Traits Theory of Leadership
How relevant is the trait theory to your workplace?
When I was reading this article, it made me think of the IB Learner Profile and transdisciplinary skills to some degree. The learner profile attributes are ten qualities as teachers we try to instil in our students to help them be successful beyond our school. It is difficult to measure these attributes (How do you measuring caring vs very caring vs exceptionally caring objectively?).
In the workplace, qualities are used as identifiers in appraisals and are outlined in job descriptions. Again though, it can be difficult to objectively measure and provide evidence for any of these qualities except for observations, anecdotes and perhaps comparisons between people. Often a person with certain characteristics is encouraged to apply for certain jobs. However, while the person may have certain qualities, they still have to use them effectively in the given context to hold any value for the organisation. It is also important to remember that with subjectivity can come different perspectives. A strong driven leader may also be seen as too pushy with their agendas.
Strengths of Trait Theory of Leadership
Weaknesses of Trait Theory of Leadership
Does your nation or province have a framework which lists the capabilities or competencies of educational leadership?
Working in an international private school in Singapore, I am not aware of a framework of capabilities or competencies of educational leadership. It has been interesting to read about the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) in others’ blogs.
Watkins, P. (1986). The trait approach. In A critical review of leadership concepts and research: The implications for educational administration (pp. 11-13, 21-25, 28),
While I believe that non-white male leaders are becoming more prevalent, there is still a lack of equality. As a female in the international teaching setting in Asia, it is very rare to find female heads of school or even female Heads of Secondary/Primary. In my current organisation, our senior leadership team consists of 5 administrators (head of schools, head of secondary, head of primary, head of student services and director of education technology). Of those five, only the head of student services is female.
It is also challenging in Asian countries with the stereotypes of our parent community expecting a male to be the dominant leaders in the schools. I have been in many meetings where a parent from an Asian country continuously looks to my male counterpart to answer, even when I have already provided him with the answer. There is definitely a need to break down gender stereotypes and support equality.
As a female aspiring to be in leadership, it is difficult to find female leaders and mentors to look up. It can be frustrating with education being a profession with a higher percentage of female educators, and yet, so few females reach the top of the leadership chain. I’ve recently received a copy of Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and am looking forward to hearing her perspective on this topic.
Southwell & Social Construction
Social constructivism is the idea that our understanding of the world is based on the shared ideas, concepts and expectations created through the interactions with others. Vygotsky has been a key theorist of social constructivism.
Socially constructed views of educational leadership change based on culture, history and context(Southworth, 2000). It is based on the current beliefs of educational leadership and what ‘good’ educational leadership is. This has continuously changed over time from where the role was more of a managerial role to now focused on more inspirational leadership while still requiring aspects of educational leaders as managers. Southworth suggests that social construction is the assumed norms, though we may not always be conscious of them.
Southworth, G. (2000). School leadership in English schools at the close of the 20th Century: Puzzles, problems and cultural insights, Paper presented at the meeting of the American Education Research Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA.