Philosophy of Leadership
The need for good leadership has been there since the animals (with humans included) came into existence. Animals have been led by leaders since the beginning as it is also established today. The humans also seek leadership especially when they are in need of guidance. Although the leadership strategies have changed over the centuries, the basic principles are more or less the same. We still find current leaders quoting the leaders of the yester-centuries as they lead or when making a particular decision. The leadership in school is not any different. The principles needed to guide them are more or less the same. Many philosophy statements guide leaders. The philosophy statement is “the goals put in place will describe how effective a leader is going to be” (Brown & Irby, 2001).
A leader without goals is not a leader at all. This is no exception from the leaders in schools. Long term and short-term goals guide the leader in school assess his or herself. It very important for a school principal to know where he would want the school to be in the next one week and in the next five years. When a leader has goals, it is like a first step towards good leadership. When a leader has no goals, it is like getting out of the house in the morning but have no specific place to go. One ends up going nowhere. The short-term goals enable the principal, head of department and other types of leaders in school make small achievements as they target the larger goal.
As indicated, earlier, the types of goals set will tell one what kind of leader they have. For example, unrealistic goals speak of an overambitious leader, which is a sign of poor leadership. This is because unrealistic goals are unachievable. When a team works towards getting unachievable goal, there can only be frustrations and failure at the end of the period. For example, targeting to achieve a mean score at the end of a school semester, whereas the school has never achieved half of that mean score since it was founded, is an unrealistic goal. It is wise to set a smaller mean score that is higher than the current one, and then advance as you progress.
A leader/principal who does not tell of his/her goals to the other team players such as the teachers, the parents and the students is not a good leader. The principal should incorporate all these other team players, as there is no one-man team. They are entitled to know what they are working towards and whether they are in the right direction. Each person has a role to play towards achieving a specific goal and for the well-being of the whole school in general. If a principal leaves one of these groups out, then his/her leadership will be inefficient and ineffective (Brown & Irby, 2001).
Having a leader who sets goals but does not incorporate strategies to reach the particular goals is also a sign of poor leadership. It is wise for a principal to have the goals set, call meetings with the different team players and state out the strategies to achieve these goals. It is also good to ask for help as the old saying that two heads are better than one. For this case, a team’s thinking is better than an individual’s thinking. This will enable the team players develop strategies that they feel they will be able to follow within the given period.
A principal who involves the other team players and asks for their opinion is more likely to succeed than a principal who acts as a dictator. The team players need to fill that they are part of the goal rather than agents of achieving the goal. They also need to be looked at as team players rather than just teachers, parents, students or supportive staff. When a principal considers these factors when trying to achieve set out goals, then he/she is a good leader. Learning institutions are in need of good leaders as any other institutions are.
Brown, G. & Irby, B. J., (2001). The Principal Portfolio. California, CA: Corwin Press.