Educational Leadership and the Entrepreneurial Spirit

In the annals of leadership history, one of the standouts will undoubtedly be Steve Jobs, CEO and Co-Founder of Apple Computers, and now a force to be reckoned with at Disney, Inc.. His influence has been felt not only in the computer industry, but the entertainment industry has become the recipient of his need to affect technology forever.

There are numerous descriptors for Jobs which give insight into his philosophy of leadership. One of the key features of his leadership is his entrepreneurial spirit. In this spirit is his need to fully understand, and engage in, all aspects of his creations. He has grown most of his endeavors from seedlings. Apple Computers, NEXT, and to some degree even Pixar, have been built from nothing, with most becoming successful ventures. In a BusinessWeek interview in 2004, Jobs shared, “I did everything coming up – shipping, sales, supply chain, sweeping the floors, buying chips, you name it. I put computers together with my own two hands. As the industry grew up, I kept on doing it.” In spite of the numerous projects or activities that tug at his time, and the numerous distractions that could interfere with his ability to meet his primary goals, he refuses to be removed from each component of the work. Educational leaders must develop the same entrepreneurial spirit. They must understand each component of the work at a deep level. It means applying this understanding in creating and developing an educational institution that addresses the needs of all students, staff, and school community. It also means not allowing themselves to get distracted.

But how can educational leaders, who spend the majority of their time implementing the laws, policies, and compliance driven mandates, find the time and space to become more independent and refocused? Applying the entrepreneurial spirit the way Jobs has applied it to his work means becoming clear on the creation. Educational leaders must be clear on what it is they wish to create. If in a school, what kind of school community does the leader wish to create? If in an office, what kind of division, program, or district does the educational leader wish to create? Once it has been identified, the rest of the work is about building it with the same intensity Jobs built Apple Computers.

A good start is for educational leaders to get up off their chairs and leave their offices. They must start spending time with those doing the work. Visit classrooms, walk around the campus and the school community. Speak with the students, the faculty, and the staff. Attend faculty meetings. Department and grade-level meetings are great settings to participate in meaningful conversation about the work. Get out into the community, speak with the shop owners. Meet with members of the school community through community meetings. Attend events sponsored by organizations in the community. Use the information gleaned to learn about the school, division, or district – it also has the nurturant effect of helping leaders build stronger relationships.

But to fully understand what, in fact, the school, division, or district, is about, collect data and study it closely. The data collected includes test scores, performance evaluations, work samples and other artifacts, observations, communiques, etc. How are students and teachers performing? How is the staff producing? How is the community contributing? The results of this assessment dictates how the leaders’ time should be spent, and how their role will be applied. More importantly, it can serve as validation for developing a stronger spirit of entrepreneurship; it is a belief that it is up to the leader to create the future he/she wishes to see in the school, division, district.

© 2006. Luis R. Valentino

Why Choose an Online College Degree in Education?

Whether you want to be a teacher for young elementary students or as an online teacher for foreign students, having an online college degree in education is one of the best options.

Pursuing an online college degree in education means total commitment to teach other people. The field of education is vast. It is considered as one of the best degrees out there because of the opportunities it offers after graduation. Getting yourself an online degree will prepare you on how to handle students of varying age group and sharing your knowledge with them.

Some of the popular online education degrees are:

Online Accredited Degrees for Teaching in K-12 – This is the basic online degree which includes childhood and elementary education. Also in this online college degree for middle and secondary school is included, thus allowing you to teach many subjects.

Curriculum Design – this degree specializes on the creation of instructions and curriculum assessment for the different categories of schooling.

Educational Administration -this specialization focuses on supervision and educational leadership. Educational Leadership Courses – These courses will help you prepare for a career in community college, higher education or adult leadership. This can be taken during the Masters and PhD level.

Educational Technology- this online college degree in education specializes in the use of technology. By using technology, men will learn fast and they can teach more things to their students. This degree allows you to integrate the technology to the traditional way of teaching. Special Education -this online degree specialization is suited for those who are interested to help those students with special needs.

Requirements Needed for an these Online Degrees

Your requirement is dependent on the specialization you choose. These online college degrees usually require around thirty six to sixty semester hours. Other programs will include a continuing education on Master’s Degree if you have already a bachelor’s degree of your specialization. GRE test score is also a requirement for some online schools. Other special requirements like TOEFL may be required if you are applying from overseas.

The Future with Your Degree

Job availability is never a problem. There are thousands of schools which needs teachers and you only need to find one which compliments you. It is projected that employment growth for teachers will be 12% for the years to come. The annual earnings of a teacher may it be Elementary, Middle or Secondary Education, ranged from $43,580 to 48,690. So if you are looking for a job that has higher retention and good pay, then all the more reasons for you to go get your online college degree in education

Leadership Career Schooling Possibilities

Degrees in leadership are available to students through a variety of accredited educational institutes. Students can prepare fro their desired career by studying for a leadership degree in the field of management. Coursework will vary by school and level of degree but can provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to start the career they desire. Students have the opportunity to pursue degree training at an associates, bachelors, masters, or doctorates degree in the field.

Associate Degree
Students should expect to spend around two years of study on an accredited associate’s degree in leadership. Coursework will vary but may consist of studying subjects like psychology, human relations, finance, computer science, planning, communication, organization, and many other related areas of study. With an associate level degree students should expect to obtain the skills and knowledge needed for a variety of career choices. Pursuing a degree at this level in leadership will prepare students for employment as:

  • publishers
  • general managers
  • sales managers
  • corporate recruiters
  • bank supervisor

Accredited associate level degree training program will prepare students for employment or further education at a bachelor’s level.

Bachelors Degree
Accredited career training programs allow students to prepare for their desired career in as little as four years. Students will need to study a variety of coursework in order to gain all possible knowledge at this level. Curriculum may cover management theory, purchasing, sociology, organizational leadership, logistics, accounting, behavior, marketing, and much more. Coursework at a bachelor’s degree level will give students the option to study for various careers such as:

  • senior administrator
  • career planner
  • chief executive officer
  • departmental director
  • labor relations manager

Students who choose to receive an accredited bachelor’s level of education can enter the workforce or pursue a graduate degree in the field of leadership.

Graduate Degree
Those who wish to gain a graduate degree can do so at several levels. Students can obtain a masters or doctorates degree in the filed of leadership through various schools and colleges. A master level degree can take an additional two years and a doctorates degree will take an additional four years to earn. Coursework will vary depending on the level of degree, desired career, and educational program of enrollment. Students can study accredited subjects like motivation, methodology, problem solving, critical thinking, customer service, social dynamics, and much more. With knowledge in these areas students can enter into careers like:

  • organizational change consultant
  • operations manager
  • researcher
  • marketing manager
  • professor
  • non-profit director
  • business entrepreneur

Gaining a graduate degree in leadership will help students receive the training they need to succeed in the industry.

By enrolling in an accredited degree program students can gain the quality education they desire. Agencies like the Accrediting Council for Independents Colleges and Schools ( www.acics.org ) are approved to fully accredit schools and colleges. Students can learn more by requesting information from their programs of interest. Enroll today to start the leadership career training you need to enter into an exciting new career.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at PETAP.org.

Copyright 2010 – All rights reserved by PETAP.org.

Book Review on Carlos Ghsosn’s Leadership Style – Shift Inside Nissan’s Historic Revival

Carlos, a son of Lebanese parents born in Brazil, had spent his early life both in Brazil and Lebanon. He had obtained his pre-university education in Lebanon where he proved to be a very intelligent, hard working, and rebellious student (always wanting to learn more and never giving up on solving tough tasks). The teachers respected him and his exceptional math skills coupled with his interests of history, geography, languages and that like would prove to be of great help in his future career. After finishing his education in Lebanon he moved to Paris, France, as many Lebanese students would prove to do, and aspired to attend the most prestigious and demanding education France had to offer. He was diligent enough to enroll in the Ecole Polytechique and Ecole des Mines. He decided that his valuable higher education would be chosen so as to keep the doors open for employment wherever he wants. He did not seek life time employment but constantly sought for life time learning and development. His education gave him just this as well as many contacts and opportunities with companies around France.

He was recruited to Michelin right after graduation. There he would have to undergo an intensive and very meticulous training program which he knew had nothing to do with his higher education (mathematics) but rather the logic derived from there, of problem solving. The training program was designed so as to empower the trainees in solving problems related to the operations of the company, for example, solving engineering issues, manufacturing issues etc. This problem solving training led him to other projects that would eventually help Michelin. He understood he had to be patient and endure the tedious time spent in the shop floor to see how things work in the company, starting from the bottom up. He knew he was educated as a engineer, but would as a result of Michelins training would develop as a manager. His hit came when he was assigned to solve a problem with a subsidiary of Michelin in Germany and to figure out a way to improve its profitability. He spent long working hours and figured out the bits and pieces and suggested solutions to improving the subsidiary. This was to prove a vital step in his restructuring and recovery of firms’ in the future. It was exactly here that he learned and proved that he can bring a division or subsidiary from the doldrums to the bliss of business glory.

Another eagerly anticipated project dealt with the Brazilian division of Michelin which proved to be his vantage point. Since he was emotionally attached to Brazil, the place he spent his early childhood time, there too, he restructured the division, comprehending those elements the previous executives had ignored, and applied rigorous changes that would prove to be very successful. He understood that you cannot apply the same business mentality and operation in Brazil as you would in France (corruption, inflationary economy etc. are just some variables that separate these very different two business worlds apart). Different circumstances call for different solutions and vision. Due to his early achievement in his mid-20s, he rapidly became a manager to be trusted, and who can make an impressive recovery of companies in turmoil. He rose quickly through the Michelin hierarchy, developed very good personal relationships with both, coworkers, but most importantly executives, including the charismatic and considerate and well appreciated CEO of Michelin; who Carlos can only spare good words for. By now he had a wife and children, and he had another project on his hands — to takeover the US Michelin division, which was a big part of Michelins market. He did so, improved the profitability of that division once again and confirmed him as one of the most effective managers.

After his US Michelin quest, he was offered a job he could not refuse — to work for Renault (Frances largest car producer). Not only did his past accomplishments and his excellent management skills lead him to this position, but also the Michelin work with its suppliers, the car industry, helped him understand the car industry in its entirety as well its major opportunities that it offered. There too, he made contacts, had established previous trust in his effective management skills and revived the firm to its glory. Consequently, an alliance between Renault and Nissan was being negotiated and the fit between these two corporate giants was too good to be missed out on.

However, in order for the alliance to reap the full benefits, now in his 40s, Carlos Ghosn had to revive Nissan from its difficult times, especially those experienced during the 1990s. He assembled his executive team and instituted cross-functional teams in the challenge of the Nissan Revival Plan that sought to bring back Nissan to its glorious days. This expedition led him to everything he had accumulated so far, the chal-lenges dealt with: improve performance, major responsibility, challenge culture, relationship building, and creating transparency, devise a clear vision, and use team lea-dership (cross-functional teams). He had to break the cultural boundaries and Japanese traditions which considerable hampered growth and performance of Nissan — this he did with consideration and with great responsibility, transparency and consequently gained trust. This was his natural pinnacle of his career and not only made CEOs rethink the unmanageable adversity of change but he delivered every promise and target he set.

Education and Multi-Cultural Background

Carlos was an intelligent and disciplined child, who showed signs of good organizational and managing skills. He had a strong stance on never giving up on problems that were posed as difficult or complex. He never gave up on finding the solution to problems, and he made it a joy to figure them out. In the book, Carlos quotes his former teacher’s wise words: ‘If you find things complicated, that means you haven’t understood them. Simplicity is the basis of everything’ .

Although he was disciplined in his studies, however, he had a healthy disdain for boring subjects and a challenge towards authority. Other than that he had excellent grades, was very competitively orientated, and went beyond text book learning. As he moved to France, Paris after graduation he finished the notoriously tough Ecole Polythechique, university of engineering. He finished his education with an engineering degree and during his education he was immersed in a international environment with people owning different backgrounds (this would prove to be helpful for a number of reasons). Although, it was a diverse bunch of students, he still felt a bit different due to his even more diverse background (Brazil, Lebanon, France). By his mid-20s he had successfully completed his studies and also got a chance to add a few languages to his portfolio – he had a keen interest in learning languages and social science related issues. But his education was not based on relationships and social sciences stuff, related to managing; rather his education was engineering which included lots of mathematics. This gave him the edge of being able to solve problems logically and rationally, creating analysis based on quantitative measure performance targets.

The Notion of Team Leadership

What Carlos managed to do, especially when he came to Nissan, is to evaluate the company thoroughly to find out the problems that were hindering it from a better performance level. He went by looking for the strengths and weaknesses. After analyzing the situation he set the objectives that Nissan must accomplish. However, he empowered the teams to choose the means to achieve these targets – the freedom to find the best suited way of reaching the target was given to the team. The cross-functional teams would be the chosen method to do so.

As a leader and CEO of Nissan, Carlos understood that Nissan was very vague with its vision and goals. So he decided to create a clear vision and strategy (five year strategy). The first thing a CEO has to acknowledge is that he is a powerful leader and has a certain degree of responsibility attached to this title. Carlos points to that a lead-er such as him has to put a clear vision for the future that everyone in the company must know, and this vision should lead to a strategy with clear goals and targets that have been prioritized. Even more importantly the leader must make sure that the workforce knows how much they have contributed to these goals, a concrete and measurable number that can be put into numbers. Carlos believes this way of measuring objectively the way individuals and teams have contributed to performance of the company (on a yearly or monthly basis) can be more useful for motivating and a base for rewarding employees, than general raises based on subjective views, such as good work on projects.

For the revival plan to succeed the cross-functional teams had to succeed. Carlos specifically chose the people from Renault and Nissan; the prevailing requirement was that the chosen people were culturally conscious to other team members, and that there is a balance of cultural values. In addition, Carlos had to devise a team of execu-tives to appoint to Nissan which possessed a few specific criteria’s: you have to open-minded (especially for cultural differences), enthusiastic, self-motivated and of course a competent individual. The point was not to change Nissan culture just because ‘…of the sake of change; we wanted to make them for the sake of performance. In every step we’ve taken, we’ve been very careful not to institute changes that haven’t been based strictly on the advantages they give us, the progress in company performance that they contribute to.’ By showing that every change made was for the sake of performance and benefit to the company, gradually this change would be approved and accepted, first by the employees and then by the media, for example. This was the key to maintaining trust and face.

Cross-functional teams

The Japanese acknowledgement of team working and especially cross-functional teams was poor. Carlos witnessed that there was a lack of communication and transparency between workers. ‘When you’re in a company that doesn’t work cross functionally, everyone feels satisfied with his own performance and assumes that bad results are someone else’s fault’. It is precisely this that makes the organization work desperately and thus blame is hard to allocate to a specific division or group, especially when the financial accounts cannot show this. As Carlos himself says, cross func-tional teams are a key to his method. He used them throughout the companies he worked for before, and it was important for him to apply it in Nissan as well. The purpose of the teams was to induce change and just through cross-functional teams, unlike doing it from top down, he would achieve this. Carlos cross-functional method and its strength is explained by a passage in the book: ‘… [Cross-functional teams are a] extremely powerful tool for inducing executives to look beyond the functional and spatial boundaries of their direct responsibilities. The idea was to tear down the walls, whether visible or invisible, that reduce a collective enterprise to a congregation of groups and tribes, each with their own language, their own values, their own interests. To compel people to talk to one another, to listen to one another, and to exchange knowledge. That was the essence of their power.’

In Nissan he would create a bit less than a dozen of these teams, intertwining individuals from different and varied departments to be responsible for two tasks and not only what they specialize in. Each team would have two leaders (executives). The ratio-nale around having two leaders is that he wanted to expand the vision of the heads of each department to look beyond their own domain e.g. marketing department. He would bring, for example, head of purchasing and head of research and development in a cross-functional team (CFT) as the two leaders to run the purchasing team together.

Moreover, so the team won’t look like it is being run by two head executives, he appointed a pilot for each time that would arrange the agenda and run dialogue at the team meetings. He served as the real leader of the team to facilitate the exchange of ideas and mitigate the feared presence executives would have upon the team members (dismantling the hierarchy). Choosing the pilots is closely connected with Carlos’s engagement in identifying the future leaders and putting them in this position to develop. The CFT would be on average of about 10 people, and there would be sub-teams of another 10 people in each CFT. Each team and sub team would have their specific goals and questions to solve. Carlos made sure to walk around and listen to all the teams and form and overall opinion of the different CFTs looking for opportun-ities each CFT possessed.

He further explains that these teams were not just a place of exchanging information and ideas, but a place where the best of the companies’ workforce was arranged so as to make them develop and tear down the walls and structural and hierarchical barriers of the organization. Also, the teams were there to challenge the status quo and to look beyond standard procedures but rather at new ways of solving the same problem but in a more effective manner. This would as well prove to provide innovative and diverse thinking.

The skills and traits needed by a leader to run a effective cross-functional teams are based on interpersonal contact, project management skill and political skills. The author has spent a lot of time explaining these issues. For example, political skills he achieved through getting approval from Renaults CEOs as that time that he has the freedom to form his team the way he likes and that he will assist him in all the resources he needs to achieving this task of reviving Nissan. Project management skill is a part of Carlos’s vision and strategy design, and when it comes to specific goals the skill and authority is handed over to the pilot. Interpersonal skills are very important, and Carlos by visiting and monitoring the different CFTs, identifying opportunities and giving them support to avoid unnecessary confrontations. However, technical and cognitive skills are given completely to the teams’ heads to solve, since the CEO cannot commit to this technical tasks that are very time consuming.

Furthermore, by providing a clear vision and promoting it to all the employees together with the targets and how it will improve the firm performance was a motivation in itself for CFTs to work with. He let them select the means to achieve this. Also the sign of flexibility and adaptiveness of the leader role is evident in Carlo’s leadership style and his subordinates leaders he appointed for the CFTs.

Carlos also showed a sign of situational leadership and I quote: ‘If Japan had never started asking itself questions, I would have had to go about things differently. It wouldn’t have been an impossible mission, just a different one. You have to adapt your strategy to fit your circumstances.’ Through out the book he does not stress the leader and follower role directly, but he shows concern for who are his executives and followers, and brings them together so all can interact between each other without much tension. He definitely has to change his strategy as a leader in Japan from that of in the US and France since he is facing a very diverse workforce with strong Japanese traditions that need to be broken down and a company culture other than a Japanese one must be formed.

However, he stressed the most time is spent on figuring out what the problem is of Nissan by paying attention to what people in the company had to say. He points to the fact that exchanging information around the company and outside to understand the situation is vital for management. He claims by understanding the complete situation the forces inside the company that brought the company down for example, (other than external forces that you cannot control) is vital, because he believes the company for most part determines its own faith, it’s the internal happenings that determine the company performance, not so much that of the economy.

Leaders are not born, they are developed by other leaders

I ask myself how does Carlso Ghosn achieve to bring a group of individuals to form a team and for them all to give their maximum. How does he manage to bring a ‘good’ source of people? We usually think that now I am blessed to have a good team of individuals that are hardworking and competent and other times you say, well you cannot get these people all the time, sometimes you just get the wrong people. Well Carlos does not believe in this saying, he is a person who is very much in control of his reality. He says that to get the ‘right’ people, you do not have to go and find them, sometimes they will come to you attracted by an extraordinary challenge. ‘You’ll find people who can rise to it.’ Carlos as the CEO and executive pays a lot of attention to his teams, monitoring them at all time, and makes sure to provide a dose of confidence to reinforce their work. By doing this he claims it’s a ‘good way to educate executives’. Leaders, in his opinion, are developed by other leaders.

Just like the CEO of Michelin helped develop young executives to future leader, like Carlos, by giving great responsibility, so too does Carlos believe. He believes that every CEO has a responsibility to create the leaders of tomorrow by identifying potential competent individuals who are ambitious, and thus sending them to challenging places where their work is difficult, risky but very promising. He wants to shape the leader through letting him or her deal with adversity and challenges, to take responsibility and not by ‘giving them books to read or by having them follow some training course.’

The CEO must assess the risk the prospective leader is going through and provide supportive activities to that leader, so s/he will develop confidence on the way. Mistakes are OK, but there are not many chances a prospective successful leader can burn, so to speak. It is important for a company to coach its prospective managers. The ones who come out as winners from the challenge they faced, are the ones who become the future leaders. Carlos depicts this well by saying: ‘Leaders are formed in the fire of experience, Its up to the head of the company to prepare a new generation and to send them to hot spots as part of their training. He must prepare for a smooth transition by training people, guiding them, pushing them forward, but not too hard.’

Discussion

The good results on performance are just a mere sign of his effective leadership strategies. He has become a sort of idol or role model in Japan – the Japanese made a comic book hero out of him. Appearing in Japanese magazines in a country which lacked a strong leadership role and strong leaders is proof of this. It was used as role model to suggest and inspire the Japanese government in picking up the country out of its problems and this in a country which has a good deal of contempt for foreign firms and managers. Any man who shows tolerance and great responsibility and delivers promised targets with honest work is worth such a reward. His leadership thoughts are very practical and seem to have worked for him and others (followers) through his experience. Two leaderships notions arise: 1) the advantage of cross-functional teams serving as coherent link between departments uniting the organization, so as to acquaint everybody with everything related to the organizations functions; diverse opinions, thoughts, ideas flourish in this setting, leading to a more inter-active and dynamic process of achieving set goals and targets.

The second is, the responsibility of CEO’s and executives have on empowering, supporting and creating leaders out of potential managers in their firm. This he stresses is very important. Also, his background is very well suited for achieving this. It is this combination of a manager and leader that he fits in so well with. On one hand he aligns objectives and strategies so well, motivates and organizes teams, supporting them, building strong and thriving communication links between them, achieving a coherent company identity through providing a clear vision and communicating it clearly to everybody, developing the people who show potential, and at the same time sustaining social and ethical righteousness. These are some of the issues you as a reader can pull out out from the authors experience but also find in the leadership literature.

What Have You Done for Me Lately? A Lesson in the Lack of Leadership

Leadership and retention are two areas that create a lot of trouble for companies, especially when they do them wrong. I can remember the first day on the job with a large national sales force. I was attending a monthly meeting at one of the regional manager’s sales team locations. The sales manager walked into the conference room, looked around at each member of the sales force momentarily, and then asked this question: What are you going to do for me this month? I can remember thinking…WOW; did I just hear him correctly? What are they going to do for him? I couldn’t believe what I had just heard. It made me start to question my employment with this organization.

As I looked into the team more closely, I found that they lacked consistency in their production, they had a high turnover rate and after speaking with several members, their attitudes were bad and their spirits were down trodden. All of my leadership training and development had taught me being a leader is about what we can do for those we lead. Regardless of the level, keep in mind one important aspect of leadership: you lead people.

A leader is responsible for taking care of their employees. This means they must:

  • Creating a disciplined environment where workers can train and grow
  • Hold employees to high standards
  • Train employees to do their jobs (includes coaching and/or mentoring)
  • Treat workers fairly
  • Share in their hardships
  • Set the example

Follow these six principles and you’ll never have to worry whether or not any of your employees are questioning their employment with your company.

Better Schools With a PhD in Educational Leadership

A teaching establishment made up of the best teaching staff and smartest students do not get to where they are without a good leader spearheading the way. To ensure the continual supply of good leadership in the field of education, it is towards the advantage of current and prospective school leaders to obtain a PhD in Educational Leadership. The aim of this doctorate program is to instill leadership skills in the areas of management and administration of a teaching environment.

As teachers have their hands full with teaching and promoting students’ progress, principals need to ensure their school performance is heading towards the achievement of educational objectives. By participating in this PhD program, the candidate is exposed to the workings of a good school, well-oiled and fine-tuned to near perfection. By delving into historical and current statistics, the candidate then understands why his or her school is what it is. Upon knowing what to look for, careful research can then be conducted into areas which are sorely in need of improvement. New areas of potential can also be added to the pipeline as fear of the unknown is countered with strategies and sound plans.

Human resource is always an area which needs a leader’s attention. In the event teachers are overworked or under utilized, the principal needs to take steps to rectify the situation. As part of the PhD in Education Leadership program, the candidate is exposed to what others have successfully implemented in their schools or is challenged to come up with new strategies. Student affairs are also a veritable area for serious address. Due to the varied population in most schools, tensions arising from differences abound and need to be dealt with adequate actions.

School performance is an automatic indication of prestige. By comprehending methods in performance assessment, the PhD candidate can strategize towards better performance in his school. Earning a PhD is also a positive move in career advancement as a doctorate holder can hold a leadership position at regional or national levels.

Leadership Theories

Numerous leadership theories have been in existence since the early days. The early ones focused on behavior and qualities, whereas the the later ones focus on the role of associates and followers.

There are various leadership theories. For instance, the great man theory. This theory states that leaders are born and cannot be made. This theory believes that leaders are people who have exceptional qualities that are inborn are are destined to lead. This theory also suggests that leadership is inherent. The term ‘man’ is used here because leaders were mostly men.

The behavioral theory suggests that leaders are made not born. This theory focuses on the action of leaders and not the internal states or mental state or qualities. It believes that leaders become leaders after a process of teaching learning and observation. The contingency theory focuses on the variables relating to the environment. These determine the style of leadership to suit particular situations. The success of such leaders will be determined by the combination of these variables as well as the kind of followers they have.

The other leadership theories include; the trait theory – this one suggests that few people are born with qualities that can make a leader. People with such characteristics are separated from the others and recruited into position where they will be able to lead. this is commonly used in the military. In the participative theory, an ideal leader is the one who puts into consideration the inputs of their followers or associates. This is considered to be the ideal way of leading.

An Outline on an Instructional Leadership Educational Program

Are you one of those who are looking forward developing or improve classroom skills and follow a career as a curriculum supervisor or become an educational leader with the instruction as your main focus. If your answer is yes then making a career as an instructional leader can be the best option. Though, it is very important to comprehend that the role of an instructional leader differs from the traditional school administrator in a number of ways. 

Basically, a conventional principal usually spends most of his/her time dealing with administrative duties, but a principal who is an instructional leader is primarily charged with redefining his or her role to become the primary learner in a community striving for excellence in education. As a result, it definitely becomes the principal’s accountability to work with teachers to identify and classify different educational objectives and set school-wide or district wide goals. In addition to this, he or she must provide the essential resources for learning, and generate new learning opportunities for students and staff. Ultimately, ability to follow this responsibility requires deep understanding of leadership qualities. Fortunately, today there are number of colleges and universities that offer programs like instructional leadership that primarily focus on this objective. This education specialist program in instructional leadership principally emphasizes the core skills including comprehensive planning and implementation, curriculum theory and design.

The typical coursework of this program includes: curriculum development, educational topics and trends, and cultural diversity. In addition to this, the program endeavors to promote the values, knowledge, and skills needed to renew and improve education across the state, region, and nation. Once you complete the program, you will be able to:

  • Analyze and classify the uniqueness of an effective and successful leader
  • Study leadership attributes, styles and their significance for leaders to be successful
  • Express strategies for facilitating teams competently and managing clashes
  • Implement and facilitate collaborative professional development activities including team learning communities

The course enables you to learn many characteristics that can be very beneficial to your school and communities. You learn to exhibit a clear sense of direction for your schools and prioritize attention on the things that really matter in terms of the work of students. The program helps you identify your leadership strengths and gain knowledge of strategies that may engage students in the classroom using a team based learning. The program even enables you to discuss your role as a catalyst leader inspiring others to act; develop your personal leadership development plan and discuss methods for similar types of plans in the classroom.

Today instructional leadership can be broadly considered as a thoughtful journey that builds a learning culture. The program is a specialization that emphasizes leadership and managing other teachers with an eye towards a move into school administration. In recent years, this education program has gained enough popularity and expected to earn more recognition in next few years.

Bottom-Up Approach With Educational Leadership

As teachers step up to the important role of imparting knowledge and molding minds towards greater thoughts, it is a task much harder than most would think. If one thinks that standing in front of a group of students to tell them right from wrong is a walk in the park, he had better reevaluate his thought process.

Educational leadership may be an inborn talent in some educators as some are bound to remember a teacher who made a significant impression in their childhood. By spending extra time and effort for a student, the added attention expended makes a valued contribution towards the child’s future. For those less blessed in this expertise, various courses are available to enlighten them on the intricacies towards achieving the magic formula.

Perhaps an oft neglected component in the makings of a great educator is confidence. However well one does in the grooming and molding of becoming a member of the profession, this quality needs some tender loving care as it is easily crushed. Lack of experience in handling oneself and a situation can turn the best teacher into a shuddering leaf, vowing to never return to the front of a classroom. By promoting a positive outlook to the teaching culture, educational leadership forms the building blocks as amino acids are to protein strands.

Since the environment can sometimes be likened to a war zone, these professionals are trained to exercise their duties with integrity and fairness. By showing due respect to the various cultures present in current settings, one must be able to exercise correct actions as a true leader. Communication with related parties such as families, community and regulatory bodies is also an essential element to the process.

All in all, it is not about achieving highest billing in terms of role or position. A great educator understands and responds well to elements of social, cultural, economical and legal aspects. Educational leadership influences one to look beyond his confines to deliver better results.

A Historical Reflection – Leadership in Primitive Africa

It would not be correct to think that the kind of leadership in present day Africa has no bearing on the past. This applies to both political and religious kind of leadership and inclusive of various levels of leaderships. Regardless of the kind of leadership (political or religious) or the level of leadership, e.g., head of state or head of a family, there are indications that traditional concept of leadership in Africa is still prevalent in present day concept of leadership. In this article the goal is to identify the leadership concept in Africa during the primitive years of the development of the continent. In the process it will also be shown how the people developed this concept. As a case study, special attention will be given to Sierra Leone because of her uniqueness in being an African country founded by Western powers.

INDIGENOUS CONCEPT OF LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA

In his discussion on early civilization, F. K. Buah in his book, ‘Ancient World’, made this observation; “After a while men saw that it was not safe to have their homes scattered about and began to build them near each other in the same place. This is how village life began. Where there are more than two families staying in the area, there must be someone who will look after the common good of the people. The headman is generally the first person who had settled in the village, or he was the bravest of the people who lived there. He was to rule these people by a council made up of the oldest and wisest men in the village.” From these words of F. K. Buah, a background to the development of leadership is brought into focus. It can be observed that whilst Western countries have developed greatly into cosmopolitan cities, a much larger part of Africa portrayed early and typical village settings. Two things can be pointed out from the citation above concerning the way leaders were recognized in the past: first, they were recognized in terms of age or the time period one has been in a particular area; second, they were recognized because of some personal qualities or achievements.

In his book, ‘The History of Sierra Leone’ Magbaily Fyle discussed more about this early forms of leadership in the continent. According to him, villages and towns may group together in a section, which is referred to as a state. All of the towns may have their own immediate rulers. The head of the main town in that section, usually the oldest town, was the Chief of that section. This head would be recognized as the King, because he belonged to the family, which founded the town that became the center of the state.

Magbaily Fyle pointed out that in the founding of most states, warfare had been involved. He said that if a person is a great hunter or warrior or even as in Mende country, being a popular “moriman”, it is easy for that person to be brought the leadership of a prominent town and eventually becoming the King of a state. Like F. K. Buah, Magbaily Fyle agreed that special good qualities were essentials for the recognition of leaders.

Warfare was the most important factor involved in recognizing a leader. But as Fyle observed, later considerations were given to people whose forefathers have been great warriors, though the person has to prove himself. F.K. Buah in his book, ‘West Africa and Europe’, throws more light on Fyle’s observation made above when he said that people moved from one place to another to make new settlement as a result of bad climate, infertile land, famine, floods, or war with stronger people. In cases where new settlements developed as a result of any of the reasons stated above, other than war, considerations of a person’s forefathers are taken into account in recognizing a leader. In the case of war, the stronger becomes the leader. F. K. Buah brought this to light as he discussed the history of the Denykyira and Asante people of Ghana around 1695 A.D. The Denkyiras were ruling the Asante people by then. According to Buah, the Asante realized that, in order to become a powerful nation, they must have direct contact with the Europeans. Under the Dekyiras this could not happen, so they looked for an opportunity to fight the Denkyiras in order to free themselves. This opportunity came when the Denkyira King asked for more taxes in gold. They took advantage of it and freed themselves. The Asante then built up a powerful kingdom. F. K. Buah further observed, “from what we read about the Asante in books, we get the impression that they spent most of their time in warfare. It is true in the course of expanding their empire, the Asante King had to fight and subdue other Kingdoms”.

The King or the Chiefs were not the only leaders recognized during the early stages in the development of Africa. Councils of elders, to help Kings or Chiefs in their duties have long been recognized in Africa. The concern at this point is how these elders were recognized. Magbaily Fyle noted that there were no written records of the names of those elder during those times. These societies did little or no writing. However, he said everyone knew who the elders were. If a man was becoming important, he became an elder. He became fully recognized once his absence in a meeting raised comments among the other elders.8

Fyle also noted that another class of leaders recognized in traditional Africa was those of various secret societies. In reference to the male societies, he stated that these leaders taught young men activities of manhood such as, fighting, hunting, the use of various herbs to cure ailments, recognition of rank order in society and other matters. The point here is that these leaders, who were not necessarily the political leaders of the village or state, were also given recognition.9

THE WESTERN CONCEPT OF ACKNOWLEDGING LEADERSHIP IN TRADITIONAL AFFRICA

The traditional concept of leadership in Africa has also been influenced by western concept. In most African countries, this influence became obvious during the period that led to independence. However, Sierra Leone is unique in the sense that the country has a direct influence of western powers in her establishment as a nation. F.K. Buah in his book, ‘Africa and Europe’, briefly described how the country was founded. He said that freed slaves who become social problems in London, Nova Scotia and Jamaica were brought by the British to a coastal area in the west coast of Africa and resettled. The British directly governed these resettled slaves.10 Arthur Porter, in his book “Creoledom”, revealed the western influence in the leadership during the development of the nation in the following quote: “religious originations in Freetown did not have to wait for missionaries from Europe. Many of the Nova Scotian settlers had been Christians in Canada and on arrival had set up chapels for themselves”. It can be seen from the quote that westerners had already influenced these settlers before they came back. They set up chapels, a copy of western practices quite different from the indigenes. Porter further observed. “The churches were not organizations devoted only to service and worship; they were also centers of social life in the community, providing a field of activity in which the freed Negroes could acquire status and exercise leadership. The church provided an easy opportunity for status enhancement to those with aspiration for leadership. Thus many with great ability and force of personality, if not academic distinction, soon broke away and collected their own following”.11 Like the indigenous people, leadership for these African settlers involved a fight although it was not physical. Also personal ability and qualification counts. Unlike the indigenes one is not qualified to lead because of age or because he has been around the longest. F.K. Buah, in his book, “West Africa and Europe” noted that the Christian missionaries who came shortly after the founding of Sierra Leone were very much interested in education. They built schools and later a college. As the settlers and indigenes became one people, the different leaderships concepts blend into one. Leadership positions became more of an appointment or election rather than a show of force.12

CONCLUSION

Africans had a concept of leadership from the primitive stages of the development of the continent. The indigenous people of the continent considered people who could protect them physically and at times spiritually, such as a warrior, hunter, moriman, etc, as qualified to lead. Old age is also considered as wisdom and qualifies the individual to lead or to be in the ruling council.

Since most African countries were colonized by western powers and they founded others, another dimension of traditional leadership was developed in the continent. Leaders were recognized by educational qualification. Agee was given little consideration. Leaders were appointed or elected. The way the leaders were recognized or acknowledged gives one partial knowledge of their leadership concept. It has been appointed or elected. The way the leaders were recognized or acknowledged gives one partial knowledge of their leadership concept. It has been seen that it a blend of indigenous and western approaches.

A Historical Reflection: Leadership in Primitive Africa

It would not be correct to think that the kind of leadership in present day Africa has no bearing on the past. This applies to both political and religious kind of leadership and inclusive of various levels of leaderships. Regardless of the kind of leadership (political or religious) or the level of leadership, e.g., head of state or head of a family, there are indications that traditional concept of leadership in Africa is still prevalent in present day concept of leadership. In this article the goal is to identify the leadership concept in Africa during the primitive years of the development of the continent. In the process it will also be shown how the people developed this concept. As a case study, special attention will be given to Sierra Leone because of her uniqueness in being an African country founded by Western powers.

INDIGENOUS CONCEPT OF LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA

In his discussion on early civilization, F. K. Buah in his book, ‘Ancient World’, made this observation; “After a while men saw that it was not safe to have their homes scattered about and began to build them near each other in the same place. This is how village life began. Where there are more than two families staying in the area, there must be someone who will look after the common good of the people. The headman is generally the first person who had settled in the village, or he was the bravest of the people who lived there. He was to rule these people by a council made up of the oldest and wisest men in the village.” From these words of F. K. Buah, a background to the development of leadership is brought into focus. It can be observed that whilst Western countries have developed greatly into cosmopolitan cities, a much larger part of Africa portrayed early and typical village settings. Two things can be pointed out from the citation above concerning the way leaders were recognized in the past: first, they were recognized in terms of age or the time period one has been in a particular area; second, they were recognized because of some personal qualities or achievements.

In his book, ‘The History of Sierra Leone’ Magbaily Fyle discussed more about this early forms of leadership in the continent. According to him, villages and towns may group together in a section, which is referred to as a state. All of the towns may have their own immediate rulers. The head of the main town in that section, usually the oldest town, was the Chief of that section. This head would be recognized as the King, because he belonged to the family, which founded the town that became the center of the state.

Magbaily Fyle pointed out that in the founding of most states, warfare had been involved. He said that if a person is a great hunter or warrior or even as in Mende country, being a popular “moriman”, it is easy for that person to be brought the leadership of a prominent town and eventually becoming the King of a state. Like F. K. Buah, Magbaily Fyle agreed that special good qualities were essentials for the recognition of leaders.

Warfare was the most important factor involved in recognizing a leader. But as Fyle observed, later considerations were given to people whose forefathers have been great warriors, though the person has to prove himself. F.K. Buah in his book, ‘West Africa and Europe’, throws more light on Fyle’s observation made above when he said that people moved from one place to another to make new settlement as a result of bad climate, infertile land, famine, floods, or war with stronger people. In cases where new settlements developed as a result of any of the reasons stated above, other than war, considerations of a person’s forefathers are taken into account in recognizing a leader. In the case of war, the stronger becomes the leader. F. K. Buah brought this to light as he discussed the history of the Denykyira and Asante people of Ghana around 1695 A.D. The Denkyiras were ruling the Asante people by then. According to Buah, the Asante realized that, in order to become a powerful nation, they must have direct contact with the Europeans. Under the Dekyiras this could not happen, so they looked for an opportunity to fight the Denkyiras in order to free themselves. This opportunity came when the Denkyira King asked for more taxes in gold. They took advantage of it and freed themselves. The Asante then built up a powerful kingdom. F. K. Buah further observed, “from what we read about the Asante in books, we get the impression that they spent most of their time in warfare. It is true in the course of expanding their empire, the Asante King had to fight and subdue other Kingdoms”.

The King or the Chiefs were not the only leaders recognized during the early stages in the development of Africa. Councils of elders, to help Kings or Chiefs in their duties have long been recognized in Africa. The concern at this point is how these elders were recognized. Magbaily Fyle noted that there were no written records of the names of those elder during those times. These societies did little or no writing. However, he said everyone knew who the elders were. If a man was becoming important, he became an elder. He became fully recognized once his absence in a meeting raised comments among the other elders.8

Fyle also noted that another class of leaders recognized in traditional Africa was those of various secret societies. In reference to the male societies, he stated that these leaders taught young men activities of manhood such as, fighting, hunting, the use of various herbs to cure ailments, recognition of rank order in society and other matters. The point here is that these leaders, who were not necessarily the political leaders of the village or state, were also given recognition.9

THE WESTERN CONCEPT OF ACKNOWLEDGING LEADERSHIP IN TRADITIONAL AFFRICA

The traditional concept of leadership in Africa has also been influenced by western concept. In most African countries, this influence became obvious during the period that led to independence. However, Sierra Leone is unique in the sense that the country has a direct influence of western powers in her establishment as a nation. F.K. Buah in his book, ‘Africa and Europe’, briefly described how the country was founded. He said that freed slaves who become social problems in London, Nova Scotia and Jamaica were brought by the British to a coastal area in the west coast of Africa and resettled. The British directly governed these resettled slaves.10 Arthur Porter, in his book “Creoledom”, revealed the western influence in the leadership during the development of the nation in the following quote: “religious originations in Freetown did not have to wait for missionaries from Europe. Many of the Nova Scotian settlers had been Christians in Canada and on arrival had set up chapels for themselves”. It can be seen from the quote that westerners had already influenced these settlers before they came back. They set up chapels, a copy of western practices quite different from the indigenes. Porter further observed. “The churches were not organizations devoted only to service and worship; they were also centers of social life in the community, providing a field of activity in which the freed Negroes could acquire status and exercise leadership. The church provided an easy opportunity for status enhancement to those with aspiration for leadership. Thus many with great ability and force of personality, if not academic distinction, soon broke away and collected their own following”.11 Like the indigenous people, leadership for these African settlers involved a fight although it was not physical. Also personal ability and qualification counts. Unlike the indigenes one is not qualified to lead because of age or because he has been around the longest. F.K. Buah, in his book, “West Africa and Europe” noted that the Christian missionaries who came shortly after the founding of Sierra Leone were very much interested in education. They built schools and later a college. As the settlers and indigenes became one people, the different leaderships concepts blend into one. Leadership positions became more of an appointment or election rather than a show of force.12

CONCLUSION

Africans had a concept of leadership from the primitive stages of the development of the continent. The indigenous people of the continent considered people who could protect them physically and at times spiritually, such as a warrior, hunter, moriman, etc, as qualified to lead. Old age is also considered as wisdom and qualifies the individual to lead or to be in the ruling council.

Since most African countries were colonized by western powers and they founded others, another dimension of traditional leadership was developed in the continent. Leaders were recognized by educational qualification. Agee was given little consideration. Leaders were appointed or elected. The way the leaders were recognized or acknowledged gives one partial knowledge of their leadership concept. It has been appointed or elected. The way the leaders were recognized or acknowledged gives one partial knowledge of their leadership concept. It has been seen that it a blend of indigenous and western approaches.

ENDNOTES:

1.F. K. Buah, West Africa and Europe (London: Macmillan Publishers, 19), p. 56.

2.Magbaily Fyle, The History of Sierra Leone (London: Evans Brothers Limited, 1981), p. 56.

3.Ibid, p.57.

4.Ibid, p. 57.

5.F. K. Buah, West Africa and Europe (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1960), p. 96.

6.Ibid, pp.112-3.

7.Ibid, p. 116

8 Magbaily Fyle, The History of Sierra Leone (London: Evans Brothers Limited, 1981), p. 59.

9 Ibid, p 66.

10 F.K. Buah, West Africa and Europe (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1960), P158/9

11 Arthur Porter, Creoledom (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 78/9

12 F.K. Buah, West Africa and Europe (London: Macmillan Publishers, 1960), p 161.