Authoritarian VS Participative School Leadership

When evaluating the success of a school, one of the most important characteristics of the school is what kind of leader is responsible for the school. Whoever the leader, their leadership style can plan an important role in determining the effectiveness the school. It is important that parents be aware of the various leadership styles when making an intelligent decision about which school to enroll their children. The two leadership styles that are most prevalent in our schools are authoritarian and participative.
This leadership style is very dominating, and this person makes every decision in the building. This kind of leadership is concerned with doing everything in the building their way, regardless of the outcome. He/she will be on every committee, and will be in command of all meetings. Generally, the school is very orderly because of the fear of the leader.
When you work under this kind of leadership everyone will know their role. The leader will make sure everyone knows what is expected of them, and they will have little or no input on their role. This is because the leader will dictate all roles in the building.
Procedures in the building will have to be followed by students and staff. Students who violate rules will be punished according to the policies of the school. Staff member have to be very obedient to the leader or risk losing their job. Most procedures and rules were crafted by the leader, and he/she do not deviate from them.
Both staff and parents may not feel they are a part of the school, because the leader dictates the operation of everything. The many talents and skills of the staff may not be utilized because of the dominate style of the leader. Staff members normally don’t have a buy-in attitude. Sometimes this has led to tension in the building, and staff members leaving the school.
The participative leadership style is completely opposite of the authoritarian style. This leader encourages input from staff and parents. This style normally has led to “buy-in” from all parties. This style allows decision to be made based on what the majority decides.
These leaders generally have an open-door policy for students, staff, and parents. He/she will not serve on all committees in the building, but will have a representative on all committees. Because of the respect that exists, committees will still solicit the leaders’ opinion.
This kind of leader will know how to utilize his or her staff and get the most productivity from them. This style generally involves the school working as a team, which empowers the staff to make decisions. Everyone in the building generally is supportive of this kind of leadership style.
These schools are generally very positive because everyone is working on the same page. The staff believes they are doing a good job of educating the children, and they feel comfortable enough to enroll their own children in the school. The staff has first hand knowledge of what is happening in the school because they help develop policies and procedures.
Most importantly, the participative leadership style has a positive effect on the students in the building. Generally, students’ discipline problems are fewer, because students respect an administration that seems concerned about them. The positive atmosphere motivates the students to perform to the best of their ability, which eliminates much of the negative behavior. Students will be encouraged to participate in clubs, organization and the overall school functions.
These two leadership styles are the most prevalent in our schools. Parents need to investigate the leadership style of the schools their children are enrolled, and ask themselves, will my children learn in this kind of environment?

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