06 September 2009


Effective Leadership 1

In order to examine and analyze the above quote it will be necessary to define and understand the terms that Sergiovanni uses. First, what is meant by, “truly effective schools”? Cohorts believed that to be ‘truly effective’ included, but went beyond high standardized test scores. “High performance districts thrive off of a team effort that begins with administration and filters down to the student body. Schools are looked at as a learning community/family environment were high standards are placed on both teachers and students (Daniels, 2000).

Furthermore, if we equate our high performing districts as those which attend to personal development. we are describing the formula for an ideal "family" unit or a successful business that encourages the participation of all the members. It really makes sense actually when you think about it because it is about healthy dynamics within a group where there is authority but also order, protocol, comfort, encouragement, empowerment and not an organization fraught with chaos and rule by intimidation (Frangos, 2000).

Also, relationships were built based on honesty, respect and trust. Each person has a vested interest in the success of the educational system because they were an integral partner in its development. They feel a sense of ownership, which increases the likelihood of increased participation. When individuals work together with a common goal, the synergistic possibilities are infinite. The end result of a high performing district is inevitable (Whalen, 2000). “High performing districts are people centered where trust and respect exist. I believe that there are too many districts out there where this is not true (Cimino, 2000). This definition of what it means to be a truly effective school is not just an ideal held by college students in ivory towers, but is consistent with the NEA’s perspective as well, “High performing districts attend to the

Ethical Leadership 2

Personal development and interpersonal relationships of all stakeholders, operate on democratic principles, think and act systemically, seek external partners and perspectives, and establish an inviting and inclusive sense of community (Barkley, 1997). Next, Sergiovanni expresses that “truly effective schools are those with a shared covenant”. The usage of the word covenant is intentional and purposeful. Covenant is defined as (1) a formal and binding agreement entered into by two or more persons or parties; a compact (2) God’s promises to mankind as set forth in the Bible (Doubleday, 1975). The term covenant has definite spiritual connotations in our society today, which is consistently eluded to by Sergiovanni.

"Instead of continuing to import corporate views of leadership to schools, we should return to our roots. The roots of school leadership are not found in providing visionary leadership as described by corporate writers, but in serving the common good, in ministering to the needs of the school, and in providing the oversight that protects the school and keeps it on a true course, clarifying purposes, promoting unity, and helping people to understand the problems they face and to find solutions (Sergiovanni, 1996) Book review comments, regarding his book, “Moral Leadership - Getting to the Heart of Reform” are as follows, “by the last quarter of the book one is comfortable with phrases like "covenantal relationship," "sacred authority," and "servant leadership" in a mainstream book about regular schools.

These values, usually "thought to be weak, impressionistic concepts, and more myth than reality" (p. 13) are shown to be not only fundamental to the creation of healthy schools in ordinary circumstances, but practical as well.” (Zuckerman, 1992) Clearly, it is by design that Sergiovanni uses vernacular that plainly implies spirituality. Moral connections grounded in cultural norms are central to Sergiovanni's theory of school leadership. "Moral connections come from the duties teachers, parents, and students accept.

Ethical Leadership 3

The obligations they feel toward others, and toward their work. Obligations result from common commitments to shared values and beliefs, he writes (Sergiovanni, 1997). Why is there such a need for ethical spirituality in American schools? “In 1963 the Supreme Court ruled in Abington Township v. Schempp that Bible reading and prayer were banned in public school classrooms.

What was not foreseen, however, was that the censorship of prayer and sectarian theology would also result in the banishment of values. The vacuum inevitably was filled with moral relativism. Because of the undermining of America's moral foundation, we see the guns-and-metal-detectors world of 2000, where veteran public school teachers and administrators yearn for the days when the worst offenses involved spitballs and smoking (cigarettes) in the lavatory. The public school system will never recover unless the American people restore to it at least some measure of ideological unity (Weinig, 2000). In his article, The 10 Worst Educational Disasters of the 21st Century, in EducationWeek, Weinig places the 1963 church-state court decisions as number one.

The Association of Supervision and Curriculum (ASCD) resounds Weinigs views, “America's public schools should be giving students more moral education, according to a report by a national organization that focuses on curriculum development and teaching procedures. American schools were founded with moral purpose, and offered moral education until the 1960s. Since that time, he said, schools have "stepped back" from their responsibility to teach morality. The report noted increasing public concern over adolescent emotional problems, rising teenage suicide and murder, and unwed mothers.

The report also cited public opinion polls which indicate that most Americans favor the teaching of moral behavior by public schools.” (ASCD, 1988) “The concern over matters of curricula extend far beyond the effectiveness with which the basic subjects are taught (Bush, 2000).

Ethical Leadership 4

Our rational trajectory has failed to solve deepening problems in the workplace” and schools (Bolman & Deal, 1995). “Separation of church (religion) and work is absurd – we can’t park our beliefs at the door. Spirituality is the basic desire to find ultimate meaning and purpose in ones' life and to live an integrated live. The search for meaning, purpose, wholeness and integration is a constant, never-ending struggle (confining this search to off hours violates the basic integrity people have of themselves as whole persons) (Mitroff, 2000). The taboo against talking about spiritual matters in the public sphere-robs people of the strength of courage, of the strength of heart to do what deep down they believe to be right (Bolman & Deal, 1995).

Therefore effective leaders are those who lead from within, and are in touch with their spirit-man. “The heart of leadership is in the hearts of leaders. You have to lead from something deep in your heart. We relegate spirituality to churches, temples, and mosques—for those who still attend them. We shun it at work. Spirituality is beyond us, and yet is in everything we do. It is extraordinary, and yet is extraordinarily simple (Bolman & Deal, 1995).

In his text, Moral Leadership: Getting to the Heart of School Reform, Sergiovanni frames moral leadership into three basic categories; the heart, the head, and the hand. Each of these areas become intertwined. The heart represents what one values and believes, the head signifies the mindscape of how the world works, and the hand shows one’s decisions, actions and behaviors. (This view of moral leadership is not new, Booker T. Washington founded Tuskeegee Institute on these same life principles).

Leading is giving. Leadership is an ethic (Bolman & Deal, 1995) it is easy to identify clear links and application of this type of leadership style with the Symbolic Frame of Organizational.

Ethical Leadership 5

Processes. Bolman and Deal equated their four-frame model of organizations to factories, families, jungles and temples. In a temple there is spirituality, not in the religious sense but in the sense that organizations are communities of conviction, held together by commonalties such as traditions, myths, rituals, ceremonies, values and beliefs. Leaders of temples must be spiritual. They guide people toward meaning and faith in work; they nourish commitment and loyalty; and, they comfort those whose faith in work may be burning out. Spiritual leaders offer the gift of significance, rooted in confidence that the work is worthy of one’s efforts, and the institution deserves one’s commitment and loyalty (Bolman & Deal, 1997).

Sergiovanni (1987:104) describes symbolic leaders as high priests who "define, strengthen, and articulate those enduring values, beliefs, and cultural standards that give the school its unique identity over time. Included in his description of activities related to symbolic leadership is the idea of developing and displaying a system of symbols over time. The lessons of the power of symbols to enhance the leadership of superintendents apply equally to other administrative roles in a school district.

Within the parameters of their role as directors of curriculum, staff development, or human resources, all central-office administrators can profit from capitalizing upon the symbolic aspects of their position. A building administrator can very quickly bring the benefits of symbolic leadership to improving the organizational culture of his/her school. Symbolic leadership provides a potent tool for improving organizational culture at every level of school district operations (McAdams & Zinck, 1998).

Sergiovanni does not simply speak of covenants, but of shared covenants. This means a “shift from leader-centered change to community interdependence that forms the basis of Sergiovanni's thesis that he wishes to lessen the influence of leadership. Technique and even charisma can stretch only so far; only the obligations and energy flowing from membership in a covenantal.

Ethical Leadership 6

Community are sufficient to guide and inspire the many players students, teachers, parents, and administrators necessary to the running of a good school. In that change the role of the hierarchical leader is to become steward; by becoming the servant of the whole s/he gains the moral authority to guide right action without needing to control it (Sergiovanni, 1992). Good connections are complex, not simple; they take time to build. Creating a community of mind means acknowledging differences, wanting to learn from them, and working for closer agreement. The biggest difference is achieved through building strong informal relationships, being willing to share power that benefits students and committing to learn from each other (Fullan, 1998).

Isn't it ironic? The thing that is needed regarding whole school reform, to a great extent, is simply connectedness, bonds, and the like. These things take time to develop, which yield better quality learning, meanwhile we often short circuit taking the time to develop these things in our quest for performance. Reflecting back to the quote that frames this paper, let us now examine the phrase, “clearly articulating the school’s core values and providing standards by which actions will be judged.

Core values are encompassed in a school’s vision and mission statement. One of the crucial purposes of supervision must be to articulate a vision and take the lead in its unfoldment (Cranston 1993, p.41). A worthy vision is the ‘glue’ needed to hold divergent views, values and beliefs sufficiently together that, respecting differences, an organizational synergism can be achieved (McAdams & Zinck, 1998). Schools are likely to be more successful in achieving in-depth learning when leaders work with staff and the community to build a collective educational vision that is clear, compelling, and connected to teaching and learning. This collective vision helps focus attention on what is important, motivates staff and students, and increases the sense.

Ethical Leadership 7

Of shared responsibility for students learning, it should have a clear and shared sense of purpose focused on student learning (Betances, 1992). A good vision not only has worthy goals, but also challenges and stretches everyone in the organization. Organizations advance when a clear, widely understood vision creates tension between the real and the ideal, pushing people to work together to reduce the gap (Fritz, 1996). Many leaders believe vision development is a straight forward task of articulating a statement of beliefs and then implementing it. However, some studies suggest that vision is more of an evolutionary process than a one-time event, a process that requires continuous reflection, action, and reevaluation ach day is an opportunity to come closer to your perceived ideal. (Hong, 1996) Both talk and action are necessary.

A good vision not only has worthy goals, but also challenges and stretches everyone in the organization. Teachers work very much in isolation, she explains. It's hard for them to make sense of the changing nature of the environment. So the principal provides a common definition of what the teachers are doing, one that both unites and moves them forward (Keller, 1998). Organizations advance when a clear, widely understood vision creates tension between the real and the ideal, pushing people to work together to reduce the gap (Fritz, 1996).

Many leaders believe vision development is a straight forward task of articulating a statement of beliefs and then implementing it. However, some studies suggest that vision is more of an evolutionary process than a one-time event, a process that requires continuous reflection, action, and reevaluation ach day is an opportunity to come closer to your perceived ideal. (Hong, 1996) Both talk and action are necessary. No matter who creates the vision the principal is its chief instigator, promoter, and guardian (Lashway, 1997). How will we as leaders facilitate vision in our schools? We must communicate and implement vision. No matter how inspiring it sounds on paper, the dream will wither unless it takes concrete.

Ethical Leadership 8

Form in policies, programs, and procedures (Starratt, 1995). Above all principals must create a climate and a culture for change. They do this by speaking about the vision often and enthusiastically; by encouraging experiments; by celebrating successes and forgiving failures; and by remaining steadfast in the face of the inevitable problems and missteps. Providing a standard by which actions will be judged is an essential accompaniment to shared vision. Current thinking on principals has identified several characteristics that are important in providing sound leadership. A good principal:

  1. Recognizes teaching and learning as the main business of a school;

  2. Communicates the school's mission clearly and consistently to staff members, parents, and students;

  3. Fosters standards for teaching and learning that are high and attainable;

  4. Provides clear goals and monitors the progress of students toward meeting them;

  5. Spends time in classrooms and listening to teachers;

  6. Promotes an atmosphere of trust and sharing;

Builds a good staff and makes professional development a top concern; and

  1. Does not tolerate bad teachers (Keller, 1998)

As Sergiovanni says, in the quote we have been contemplating, leaders must not only take the lead in formulating the covenant, but actively support and enforce it. Leadership effects school climate, and school climate effects the learning environment. Curriculum will be impacted by the vision, values, and climate/culture of the school. Senge believes that the best results come from smaller, more focused efforts, rather than from large.

Ethical Leadership 9

Scale efforts. He advocates a direct, intense, draining style of interpersonal leadership style so that performance can be monitored to ensure that things are going the way they should (Senge, 1998). One rule of thumb for me is do as i do, not as i say which meant that I had to work closely with staff, parents and students to put into place the structures, process and procedures which would enable us to begin to move towards achieving the commitment we had made.” (Buchanan 1998)

Leadership that serves school purposes, leadership that is tough enough to demand a great deal from everyone, and leadership that is tender enough to encourage the heart these are the images of leadership we need for schools as communities (Sergiovanni, 1997).

Leadership effects school climate, and school climate effects the learning environment. Curriculum will be impacted by the vision, values, and climate/culture of the school. There are cultural norms that facilitate school improvement. A servant leader will foster these norms, such as, critical inquiry and relationships. Successful schools do not suppress criticism but instead provide a positive and constructive atmosphere in which criticism can occur (Druian & Butler, 1987). The informal rules that govern behavior in schools appear to play a significant role in school improvement efforts.

Also, teacher development must move center stage in school improvement. Most staff developers would agree that the goal of staff development is change in individual’s knowledge, understanding, behaviors, skills, and in values and beliefs. Staff development and change process are cut from the same cloth (Joyce & Showers, 1980). An important leadership responsibility of leaders who work within the cultural perspective is supporting collegial interactions between teachers (Sergiovanni & Corbally, 1986). Successful school programs have in common a model of community, an extended family where achievement is important and so is caring for one another (Wehlage, 1988)

Ethical Leadership 10

Lastly, in regards to analyzing our initial quote, Sergiovanni says, when a vital standard is ignored, principals should lead by outrage. It would seem rather obvious that aspiring managers and leaders should be taught about courage as well as how to act courageously, for the good of their organization and everyone associated with it depends upon the manager or leader standing for something (Sergiovanni, 1992).

As Larry Lashway expressed it, students of ethics are unanimous on one point: moral leadership begins with moral leaders. To be an ethical school leader, then, is not a matter of following a few simple rules. The leader’s responsibility is complex and multi-dimensional, rooted less in technical expertise than in simple human integrity (Lashway, 1996).


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