Searching for Effective People-Centered Leadership Approaches in Schools

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Abstract

Conscientious school principals in underperforming schools will continuously search for leadership styles that would improve teacher commitment and learner performance in their schools. All are aware that the school’s success and failures are attributed to those at the helm of schools. This qualitative study focused on twelve school principals from mainly historically black schools who were interviewed on the potential of spiritual leadership. They had learned spiritual leadership in a workshop coordinated by the principals themselves. Selected through convenience sampling, the participants shared rich experiences on spiritual leadership. The conclusions demonstrate that several school leaders are aware of the complex nature of leadership, although sometimes they may not know how to resolve various challenges. However, they know about the value of models that embrace people-centeredness and consensus. In this study, the participants underscored the value of spirituality in guiding schools to success. They also concurred that relationship-based education is, in many situations, ideal. Leadership should move from the authenticity of the heart to a connection with all the followers. Change may be sluggish in spiritual leadership, the journey arduous, but the results are worthwhile. The spirit in spiritual leadership binds all in the organization and promotes not only oneness and caring, but also productivity. The major findings spell out that school leaders’ may need to transcend or move beyond their own psychological confines to experience how things are in reality. The participants also understood the value of moving with followers, finding themselves as they journey forward, building the school as an organization. In spiritual leadership, the principals found an interconnection amongst the school’s role-players and the expression of factors such as compassion, caring, and charting a vision for commitment within a community.