Transformational Leadership A Useful Tool for Teachers in Identifying and Influencing the Performance of Students


TransformationalLeadership: A Useful Tool for Teachers in Identifying and Influencingthe Performance of Students

TransformationalLeadership: A Useful Tool for Teachers in Identifying and Influencingthe Performance of Students

Transformational leadership has become one of the leadership stylesthat is used by organizations in enhancing outcome. Transformationalleadership describes a leadership approach, which leads to change insocial systems and individuals. In its ideal form, transformationalleadership generates positive and valuable change in the followerswith an end objective of developing followers into leaders (Elmore,2001). Transformational leadership is critical since it enhances themorale, motivation, and performance of followers through differentmechanisms. Such mechanisms entail linking the followers’ sense ofidentity and self with the mission and collective identity of theentity challenging followers to consider greater ownership for theirwork being a role model to followers which offer inspiration, andunderstanding the weaknesses and strengths of followers so as toalign followers with different tasks, which enhance theirperformance. In this paper, literature concerning transformationalleadership as a useful tool for teachers in identifying andinfluencing the performance of students will be discussed. Besides,the second part of this paper will provide an experimental report ontransformational leadership in influencing the performance ofstudents.

Literature Review

A fundamental principle of transformational leadership is the callfor members in sharing a vision and value collective ambitions alongthe journey of change. In an organization, where transformationalleadership exists, the leader is placed in the center of thecommunity, instead of being taking the position of a leader from thetop. Transformational leadership demonstrates respect for allindividuals, power of followers, and value of the leader’s supportfor collective goals. According to Newmann and Wehlage (1995), sharedleadership and decision making usually play a significant role insupporting student learning. This shared leadership and decisionmaking can be achieved through transformational leadership. This kindof leadership thus helps in influencing the performance of studentsbecause shared decision making is critical since it serves anextension of tutors’ active participation in organizations(Newmann&ampWehlage, 1995). According to Leitherwood et al. (1999),effective leaders usually inspire followers in achieving collectiveor personal mastery of the capacities needed in accomplishingcollective aspirations. Followers need to believe themselves ashaving the ability of accomplishing the ambitions targeted by theschool community. It is these capacity beliefs that equip the staffwith the focus and resiliency and necessary to attain change(Leitherwood et al, 1999). A transformational leader can facilitatean increase in capacity beliefs through ensuring explicit experiencefrom role models, actual performance and individual’s opinions ofsuccess, and verbal persuasion. This is an indication that this typeof leadership influences the performance of followers. Atransformational leader in a school has a valuable role of helpingtutors uncover the meaning in whatever they do and promoting thecapacity of changing practices through transcending them. Leader of agroup is directly involved in influencing what the group will learn.Therefore, when a leader promotes a supportive culture of change, asindicated in transformational leadership, the probability ofindividuals putting their new knowledge into an effective action,increases (Leitherwood et al, 1999).

According to Bass &ampAvolio (1994), transformational leadershipimproves an organization through raising the values of its members,encouraging them to go past self-interest to embrace organizationalambitions, and redefining their necessities so as to align withorganizational preferences. Transformational leadership is likely toinfluence teacher’s professional commitment studies conducted Kohet al. (1995) indicate that transformational leadership accounts forapproximately 17-18% of the variance in organizational commitment.Besides, transformational leadership contributes to organizationalcitizenship, which is the individual’s willingness to proceedbeyond formal requirements of the job so as to engage in productiveroles that promote organizational effectiveness (Koh et al, 1995).Therefore, since transformational leadership makes individuals to gobeyond their formal job requirements, transformational leadership ina school has the impact of enhancing the commitment of teachers andmaking them do their work beyond their job requirement. This has theimpact of influencing the performance of students. Teachers that aremore committed to values of an organization and to the members of theorganization are more likely to assume instructional practices thatare recommended by the organization, help colleagues, and work harderso as to attain organizational goals (Bass &ampAvolio, 1994). Suchcommitments are likely to contribute to higher student performance incase the ambitions of the school are focused towards studentperformance.

Leithwood (1992) argues that transformational leaders in a schoolsetting attempt to pursue three principal goals. These three goalsentail helping staff members in developing and maintaining aprofessional, collaborative school environment helping tutors solveproblems in a more efficient manner and promoting teacherdevelopment. All these three goals influence the performance ofstudents as it will be indicated in the paragraph that follows.

Helping staff members in developing and maintaining a professional,collaborative school environment is critical since in such anenvironment, members of staff can talk, critique, observe, and plantogether (Leithwood, 1992). Continuous improvement and collectiveresponsibility norms encourage staff members to teach one anotherthis makes them learn and know how to teach better. As teachers learnto teach better, they influence the performance of students sincethey tend to help students realize performance goals. Fostering ofteacher development is also critical since it helps in attainingprofessional growth as teachers attain professional development,they are capable of solving school improvement problems. As theseproblems are solved, the performance of students becomes enhanced. Onthe other hand, helping tutors solve problems in an effective manneris also critical in helping school achieve meaningful improvement(Leithwood, 1992). Therefore, transformational leadership has aninfluence on the performance of students.

The transformational leadership framework as proposed by Bass &ampAvolio(1997) argues that transformational leadership can be identifiedthrough certain behaviors such as idealized influence, idealizedinfluence, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation.These are expanded in order to integrate some vital managementdimensions such as instructional support, staffing, monitoring ofschool activities, and community focus (Leithwood, 1992). Thesebehaviors are exceedingly important in ensuring that the goals of aschool as an organization are accomplished. As the goals of schoolare accomplished, student performance is influenced since school andstudent performance emerge as an important goal that schools lookforward to achieving.

According to Leithwood et al. (2001), transformational leadership iscritical in influencing the performance of students and school as awhole. This is because transformational has the capacity ofencouraging teachers to identify with the goals of schools. Almostevery school will have a goal of enhancing its performance throughthe use of its staffs and students. The moment teachers becomemotivated to identify with the goals of a school, it goes withoutsaying that they would be encouraged to improve the performance ofthe school by ensuring that they provide better learning to students,a move that can influence the performance of students.

Besides, transformational leadership provides a suitable environmentfor learners and teachers (Leithwood et al, 2001). Through thetransformational leadership, teachers are capable of discussingproblems that emerge in the learning environment and offer solutionto the problems through relating with the different stakeholders oflearning. This works well with the students, making them attain highsuccesses in learning.

Research conducted by Barnett and McCormick indicates that the impactof leadership on student learning outcomes is usually mediatedthrough school conditions, organizational culture, and classroomconditions. Transformational leadership ensures that these factorsare in the best possible condition, which translates to enhancedperformance. According to Barnett &amp McCormick (2004), resistanceto change is one of the principal factors that can lead toorganizations not accomplishing their goals however, sincetransformational leadership encourages changes rather than being aresistance to change, organizations that adapt the transformationalleadership have high probabilities of performing exceedingly well.Since in its ideal form, transformational leadership generatespositive and valuable change in the followers with an end objectiveof developing followers into leaders, schools that havetransformational leadership ensure that significant changes thataffect the performance of students are effected, which translates tohigh performance amid the students because students have an immensedesire of following the course of the leader (Barnett &ampMcCormick, 2004). Resistance to culture has also been pointed as amajor problem affecting the performance of organizations andstudents however, when this resistance becomes eliminated, there isa tendency of organizations performing remarkably well. Sincetransformational leadership ensures that there is a well developedschool culture, then the performance of school and students isinfluenced by the developed school culture.

Also, according to Barnett &amp McCormick (2004), transformationalleadership influences the performance of students since it providesstudents with an opportunity to copy their role models.Transformational leadership has been indicated to present leaders asrole models a move that inspires the followers. In a schoolenvironment, transformational leadership presents teachers as rolemodels (Barnett &amp McCormick, 2004). This has the effect ofinfluencing the performance of students because students becomeinspired to learn and achieve high performances in the set targets.On the other hand, transformational leadership in a school ensuresthat there is a shared vision amid all the stakeholders of theschool. Since there is sharing of a vision by all the stakeholders,it implies that students are also likely to identify with the visionof the school. This is an indication that in case the school has avision of enhancing its performance academically, students will alsohave the same vision. This will thus influence the performance ofstudents.

In addition, as noted by Elmore (2001), transformational leadershippractices like having collaborative decision making has the impact ofinfluencing students’ performance because it brings aboutcommitments in improving student learning. As a result oftransformational leadership practices, teachers are more than willingto engage in improving the learning process amid students. As thelearning process becomes enhanced through the collaboration ofteachers and the schools, student performance is enhanced (Elmore,2001). Hence, transformational leadership is a useful tool forteachers in identifying and influencing the performance of students.

As aforementioned in the introduction part of this research, apartfrom the literature review of transformational leadership, the paperwas to discuss as well the experimental report on transformationalleadership in influencing the performance of students. Approximatelyfive decades ago, a lot of people would have anticipated seeing thenew millennium with so much difference. Most people thought that theyear 2000 would have come with a whole lot of advancement intechnology as well as, for instance, beating the incurable diseases.The new millennium is here and there isn’t as much difference as itwas before. To start with, there is just but a few changes in ourlearning institutions. Nothing much has changed. Teachers andstudents are almost at the same level as fifty years ago, if notprecisely the same level. Teachers still mark students’assignments, prepare notes while the students jot down those notes.Students raise their hands either to ask or answer a question. Everyafter a while, there is a new curriculum that is given to teachers tofollow. Nothing much has really changed [CITATION Jim11 l 1033 ]. According to marsh, the form of leadership that traditionally existsin learning institutions is commonly referred to as ‘Command orDominance leadership’ [ CITATION Myr98 l 1033 ]. Teachers arefacing a number of threats in the way in which they are meant toexecute their mandate of leadership. The ever changing and increasinginformation and communication technology is one of the threats thatteachers are facing in implementing their mandate of leadership [ CITATION Myr98 l 1033 ].Computers and electronic gadgets have found their way to classroomshence technology exploding as an educational issue. This has becomean issue in the sense that teachers have to learn ways on how to useas well as become familiar with modern technological devices such ascomputers for them to teach their students [ CITATION Jim11 l 1033 ].To solve this, transformational leadership is put in place toinfluence students to perform better in class work and elevate theirgrades by encouraging teachers to be role-models in how to use thecomputers effectively and not in a negative way that will tamper withthe performance and general well-being of students. Teachers have tolearn new ways of modern Information technology so as to lead theirstudents and for students to emulate their teachers. This helps inharmonizing the learning environment in schools between teachers andleaners [ CITATION Jim11 l 1033 ]. Advancement in information andtechnology has fostered teacher development. It is not what equipment(such as computers) is used in the classroom. Rather, it is howtheseequipment such as computers are used that makes the difference.Students’ can learn this from their teachers by the way theirteachers use these devices in a better and reproductive way.Teachers’ motivation for development is enhanced throughtransformational leadership thus influencing the general performanceof students.

According to Leithwood, transformational leadership can not only be asource of influence to business firms but learning institutions aswell. The stakeholder theory of a business firm is made up of anumber of areas of entities. These are employees, employers, clients,producers, managers and many others. All these constituencies have alegitimate strategic as well as moral stake in the business firm.However, they may have dissimilar values, philosophies, ethics,morals and so forth. For this reason, for the benefit of everystakeholder in the organization, each and every person concerned hasto put aside their personal interest and unite together on thefoundation of values, interests as well as social choices.Transformational leadership is key concept that can helporganizations attain the success they need by making sure that allstakeholders have the same ethics as well as values that will bondthem together in the aim of making the entire organization prosper[ CITATION Bas98 l 1033 ].Transformational leadership can as well be extended to leaninginstitutions. Teachers in schools can emulate this form of leadershipto influence the performance of their students [ CITATION Bas98 l 1033 ].

In schools, transformational leadership has a way of dealing withsearching for a route to become successful in cooperatively knowingthe indispensable drive of teaching as well as leaningthereofemboldening the whole school community to become not onlymotivated but dedicated as well [ CITATION Jim11 l 1033 ]. This hasa great influence on the overall performance of students in attainingsuccess in their leaning endeavors. In this way, transformationalleadership has a great influence on student’s performance since theentire school community collaboratively works together for the aim ofboosting students’ performance.

As stated by Bernard Bass and Steiddlmeier, transformationalleadership works in four components. These components are idealizedinspiration or attractiveness, inspirational motivation, intellectualstimulation and finally personalized consideration (Bass andSteidlmeier, 1998). If the leadership of any organization, includinglearning institutions is transformational, its attractiveness iswhence forth envisaging, assertive as well as setting high principlesformimicry or emulation. Its inspirational motivation providesadherents with experiments and meaning forinvolving in sharedobjectives as well as activities. Transformational leadership’sintellectual stimulation assists followers (in this case, students)to question norms and thereof come up with more solutions that arebased on creativity to problems (Bass and Steidmeier, 1998). Allthese put together, helps the school community to work towards anobjective of elevating the school as an organization hence helping inidentifying as well as influencing student’s performance. Inaddition, transformational leadership, according to Bernard Bass andSteidmeier helps teachers to provide not only mentorship and growthopportunities to students, but coaching as well. This in turnmotivates the students to perform better in their school work.

Transformational leadership has, in a sense, developed a new role forteachers, which is slightly different from the ancient role of ateacher [ CITATION Edw93 l 1033 ]. According to Edward Fullan,teachers today will not spend more time in classroom teaching, ratherthey will have more time to interrelate with other teachers, moretime to prepare for and evaluate learning and sharing a common workroom inside the school environment [ CITATION Edw93 l 1033 ].Teachers have developed a way of searching for more and new conceptsinside as well as outside their own setting. This means that teachersmust be role models for students in being incessant learners all theway through their career. This has become a very useful tool forteachers in identifying as well as influencing their students’performance. Furthermore, it has elevated the spirit of students inwanting to be better performers not only in classwork but otherundertakings as well through emulating their teachers. According toGoodland, the new role of leadership will also require teachers totake leadership into their own hands. The current society is lookingforward to more enthusiastic and charismatic performers andeducation, through leadership, is one of the key sectors in shapingthe minds of students into becoming better performers (Goodland,1994). Hence, transformational leadership is a useful tool forteachers in identifying and influencing the performance of students.


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Steidlmeir, B. a. (1998, May 11). Transformational Leadership. Retrieved from Transformational Leadership web site: