Strategic Leadership in PK – 12 Settings: A Multifaceted Approach to Improving Outcomes

Strategic Leadership in PK – 12 Settings: A Multifaceted Approach to Improving Outcomes

Johnny R. O'Connor Jr. (Lamar University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1049-9.ch110


This chapter provides information regarding the relevance and necessity of strategic leadership in PK – 12 settings. Though many approaches to leadership exist, educational leaders must be targeted in their leadership, in order to maximize the expected academic and organizational performance outcomes in an ever-changing high stakes environment. This type of leadership employs a multifaceted approach, which requires leading through politics, change, and conflict, as well as recognizing and leveraging the power of influence, building synergy, and the provision of focus. If the aforementioned traits are balanced and appropriately executed, educational leaders will be well positioned to experience significant and positive outcomes.
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Strategic Leadership

According to Davies (2011), strategic leadership entails linking ideas and concepts from a broader view in order to view the future and evaluate outcomes. Similarly, Quong and Walker (2010) suggest that being an effective strategic leader requires that school leaders be futures oriented. They further suggest that school leaders that aspire to be effective must also be collaborative, objective, action oriented, and base leadership actions and decisions on evidence and research. This is in contrast to the more linear approach of how leadership was previously viewed (management process of analyzing, planning, implementing, monitoring, and evaluative). However, Cheng (2010) contends that strategic leadership in education can be classified into three categories: internal strategic leadership, interface strategic leadership, and future strategic leadership. Despite the varied perceptions or ideologies of strategic leadership, educational leaders are expected to become more tactical in their leadership, by leading more proactively, efficiently, and with a sense of urgency. This means moving beyond standard operational leadership, which focuses on a single approach or job, and becoming more strategic. Strategic leadership allows leaders to see the organization as interconnected and is often the catalyst of change (Center for Creative Leadership, 2004).


Strategic Leadership In Education

As educational organizations become more complex and the emphasis continues to focus on student attainment and achievement, the debate of what makes an effective educational leader continues to expand (Liethwood & Riehl, 2003; Male & Palaiolgou, 2015). Strategic leadership in education is relevant for a myriad of reasons. Eacott (2008) states “strategic leadership is a critical issue relevant to school leaders that has largely been overlooked…in current educational leadership literature” (p. 353). However, in contrast, it is noteworthy that there are some opponents to using terms and concepts from corporate America in educational leadership (Thomas, 2006). Despite this, as school systems progressively continue to extend their focus beyond teaching and learning, strategy allows for better alignment of all operations for a common goal (Eacott, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Educational Leader: A leader within a school system that is responsible for providing academic and operational direction, as well as the monitoring of related outcomes.

Focus: The provision of clarity in expected outcomes.

Politics in Education: Those politically related actions that potentially influence the expected outcomes of educational leaders.

Change: Actions that result in the transformation of a given aspect of work.

Influence: An inherent power that has the ability to change the actions of individuals or teams within an organization.

Strategic Leadership in Education: The use of well-planned leadership methodologies and skills to provide focus and direction in achieving positive outcomes in student achievement and the overall operations of a school system.

Team Building: The ability to execute high productivity in a collaborative environment.

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