The Role of Principals as Mentors in Mentoring Deputy Principals

The Role of Principals as Mentors in Mentoring Deputy Principals

Shuti Steph Khumalo (University of South Africa, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-4050-2.ch015

Abstract

The theory of mentoring is pertinent to the education system and school leadership. School leadership has been a contested space in research. Empirical evidence indicates that there is a correlation between great school leadership and performance. However, little has been written about transferring good school leadership practice by principals to their deputy principals. This chapter explores and makes a contribution on the role of principals as mentors in mentoring deputy principals. Drawing from the plethora of literature and its extensive and critical evaluation, in this chapter, the researcher argues that mentoring deputy principals contributes towards building the second layer of school leadership and thus enhancing succession planning within the education context.
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Introduction

The theory of mentoring is pertinent to the education system and school leadership in particular. An abundance of literature indicates a positive relationship between good school leadership and school productivity and performance. Every school is as good or bad as its leader and you do not have great schools without great leaders. Studies show that there is a positive relationship between good leadership and performance in schools (Ash, Hodge & Connell, 2013; Waters, Marzano & McNulfy, 2004; Mulford, 2003; Weinstein & Munoz, 2014). It is therefore necessary that the skills and competencies demonstrated by good school leadership (principals) be transferred to the second layer of school leadership (deputy principals) through a mentoring process.

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the role of principals as mentors in mentoring deputy principals. There is an immense absence of scientific study on the mentoring of deputy principals by their supervisors (principals) in the schooling system, despite the fact that principals as school leaders are better placed to facilitate such roles. Rhodes (2013), citing Reicher, Haslam and Platow (2007), postulates that successful leadership and in this case principals manifest in the leadership having a shared identity with the group being led since leaders are most effective when they can induce followers to see the group’s interest as their own interest. Based on this assertion, building the second layer of good school leadership through mentoring of the deputy principals by the incumbent principals should be treated as an imperative. Mentoring of deputy principals as a way of building the second layer of school leadership mediates against what Lacey (n.d) describes as the,

challenge of an ageing workforce coupled with a growing disenchantment with the traditional leadership culture and a demand for greater work which faces many public and private sector organisations

and, in this case, schools.

Transference of skills to their deputies should be a preoccupation of every principal. Mentoring deputy principals’ benefits not only deputy principals, but also the principals themselves, the schools as organisations and the education system at large. A plus for mentoring deputy principals is that schools are provided with opportunities to utilise the competencies and skills learned during the mentoring process. Mentoring also helps build on the strengths of the mentees, shapes the talent pool for the future (University of Wolverhampton, 2009), and in particular school leadership. The principal performs a multiple of functions and it is therefore appropriate for the principal to mentor his or her deputy principal in all the areas that are critical in leading and managing the school. Because most of the principals have served as deputy principals before, Zhang and Brundrett (2010) argue that school leaders had served as deputies before they became principals. The development of deputy principals through mentoring by their principals constitutes the purpose of this chapter.

The principals’ professional proximity with their deputies makes them better candidates for mentorship. Lapointe and Vandenberghe (2017), in capturing the importance of principals mentoring their deputy principals, contend thatin organisations, mentoring by the supervisor (i.e. supervisory mentoring) is particularly beneficial with research suggesting that its influence on job outcomes (e.g. commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intention) is stronger than that of other forms of mentoring.

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