This study aimed to analyze the relationship between teachers’ leadership styles and their pupils’ school performances. A number of 280 teachers involved in the pre-university education and 370 students participated in this research. The data was collected by using the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid. The results following the conducted study support the conclusion that the most efficient leadership style manifested by a teacher in the classroom, which has superior school results, is the democraticparticipative style. According to the data, it was found that other two styles are also productive, namely the authoritarian and the median styles in relation with the minimal/passive and the indulgent/populist styles. Leaving from these results, the teachers are encouraged to focus their interest and attention equally towards the two dimensions: tasks and people, and thus to consciously commit to the characteristics of a democratic/participative leading style. Some special interest is manifested also in the area of classroom management during the process of instruction.
Keywords: Leadership styleschool performancepre-university education
A teacher’s leadership style, along with the teaching or assessment styles, represents an essential
compound of the educational style. On this line, more and more research studies aim at identifying those
leadership styles that prove to be most efficient in achieving superior school performances. In reference
with the concept, the specialty literature has provided numerous definitions, yet we need to specify the
fact that all those definitions are based on the same common element, and that is a form of power or
influence which dictates future actions (Donaldson, 2006; Gardner, 1990; Marzano, Waters and McNulty,
2005; Morrison, 2002; Schmoker, 1999; Zaccaro and Klimoski, 2001).
By the concept of leadership, we understand „the dynamic process within one group, in which one
individual determines the others to contribute voluntarily to the accomplishment of the group tasks in a
given situation” (Cole, 2004, p. 51). In Little’s vision (2000), leadership „is an empty term when there is
nothing to lead, when there is nowhere to go and there’s no one who will follow” (p. 395).
We shouldn’t leave out another perspective in defining the leadership style, namely that of the
factors imprinting the dynamics of an organization, even school. Among these factors, there may be
found, according to Fodor (2009), „performance, psycho-social climate, cohesion, the quality of human
relationships, degrees of conflictuality, members’ degree of satisfaction, individuality and group
creativity, also the developing potential of the organization” (Fodor, 2009, p. 133).
A teacher is considered to be the manager of the classroom of pupils. The teacher considered in this
position, leads the class of pupils, brings his or her contribution and identifies himself/herself with the
community of leaders (a role adopted by the other teachers); he or she contributes with his or her actions
to an increase in the quality of education materialized in the accomplishment of the educational standards,
of the educational ideal, and determines the achievement of superior results (Katzenmeyer and Moller,
2001; Durant and Frost, 2003; Leithwood and Riehl, 2003; Pugalee; York-Barr and Duke, 2004). Leading
the didactic activity is generally accepted as an essential key role in accomplishing school performances
by pupils. Some specialists are drawing attention upon the fact that school leaders are responsible for the
students’ academic success (Silva, Gimbert and Nolan, 2004), and we refer here to the school
management (director/ school manager), and also to the teachers – as leaders of classes of pupils.
From the perspective of teacher’s responsibilities, Doyle (1986, apud Martineau et al., 1999) states
that the former has to have in view, on one side, the transmission of information to the students in
complete accordance with the requests previewed by the official curriculum documents, and on the other
side the class management, and we should understand by that the establishment and negotiation of rules
and norms of behavior inside the classroom and the school environment in general. The way in which the
didactic activity is elaborated and carried out varies from one teacher to another, as it is strongly
influenced by the teacher’s qualities, personality and pedagogical philosophy. Thus, a certain style/way of
leadership is outlined, which is expressed through personal notes – manner of work, way of action and
Our investigation starts from the premises that there are two essential dimensions defining the
leadership of activities, as they are previewed in the Blake–Mouton Managerial Grid: the preoccupation
for task (in our case, the objectives, the educational standards and the academic performances) and the
concern for people (human relationships), both being considered positive. In this order of ideas, the high
achieving type of leader – the teacher, has to manifest preoccupation for students, and also for the
tasks/objectives he or she has to accomplish. Most generally speaking, the concern for students suggests
the teacher’s intention to form and maintain quality interpersonal relationships, and the task orientation
refers to the importance given to the accomplishments of pre-established objectives, and thus the
accomplishment of academic performances and the formation of desirable competencies.
In short, the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid used in this study allows the prediction of a stylistic
typology which comprises five styles, as follows:
integrating leadership style (Mora, 2008; Bass, 1990), team-management or teamwork (Molloy,
1998). The defining note of this style resides in the increased interest for task and also for people.
in classroom, at the expense of objective accomplishment.
2. Objectives of the Study
The present study approaches two objectives. On one hand, it aims at identifying teachers’ leadership
styles and on the other hand it tries to provide an analysis of the relationship between teachers and the
level of pupils’ school performances. In addition to these objectives, our intention for this study is to
answer a pedagogical interrogation more and more often met, namely
which define the most efficient and productive leadership in order to achieve superior school results?
In relation to the established objectives, the Managerial Grid by Robert Blake-Jane Mouton (1978)
was used in order to approach two dimensions: the concern for people and the concern for task.
The appliance of this grid (which involved completing it by teachers in group target) necessitated
some minor changes at the conceptual level, which involved replacing specific corporate environment
concepts such as "employees", "people", " team "," organization "," subordinates ","co-workers” with
specific educational environment concepts such as" students "," classroom "," teacher"," school ".
After analyzing and interpreting the results obtained by filling the adjusted Managerial Grid we
could identify five leadership styles as follows: the passive/minimal leadership style, the authoritarian
leadership style, the democratic participative leadership style, the indulgent/or populist leadership style
and the median leadership style.
Two batches of people were formed for this study. The teachers’ batch was made of 285 subjects who
are active in the pre-university education in Romania; they were distributed by genre as follows: 66%
women (N=189) and 34% men (N=96). The second batch was represented by the students summing 370
subjects, 201 girls and 169 boys respectively.
At the beginning of the academic year the questionnaire was applied to identify the leadership styles,
and at the end of each semester the students’ school results were collected. The average of marks for each
discipline was estimated for the whole school year.
4. Results and Discussions
4.1. Identification of Teachers’ leadership Styles
The first objective represents the identification of leadership styles of the teachers who participated
in the study. We provide, as follows, the results collected by using the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid
If we analyze the data presented in Table 1, we notice that the authoritarian leadership style is
predominant (N= 98); its defining notes are the excessive focus on task, in our case the educational
objectives, the building of competencies and a reduced concern for pupils and relationships. This style is
also characterized by a precise monitoring of activities and school performances carried out, by a
unidirectional and formal type of communication, by imposing strict rules which permanently accompany
the accomplishment of tasks. We may anticipate the fact that this style, focused mainly on the
accomplishment of tasks, proves to be less effective in getting superior academic performances by
students as it neglects the aspects regarding relationships, which are vital for the harmony of the
classroom in all its aspects. On a secondary place, there is the democratic/participative leadership style
(N= 75) defined by the teacher’s increased interest in task (the accomplishment of educational objectives,
and the development of desirable competencies), but also in people (interpersonal relationships). A
teacher who uses this style will pay attention to obtaining superior results, but also to the interpersonal
relationships built in the classroom. A frequency of 58 answers is set up for the indulgent/populist
leadership style, according to which the accent is placed on people, on creating a comfortable work
climate, on establishing harmonious relationships in the classroom (teacher-pupils, pupils-pupils), at the
expense of the accomplishment of educational objectives. Most often, the educational reality proves the fact that pupils appreciate this style, which confer legerity and liberty, as the accomplishment of school obligations is placed on a secondary plan.
Further on, the data analysis also underlines other two styles: the passive/minimal style (N= 39), according to which there is a very low interest for tasks and people and the median leadership style (N= 15), characterized by the attempt to maintain a balance between the accomplishment of academic performances and a reasonable mood.
4.2. Analyses of Relationship between Leadership Styles and School Results
By this study we aimed at identifying those leadership styles which prove to be efficient in achieving superior academic performances. Thus, after we identified the leadership styles of teachers who participated in this study, we resorted to some comparative analyses using the ANOVA simple analysis technique. In order to emphasize significant differences, we choose to make some post-hoc comparisons by using the Games-Howell test.
The results following the investigation emphasize a series of statistically significant differences. As a start, we will draw our attention towards the statistically significant differences between the democratic/participative leadership style and the pupils’ level of school training in comparison with the
minimal/passive leadership style, the authoritarian and the indulgent/populist styles. According to this
situation, teachers who manifest concern for the two dimensions of style (task and people), facilitate the
achievement of superior academic performances among pupils. The characteristic note of this style
consists in the increased interest both in task (meaning the accomplishment of educational objectives and
building competencies) and people (inter-human relationships). In other words, the teacher manifesting
this style, which proves to be most efficient and productive, pays attention to the achievement of superior
school results by successfully accomplishing the educational objectives, and also to the interpersonal
relationships built in the classroom. The participative teacher shows an innovative and creative spirit
proves to be available for communication and setting clear directions and educational strategies; he or she
promotes a very high degree of participation and stimulates team work, and also manifests concern for the
needs and interests of those he or she works with.
When we refer to the manifest concern for pupils we may invoke the following characteristics:
Empower pupils ‘creativity and participation in decision making,
Interest for pupils’ well-being and needs,
Cultivate the ongoing development interpersonal relationships,
Stimulate work team (Mora, 2008).
Further on, the analysis of data reflects significant differences also on the level of teachers who
show an authoritarian leadership style, in comparison to the minimal/passive and indulgent/populist
leadership styles. Using an authoritarian leadership style supposes an excessive focus on task, in our case
on the educational objectives and standards and a reduced concern for pupils. On this line, the exclusive
focusing upon tasks is associated with the achievement of superior school results. Thus, regarding the
school education, authoritarians have proved to bring productivity and effectiveness in comparison with
the minimal/passive and the indulgent/populist styles. We can understand the emphatic preoccupation for
task through the following characteristics:
priority for the accomplishment of educational objectives and tasks,
increased importance of planning: firmly setting of tasks, efficient time management,
permanent monitoring of activities, excessive control of pupils,
identification of challenges, which, most of the time, take the shape of tasks having a high level of difficulty,
continual improvement of activities (Mora, 2008).
Last but not least, is the medial leadership style, which ensures a balanced management of activities, and facilitates the accomplishment of superior results, a condition that is not valid when we consider the minimal/passive and the indulgent/populist styles.
The idea of this study is based on simple interrogations: which is the leadership style a teacher
should use in order to increase the quality of school education? What characterizes an efficient leadership
style? Teachers’ interests are multiple. They are interested in choosing the most adequate teaching means
and methods, in creating evaluation situations that will induce less anxiety, and will bring superior
results, in managing efficiently the academic time or conflicts, etc. Some special interest is manifested
also in the area of classroom management during the process of instruction. Here we think of the two
dimensions of the leading style that stood at the basis of the study: the concern for tasks, by which we
understand the accomplishment of educational objectives and development of desirable competencies and
the concern for people, meaning the human relationships. It didn’t take long for the answers to the initial
interrogations to appear. Thus, according to the analyses that were made upon the batch of teachers
formed for this study, the most productive leading style is the democratic/participative style. The proof
consists in statistically significant differences against the minimal/passive, authoritative and
indulgent/populist leading styles and of course in pupils’ superior school results. In other words, if the
teacher is focused on the efficient accomplishment of educational objectives and development of
competencies (focus on tasks) and also on creating a high quality and stable academic climate through the
development of inter-human relationships (focus on people), the chances that pupils will obtain superior
academic performances are ensured. According to the existing data, it was found that other two styles are
also productive, namely the authoritarian and the median styles in relation with the minimal/passive and
the indulgent/populist styles.
In conclusion, leaving from these results, the teachers are encouraged to focus their interest and
attention equally towards the two dimensions: tasks and people, and thus to consciously commit to the
characteristics of a democratic/participative leading style.
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Bota, O. A., & Tulbure, C. (2017). The Relationship Between Leadership Styles And Pupils’ School Results. In E. Soare, & C. Langa (Eds.), Education Facing Contemporary World Issues, vol 23. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 460-467). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2017.05.02.56