26 SES 08 B, Principal Leadership Styles
Performance management as the overarching activity and process but specifically the performance appraisal is a certainty in all schools. All teachers in South Africa are officially part of a performance management process because they must annually complete the Integrated Quality Management System (IQMS) forms. Appraisal is generally experienced as a negative activity especially in underperforming schools. The purpose of performance management and therefore appraisal as sub function this process may have many purposes. This paper will give attention to the supposed purpose of development and improvement of individual and organizational performances. The assumption is that if individuals improve their performance the school will also be able to achieve its goals; in this case of improved quality education as stated in examination results.
The research question driving this research is: Which leadership style do principals experience as more successful to motivate teachers to improve their individual performances in under performing schools?
Principals will use a personal leadership style which will be on a continuum from democratic (participative) to a more autocratic (coercive) style to motivate teachers to improve their quality of teaching. The leadership style forms the foundation for principal’s actions, interactions and methods to motivate (move) teachers towards improved performance. Individuals will react differently and individually on the leadership style depending on their own perception of the leadership style. The leadership style may be experience as acceptable and positive motivation, e.g. more participative actions or rather a threating (coercive) style; but for the principal the purpose is to improve the quality. Therefore the psychological aspect of the appraisal may be more important than the actual technicalities of the appraisal instrument to move teachers to improve their performance in underperforming schools. Internal motivational factors versus external motivation, which may include more coercive leadership styles, may therefore have equal importance and potential positive results in the improvement of teacher’s performance.
The objective of the research is therefore to determine what principal’s experience as a more successful leadership to move the teachers to improve their individual performances. The context of the school, e.g. infra-structure may play an important role but the psyche of the teacher is more important. Do teachers experience their own position threatened and therefore may react positively on the leadership style of the principal?
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