In the qualitative phase of this study, the researcher examined the transformational leadership practices of principals and the relationship built with teacher leaders. Using a phenomenological comparative case study design, the researcher collected data through surveys and interviews of three principals and their teacher leaders in order to further examine how these shared relationships affected classroom practices, other teachers, and overall culture of the school.
In the quantitative phase of this study, the researcher conducted a survey of the three participating middle schools to measure how the presence of trust impacts teacher leadership on middle school campuses. Surveys were distributed to all campus teachers using Survey Monkey, a web-based survey instrument. Data was collected, analyzed and coded to best identify the successful practices of principals who promoted teacher leadership. Statistical analyses were chosen for this study based upon how best to identify the relationship between transformational leadership and trust as perceived by middle school teachers.
Significance of the Study This study has the potential to make a significant impact on 21st century educators as it sheds light on the importance of transformational leadership, trust and teacher leadership. It is well known that a principal cannot lead a school to greatness alone (Leithwood et al., 2004). In the spirit of collaboration, he or she must rely on teachers whom share his vision and are willing to work together to implement changes within the school. School and district leaders are looking to teacher leadership as the missing link for school improvement. Therefore, examining the constructs of leadership and trust and the implications for teacher leadership are deemed worthy of study.
Summary The practice of shared leadership assists principals in building confidence and trust among school faculty while motivating them to commit to the school’s mission.
Principals practicing transformation leadership promote schools designed to support teacher leadership. When teacher leaders are given the opportunity to lead, schools thrive.
Developing and supporting teacher leadership creates opportunities for schools to reach their full potential using the untapped resource of the teacher leader. Research shows that schools that recognize the need for shared leadership are changing the course of teacher performance and student engagement; thus creating schools which embrace 21st century learning. In addition, the presence of trust among teachers and principals increases teacher loyalty, efficacy, and commitment to the larger school community. This study intended to connect how the practice of transformational leadership together with trusting relationships deepens and develops teacher leaders.
In the next chapter, the literature review will provide an in depth comparison of transactional and transformational leadership and how each leadership style can impact a school’s stakeholders. Several studies on the connection between school leadership and a collective sense of trust will serve as a catalyst for how trust theory impacts the quality of relationships on middle school campuses.
Definition of Terms
The following terms are used throughout this study:
1. Culture is the pattern of behaviors and interactions between groups of people who share a common purpose.
2. Teacher Leader is defined as teachers who influence their colleagues, principals, and other members of the school community to improve teaching and learning practices. For this study, teacher leaders were selected by participating middle school principals.
3. Transactional Leadership is defined as a type of leadership style where the leader and follower engage in a simple exchange for reward.
4. Transformational Leadership is defined as a shared leadership style that leads to positive change in those who follow.
5. Trust is the extent to which one engages in a relationship knowing there will be a potential willingness to accept risk.
6. Twenty-First Century Schools are defined as schools which refer to certain skills such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving as skills students
Good leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things, not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered and that gives their work meaning.
– Warren Bennis Introduction to the Literature Leadership is a relationship between a leader and follower based on a unity of purpose and trust. When people come together and collectively raise each other up to previously unachievable levels, true leadership is born. True leaders come from selfactualizing individuals who are motivated to grow, to be efficacious, and to achieve (Fairholm, 2001). In the article Creating Greatness principal Tim Healey reflects on the challenges of taking a school from mediocre to great. He writes, “Healthy relationships among teachers, students, coaches, parents, and staff members transform schools” (Healey, 2009, p. 31). These relationships happen when leaders and followers uncover the common goal they care so deeply about – the learning and academic achievement of the students they are charged to instruct.
This literature review was conducted in order to support the research on transformational leadership and the importance of trust. Literature was reviewed as a means of preliminary inquiry to identify gaps in how transformational leadership is practiced in middle schools. Research and scholarly contributions on transactional leadership and transformational leadership were reviewed as well as trust theory in relation to the transformational leader, followed by literature considering transformational leadership and school culture and the effects of a transformational 11 principal on teacher commitment. This information was followed by research on the effects of transformational leadership on teacher leaders concluding with implications for social justice and equity and educational leadership.
Transactional Leadership and Transformational Leadership In his book Leadership (1978), seminal author James MacGregor Burns first identified two types of leadership – transactional and transformational. In a transactional exchange, the leader seeks followers with the purpose of obtaining success under the leader’s direction, whereas transformational leadership is based on a shift in beliefs where the leader and follower join in a mutual relationship resulting in shared success (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978). It is important to note when clarifying the characteristics between transformational and transactional leadership, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. In other words, transactional and transformational leadership are both linked to the attainment of goals or objectives (Hater & Bass, 1988; Hay 2007). The difference lies in how the attainment of goals is achieved.
A leader’s behavior contributes to the overall climate of an organization (Jensen, 1995). Leadership starts with a shared vision that motivates followers to become involved and committed to the cause. A good leader has the power to inspire and can motivate people through self-efficacy, group cohesiveness, and a community built on trust.
Also referred to as the leadership of change, transformational leadership takes into account ways in which leaders, their followers, and the organization are impacted through a leadership style that focuses on the charismatic leader not the contextual authority (Hay, 2007). Compared to transactional leadership where a top-down approach is the standard, transformational leadership tends to bring together leaders and followers on a more even playing field, thus creating an environment of parity and empowerment (Hay, 2007).
Transformational leaders unite organizations reinforcing attributes that highlight confidence and trust within the team. Once established, this confidence and trust can result in increased group efficacy. In 1978, Burns introduced four main components of transformational leadership. These four components, idealized influence (attributes & behaviors), individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation, describe characteristics valuable to the transformation process (Hall, Johnson, Wysocki & Kepner, 2002). Transformational leadership is demonstrated through the “4Is” and this approach is described as the recipe for yielding significant results referred to as performance beyond expectations (Hall et al., 2002, p. 2). Figure 2 shows how the attributes of transformational leadership build upon on another with the final outcome resulting in higher than expected expectations.
Figure 2: The Additive Effect of Transformational Leadership. (Hall et al, 2002) Transformational leadership starts with idealized influence – a charismatic vision that inspires other to follow. Once attained, individualized consideration provides the leader with the ability to recognize the unique gifts of each team member and find ways to utilize their talents and knowledge. Inspirational motivation allows followers to connect to the meaningful work they do. Lastly, intellectual stimulation provides an opportunity for leaders and followers to propose new ideas in an open, accepting forum.
When the cornerstones of transformational leadership are put into practice, goals are achieved beyond expectations (Burns, 1978; Hall et al., 2002; Hay, 2006).