ERG SES G13, Management in Education
Despite recent attention to alternative leadership globally (Bush, 2008; Manz & Neck, 2004), many Namibian principals may still use the instructional leadership (Ministry of Education, 1993). The study intends to examine how self-leadership is operationalized as a model for effective leadership in Namibian schools and how this leadership model contributes to sustainable quality education through behavioural-focused strategies, natural rewards strategies, and constructive thought strategies (Manz and Neck, 2004; Neck and Manz, 2010). Given the background of the study, the main research question is: How do teachers experience self-leadership be a possible leadership style for school principals in Namibia?
Leadership as a generic concept involves the influence of leaders over their followers. This is generally an outside-focused view of leadership, which does not recognize the influence that leaders exercise themselves. Whilst leadership looks at influencing others, self-leadership gives more emphasis on a person. This accentuates that people lead themselves and they are their own ultimate leaders. Accordingly, the concept of self-leadership is that the principals have the ability to control their personal actions and to harness their personal strengths, which is central to school leadership.
An effective principal is not egoistic but strive to achieve a balance between focusing on the cohesiveness of a work group and/or organization and focusing on the value of and identity of each individual teacher. Therefore, self-leadership does not only favour the work group or organization but encourages individuals to find their own personal identity and mode of contribution as part of establishment of a group or organization that produces synergistic performance (Manz and Neck, 2004). Lumby and English (2009, p. 112) concur that contemporary leaders must have identities to work with an increasingly differentiated clientele and to move within and across multiple groups within his or her spheres of work and influence.
The study integrates transformational, transactional, and instructional and distributed leadership, which hinges well on self-leadership. Whereas transformational and transactional leadership centres on the levels of followers’ effort and performance (Bass, 1985; Seltzer & Bass, 1990), distributed leadership supports instructional leadership of decrease the autonomy of the leader and emphasizes the follower’s involvement. (Marks and Printy, 2003). Their contributions link with self-leadership specifically in the case of the unfavourable relationship between the principals and teachers and hence the functioning of the schools in Namibia ( Manz and Neck, 2004 ).
Self-leadership is potentially essential for the development of principals in Namibian schools. Van Zyl (2009, p. 83) argues that “Focusing on the exposure of self-leadership concepts like self-evaluation, self-knowledge and self-development from young age, will however help to let Africans realize the importance of self-leadership and leadership development strategies”. Principals may apply and implement self-leadership as a possible alternative to enhance the quality education in the Namibian school context.
The study draws from international literatures on the workings of the self-leadership in individualistic and collectivist cultures. Alves, Manz, Matsypura, Toyasaki, & Ke (2006) study shows the difference between social relationships of the individualism and the collectivism. Self-leadership in individualistic culture is guided by more personal interest, material rewards and short-term objectives while those in collectivist cultures are guided more by groups, communal or shared principles (Neck and Manz, 2010). In terms of the collectivist ideologies, both Confucianism and Ubuntuism philosophies are characterized by the social interdependence which challenges the American individualist concept of self. Using philosophy of Ubuntu may help Namibian principals striving for success to enhance effective leadership and meaningful followership that may translate to a collective solidarity among teachers (Msila, 2008).
References Alves, J.C., Lovelace, K.J, Manz, C.C., Matsypura, D., Toyasaki, F., & Ke, K.G. (2006) A cross-cultural perspective of self-leadership. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 21(4),338-359. Bass, B.M., (1985). “Leadership: Good, Better, Best”, Organizational Dynamics, pp. 26 – 40. Bush, T. (2008). Leadership and management development in education. London. Sage. Cordeiro, P. A. and Cunningham, W.G. (2013). Educational leadership: A bridge to improved practice. (5th Edition). Pearson. Creswell, J.W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. London: Sage. Creswell, J.W. (2009). Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. London: Sage. Manz, C.C. and Neck, C.P. (2004) Mastering self-leadership: Empowering Yourself for Personal Excellence, 3rd ed., Pearson Prentice Hall. Marks, H.M. and Printy, S.M. (2003). Principal leadership and school performance: An integration of transformational and instructional leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 39(3), pp. 370 – 397. Ministry of Education and Culture (1993). Toward education for all. A development brief for education, culture and training. Macmillan. Msila, V. (2008). Ubuntu and school leadership. Journal of Education, 44, 67-84. Neck, C.P. and Manz, C.C. (2010). Mastering self-leadership. Empowering yourself for personal excellence. 6th edition. Pearson Education. Patton, M.Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage. Seltzer, J. & Bass, B.M. (1990). “Transformational leadership: Beyond Initiation and consideration”, Journal of Management, pp. 693 – 703. van Zyl, E. (2009). Self-leadership and leadership development. in van Zyl, E. (Ed.). Leadership in the context of standards-based reform. International Perspectives. Springer.
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