At its core, leadership is a transaction between individuals which prompts a desired response in one of the participants. Similarly defined, Burns emphasised that leadership is “leaders inducing followers to act for certain goals”(Burns, 1978, p 19.). This week’s readings illuminated three different leadership styles which can uniquely motivate a specific target audience to work towards a common goal. Though opinion, legislative, and transformative styles approach leadership differently, I was able to connect a specific context in which each would fit within my own work environment.
Comparatively, opinion based leadership is most frequently practiced in a school environment. In its simplest forms this leadership style is used to “purvey information and ideas” ( Burns, 1978, p.263). Examples could include, but are not limited to, a student asking for guidance on class offerings or post-graduation options. The teacher, administrator, or guidance counselor will be exercising opinion leadership if they are able to personalize their message to meet the interests and needs of the student (Burns, 1978, p. 258). Students will only be responsive if they respect the individual acting as the leader and are interested in seeking council. Consequently, this leadership style would be most effective at addressing individual student problems that are rooted in decision making. This will not work as an effective long term approach to leadership because the transactions between the leader and follower will only continue until the issue is resolved (Burns, 1978, p.258).
Unlike opinion leadership, legislative based leadership is more focused on the bargaining of ideas than the distribution. As explained in the text, legislative leadership is a “tra...
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...n to act as a catalyst for change (Marion & Gonzales, 2014, p.258). This style is rooted in motivating members, so it has the ability to effectively address challenges like school dropout rates, performance on standardized testing, and implementation of standards based grading. In general, members of the administrative team are most likely to demonstrate this type of leadership because of their overall influence and involvement with each academic and extracurricular program within a school.
This week’s texts demonstrated the importance of knowing your target audience and intended goal. The appropriate leadership response is highly dependent on the conflict at hand, so it is important for an individual to be able to fluidly move between leadership styles. I am interested to see how I can integrate these practices to better facilitate student and department growth.
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