Duignan (2006) describes the distinguishing characteristics of successful educational leadership and the challenges educational leaders may face. He identified several key areas of successful practice and challenges such as:

Providing a values-driven vision

  1. Capacity to provide a vision for the future by inspiring, motivating and sharing with all members of the school community. Drawing all staff together to take the group forward rather than filling gaps to perceived emergencies
  2. Ensuring clear purpose, inspirational communication and agreed shared values and beliefs is necessary to drive the vision forward. Shared and distributed leadership is essential to meet a range of educational responsibilities

Managing Staff Relationships

  1. Effective relationships is the energy source of leadership. Valuing others is the key to authentic relationships. Empowering others, delegating authority and trusting people underpins leader-staff relationships to link strategic purpose to everyday practice
  2. Ensuring that a breach of trust doesn’t result in a revert back to classical organisational models of leadership. Relationship building is seen as taking too much time and resources. But that relationship building is a core way to value all that work in the organisation

Leading People

  1. Distinguish between personal and professional relationships but professional relationships must have a personal dimension within a professional framework
  2. Professional relationships must be predicated on the Core values which include valuing students and how relationships serve the needs of the students and community
  3. Challenge of dealing with poor performance and actions such as ignoring the situation can lead to more tension and difficulties. Employment contract/hard to find solutions

Balancing Personal and Professional Responsibilities

  1. Problematic to maintain a balance between professional and personal responsibilities – thrown ‘off/out of’ balance with work lives dominating their personal lives. Imposition on private time to an unacceptable level is now a characteristic of the public sector
  2. Feeling of being ‘inundated’ = to achieve same or greater outcomes with fewer resources

Leading continuous change

  1. Recognising that everyone is not going to ‘come on board’ immediately or short-term with new ways of thinking and doing. Engage openly with those who are affected by change-research says recovery is quick if losses are openly discussed
  2. Leaders of change – remind that ‘change causes transitions which causes losses –  and it’s the losses not the changes that they are reacting to.’ ‘It’s a piece of their world that is being lost not ours.’

Reading 1.13 – Duignan, P. (2006). Educational Leadership: Key challenges and ethical tensions for educational leaders. New York: Cambridge University Press. pp. 21 – 41.