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Ready to lead? Shifting thinking about leadership of our schools AIS Executive Conference May 2007. Helen Wildy Murdoch University. Overview. Shifts in thinking about leadership Delegation Leading or managing? Standards-based reform WA Leadership Framework Summary.

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Ready to lead shifting thinking about leadership of our schools ais executive conference may 2007

Ready to lead? Shifting thinking about leadership of our schoolsAIS Executive ConferenceMay 2007

Helen Wildy

Murdoch University

Overview schools

  • Shifts in thinking about leadership

  • Delegation

  • Leading or managing?

  • Standards-based reform

  • WA Leadership Framework

  • Summary

H Wildy 2007

1 shifts in thinking about leadership
1. schoolsShifts in thinking about leadership

  • Trait theory 1900-1950

  • Leadership style 1960s

  • Situational theories 1970s

  • Transformational leadership 1980s

  • Distributed leadership 1990s

  • Sustainable leadership 2000s

H Wildy 2007

Trait theory 1900 1950
Trait theory 1900-1950 schools

  • Assumed leaders were born, not made

  • Leaders were different from non leaders

    • Physical traits

    • Abilities

    • Personality

  • Challenge: find the person for the job

H Wildy 2007

Leadership style 1960s
Leadership style 1960s schools

  • Background research: Hawthorne studies

  • Ohio State University studies

  • 2 dimensions of leadership

    • Consideration (people)

    • Structure (task)

  • Example: Blake and Mouton 1964 (authority, team, country club, impoverished)

H Wildy 2007

Blake and mouton 1964
Blake and Mouton 1964 schools

Country Club










H Wildy 2007

Hersey and blanchard 1970s
Hersey and Blanchard 1970s schools











H Wildy 2007

2 delegation
2. Delegation schools

H Wildy 2007

Three big concepts behind effective delegation
Three big concepts behind effective delegation schools




H Wildy 2007

Authority schools

  • Give authority by ensuring sufficient

    • Resources esp time, motivation

    • Skill

    • Knowledge of context and importance

    • Understanding of rationale

    • Discretion

  • Involve delegatee in making these decisions

  • Giving appropriate authority shows you value

    • the work and

    • the person

  • Giving authority says I trust you

H Wildy 2007

Responsibility schools

  • Be clear about responsibilities: the buck stops with the delegator but the delegatee has responsibilities eg outcome, timeline, quality

  • Delegators are responsible for informing others Delegatees are responsible for seeking clarification

  • Sharing responsibility shows you value

    • the work and

    • the person

  • Sharing responsibility says We’re professionals

H Wildy 2007

Accountability schools

  • Decide on accountability processes in advance

    • meeting targets

    • being on time

    • staying within budget

    • achieving quality

    • reporting achievement (when and how)

  • Accountability relationships show you value

    • the work and

    • the person

  • Accountability says You, and your work, matter

H Wildy 2007

Transformational leadership 1980s
Transformational leadership 1980s schools

In contrast with transactional leadership (power, position, politics and perks), Transformational leadership assumes people are motivated

  • by intrinsic factors: shared goals, sense of belonging, identity

  • by being part of a vision, mission, values

    Highly popular today as the path to organisational change

    Deeply embedded in the rhetoric of organisations

  • Based on the concept of heroic, charismatic,singular,visionary leadership

  • But can one person do it all?

H Wildy 2007

Distributed leadership 1990s
Distributed leadership 1990s schools

  • Terms also used

    • Networked leadership

    • Collaborative leadership

    • Shared leadership

    • Team leadership

  • Assumes

    • Flatter structures

    • Decentralised control

    • Increased ownership

    • Expanded responsibility

H Wildy 2007

Sustainable leadership 2000s
Sustainable leadership 2000s schools

Leading for sustainability based on three key concepts

  • Personal resilience

  • Embedded organisational change

  • Future orientation

H Wildy 2007

3 leading or managing
3. Leading or Managing schools

  • What is the relationship between leading and managing?

    • Is one a subset of the other?

    • Or are they different processes?

    • Do they involve different skills?

      Draw a diagram to represent the relationship

H Wildy 2007

Leading schools

Establishing direction

Aligning people

Motivating and inspiring

Producing growth, improvement, change


Planning, budgeting

Organising and staffing

Controlling and problem solving

Producing order, predictability, stability

H Wildy 2007

4 standards based reform
4. Standards-based reform schools


  • Student performance improves when outcomes of learning are made explicit

  • Teachers’ performance improves when practices of teaching are made explicit

  • School performance improves when practices of leaders are made explicit

H Wildy 2007

Standards for leaders uk
Standards for leaders: UK schools

  • NSH (National Standards for Headteachers) developed for National College for School Leadership

  • 6 categories, each with 4 subcategories, each with between 3 and 13 subcategories plus invitation to add your own to reflect their contexts

  • Total 159 elements (at least)

H Wildy 2007

Uk nsh 6 main categories
UK - NSH: 6 main categories schools

  • Shaping the future

  • Leading learning and teaching

  • Developing self and working with others

  • Managing the organisation

  • Securing accountability

  • Strengthening community

    (compare with WADET Leadership Framework)

H Wildy 2007

Uk nsh subcategories
UK - NSH : subcategories schools

  • Knowledge

    • Knows about

  • Professional qualities

    • Is committed to

    • Is able to

  • Actions

H Wildy 2007

Nsh example leading learning and teaching
NSH example schoolsLeading learning and teaching


Knows about:

  • Strategies for raising achievement and achieving excellence

  • The development of a personalised learning culture within the school

  • Models of learning and teaching

  • The use of new and emerging technologies to support learning and teaching

  • Principles of effective teaching and assessment for learning

  • Models of behaviour and attendance management

  • Strategies for ensuring inclusion, diversity and access

  • Curriculum design and management

  • Tools for data collection and analysis

  • Using research evidence to inform teaching and learning

  • Monitoring and evaluating performance

  • School self evaluation

  • Strategies for developing effective teachers

H Wildy 2007

Nsh example cont leading learning and teaching
NSH example (Cont) schoolsLeading learning and teaching

Professional qualities

Is committed to

  • The raising of standards for all in the pursuit of excellence

  • The continuing learning of all members of the school community

  • The entitlement of all pupils to effective teaching and learning

  • Choice and flexibility in learning to meet the personalised learning needs of every child

    Is able to

  • Demonstrate personal enthusiasm for and commitment to the learning process

  • Demonstrate the principles and practices of effective teaching and learning

  • Access, analyse and interpret information

  • Initiate and support research and debate about effective learning and teaching and develop relevant strategies for performance improvement

  • Acknowledge excellence and challenge poor performance across the school

H Wildy 2007

Nsh example cont leading learning and teaching1
NSH example (Cont) schoolsLeading learning and teaching


  • Ensures a consistent and continuous school-wide focus on pupils’ achievement, using data and benchmarks to monitor progress in every child’s learning

  • Ensures that learning is at the centre of strategic planning and resource management

  • Establishes creative, responsive and effective approaches to learning and teaching

  • Ensures a culture and ethos of challenge and support where all pupils can achieve success and become engaged in their own learning

  • Demonstrates and articulates high expectations and sets stretching targets for the whole school community

  • Implements strategies which secure high standards of behaviour and attendance

  • Determines, organises and implements a diverse, flexible curriculum and implements an effective assessment framework

  • Takes a strategic role in the development of new and emerging technologies to enhance and extend the learning experience of pupils

  • Monitors, evaluates and reviews classroom practice and promotes improvement strategies

  • Challenges underperformance at all levels and ensures effective corrective action and follow up

  • Add your own context specific actions

H Wildy 2007

Standards and accountability
Standards and accountability schools

  • To what extent are such ‘standards’ helpful to school leaders in rendering an account to their line managers and the public at large?

  • What counts as evidence of meeting these ‘standards’?

H Wildy 2007

Problems with standards as lists
Problems with ‘ schoolsstandards as lists’

  • fragmented

  • leads to checklist

  • false dichotomies

  • decontextualised

  • A fulsome list of duties, but where are the standards?

H Wildy 2007

  • Short shrift to long lists schoolswhich only show

  • Fragmentation, not interrelationships

  • Reduction, not complexity

  • Dichotomous, not variable

  • Duties, not essential qualities

  • Descriptions, not standards

H Wildy 2007

Alternative approach
Alternative approach schools

  • Research 1996-1997, 2003-2005 funding by ARC and WA DET (Wildy, Louden, Andrich)

  • Judgements about the quality of performance depicted in 200 narrative accounts of school leaders at work

  • More than 2 000 ratings and 5 000 descriptions

H Wildy 2007

5 leadership framework wa
5. Leadership Framework (WA) schools

  • Developed over 9 years

  • Grounded in leaders’ practice

  • Based in rigorous research

  • Funded by commonwealth and state grants

  • Developed collaboratively

H Wildy 2007

Rasch analysis
Rasch analysis schools

  • Narratives arrayed on continua

  • Narratives clustered

  • High, middle, low performance

  • Three levels of performance i.e. standards

H Wildy 2007

Qualitative data
Qualitative data schools

  • Attributes that distinguish quality of performance of leaders

    • Fair

    • Decisive

    • Collaborative

    • Flexible

    • Innovative

    • Supportive

    • Tactful

    • Persistence

H Wildy 2007

Not what but how
Not schoolswhat but how

  • Factors that differentiate performance relate not to what leaders do but how they do what they do

H Wildy 2007

Attributes of leaders
Attributes of leaders schools

  • Attributes are how leaders do what they do (competencies) in particular contexts

  • And we use attributes for

    • reflection

    • professional development

    • selection

H Wildy 2007

Wa leadership framework
WA Leadership Framework schools

H Wildy 2007

6 summary
6. Summary schools

Thinking about leadership has shifted dramatically over the past century.

This approach to standards

  • Based on a few easily remembered attributes

  • Provides richly illustrated levels

  • Takes account of variation in context

  • Acknowledges complexity

  • Recognises dilemmas

  • Identifies balance between competing pressures

    To what extent are you ready to lead and to develop others to lead in your school?

H Wildy 2007