Leadership Efficacy & Development in School Leaders

Leadership Efficacy & Development in School Leaders

A Summary Report of Educational Leadership

  • How do teachers perceive leadership in education?
  • How do school leaders perceive their abilities?
  • What strengths and opportunities for development do our leaders in education have in common?
  • Do site, experience, tenure or position affect perceptions of effective leadership – and has COVID influenced perceived performance?

Over 5 years and across 327 schools, Sentis Education conducted 3643 Leadership 360s using the Sentis LEADQ tool. The LEADQ assesses the strengths and areas for improvement of educational leaders across 8 leadership competencies: innovation, influence, thinking, positivity, resilience, drive, authenticity and adaptability.

This current Leadership Efficacy and Development Quotient (LEAD-Q) 360 Leadership Trends report is from the assessment findings as well as the 60 minute debriefs that were part of the process. Leaders were asked to rate their performance against eight transformational leadership dimensions. Leaders received personal feedback and had coaching sessions based on the assessment results.

Subsequently, the researchers contrasted the findings of this study with the evaluations of their colleagues, supervisors, and the individuals they guide.

The report examines coaching sessions and summarizes the key findings. It aims to identify patterns in leaders’ work situations, strengths, and areas for improvement.

Report Findings on Leadership in Education

  • High levels of discretionary effort are observed at all levels (staff and leaders).
  • All schools are dedicated to improving leadership in schools and are actively looking for new ways to be more efficient and responsive.
  • In both periods, 98% of leaders say that not having regular access to their teams hinders their ability to build leadership skills.
  • People at all levels say they are too busy with small tasks to focus on leading and teaching during school hours.
  • Leaders often have a strong sense of responsibility towards their staff. This can sometimes cause them to take on more than they can handle.

This second cohort (2020-2023) has demonstrated an increase in explicitly referencing their leadership framework, values and mission to engage staff and align work to strategic priorities.

  • Most effective leaders continue to operate in the short term, with little planning for operationalising and schedulingthe work required to achieve long-term or substantial goals.
  • 98% of women leaders report struggling to promote themselves and their achievements in the work environment. There have been considerable references to not wanting to ‘toot my own horn’ and experiencing imposter syndrome. This is unchanged across both reporting periods.
  • Having challenging conversations and holding team members to account remains an area to be developed. Most respondents reported struggling to structure such a discussion and needing more confidence in the face of strongly resistant staff. Leaders know that staff are compliant in public but dissent in private, but they can’t effectively deal with this situation.
  • 94% of leaders have good self-awareness and self-regulation skills, which are important at the personal level. However, these participants can focus on helping others develop skills. They can also receive input from others on a personal level.
  • 66% of leaders have difficulty responding quickly and effectively in situations where they need to make decisions, especially during important meetings. 94% of all leaders report that they are often required to do this in these meetings

After the assessment, leaders had one-on-one sessions with coaches to create action plans. They focused on improving their leadership strengths and developing areas that needed work.

Here are some of the action items common to many participants.

Operational

  • Dedicating time to complete strategic, ‘big picture’ work
  • To stay on track, break down important tasks into smaller daily tasks. Urgent matters may sometimes delay these smaller tasks.
  • Actively driving intentional collaboration across curriculum and peer teams.
  • Modelling and regularly discussing ‘innovative practice’.

Relational

  • Champions are chosen and sent to help with important tasks and projects. They help foster a common culture. They also lead the adoption of strategies and similar actions.
  • Establishing purposeful delegation processes to build capability of others.
  • Developing ‘checkpoint’ meetings with teams to monitor progress towards goals and share strategies and expertise among the group.
  • Conducting vision exercises with teams and faculty to align their work with the school’s vision. This helps to encourage strategic thinking and decision-making.

Strategic

  • Developing team norms / accepted ways of working and behaving within teams.
  • Purposefully sharing thinking, decision making and strategic reasoning processes within team meetings.
  • Creating regular feedback systems to monitor staff growth, their adoption of initiatives, and provide chances for input and feedback.
  • Practicing different scenarios and preparing key questions to handle challenging situations.
  • Using meetings, newsletters and email to share practice, showcase achievements and regularly revisit process across priorities and goals.

Systemic

  • Initiating and/or actively participating in regular and intentional collaboration across peer and faculty / teaching teams.
  • Sharing process and articulating more of the ‘why’ in team meetings to facilitate discussion, collaboration and alignment.
  • Having the confidence to contribute with conviction and informed insight during executive, peer and professional network meetings.

To complete the LEADQ 360 please contact Edge on assessments@edgeinstitute.com.au .

Our Signature Leadership Programs include specific leadership competencies as referenced throughout this report. At Edge, we understand the context of school leadership and have the programs, coaching and assessments to drive further growth and development.

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