Training Teachers For Leadership In Education


The article discusses the problem of leadership in education, as well as the range of professional competencies necessary for a teacher to become an effective leader in the classroom, at school, and in the local community. The authors assume that leadership is a professional and personal characteristic of any teacher, and not just the head of an educational organization. Therefore, it is necessary to train future teachers for leadership at the university and through the professional development. The article presents the results of an empirical study aimed at revealing the attitude of teachers to leadership in education as a professionally important quality, as well as to various ways of training teachers for effective leadership. The authors analyze the results of an online survey of teachers and heads of educational organizations. The data obtained show that the responding teachers would like to develop their leadership qualities and consider leadership important for their professional activities. The results of the questionnaire confirmed the need for systematic and purposeful training of teachers for leadership both at the university and in the system of professional development. The authors come to the conclusion that it is necessary to train two categories of leaders in education at the university level: teachers of an educational organization and educational managers who perform leadership functions in this organization.

Keywords: Leadership in education, efficient leader, territorial community, teacher-leader competencies, training teachers for leadership, leadership in the class and at school


Technological changes, digitalization of the economy and all spheres of life are rapidly changing approaches to education, ways of communication and interaction between teachers and students. There is a transition from teaching to learning; the role of distance learning, of intergenerational and intercultural dialogue is increasing. In this context, the problem of effective leadership in education becomes particularly relevant. A modern leader in education is not only the head of an educational organization, but also a teacher who is able to organize professional teams, to develop the students’ leadership qualities and self-management skills, as well as to interact with the local and regional community.

Analysis of the research literature on the problem of leadership has shown that scientists still have not come to one single definition of “leader” and “leadership” (Bendas, 2009; Parygin, 1973; Petrovskiy, 1980). Most often researchers define a leader as a member of a group who is spontaneously promoted to the role of an unofficial leader in a specific significant situation. The main function of a leader is to ensure joint activities of people for the rapid and successful achievement of a common goal (Sventsitskiy, 2019).

Many international and Russian scientists, revealing the phenomenon of leadership in their works, rely on the heredity-based theory of the development of personal qualities of a leader. While considering the concept of “leadership”, proponents of this theory believe that a leader has a certain set of steady personal qualities that can be identified and developed. Thus, Bingham (1927) treats a leader as an individual who has absorbed the greatest number of desired personal qualities. From the point of view of Tead (1929), leadership is a combination of such characteristics of the individual that push others to perform the task. According to Bicheva and Filatova (2017), leadership is manifested in certain personal traits and qualities that distinguish one professional from another and allow successfully obtaining and maintaining leadership positions. The researchers point to such characteristics of the leader as responsibility, the individual’s commitment and focus on achieving high results and goals of the organization; the ability to exert influence, etc.

Basing their ideas on the scientific theory of leadership and understanding of the leader as a key person, the first, the head, Bicheva and Filatova (2017) define the teacher-leader as a person who is trusted and recognized; able to lead a team of children (parents, colleagues), awakening their activity and interest; influence the process of interaction, regulating relationships; responsibly organize the implementation of a particular activity. In this case, the teacher becomes a significant and undoubted authority, influencing the process of development, training and upbringing. Today, the teacher-leader is becoming an important strategic resource for all transformations, being able to generate and perceive innovations, ready to be active and creative (Bicheva & Filatova, 2017).

In the research by Murashov (2017), leadership is presented as a sphere of interaction in which the leader acts as a subject of managing effective communication in the group. The teacher-leader in this aspect appears as a person of dialogue, aimed at establishing dialogical unity or its regulation. As Murashov (2017) rightly points out, a teacher-leader is “a ‘rhetorical person’ – a person who can be a communicative leader, who can organize communication in accordance with the strict canons of influential public argumentation” (p. 152).

The research that reveals the theoretical aspects of leadership in education as a resource for the development of the system of general and higher education is significant for understanding this phenomenon. Thus, the works by Bayburin et al. (2018), Kasprzhak et al. (2019) and others consider the value of pedagogical leadership potential for the development of general education organizations and the improvement of educational services quality. The authors note that if the principal and the management team are informal leaders in the school, it contributes to the continuous and sustainable development of the institution, ensures high educational results of students.

The research by Pochebut and Gazogareeva (2015) theoretically complements the scientific knowledge about informal leadership in the organization. The scientists have identified the structure of social ideas about leadership, status differences in social ideas about leadership, as well as social ideas about the typical behavior of a leader. The object of scientific research by R. F. Bayburin, N. V. Bysik, N. V. Isaeva, A. G. Kasprzhak, and N. B. Filinov is management decision-making styles by school principals. The authors come to the conclusion that in modern conditions, the majority of general education organizations administrators rely on a leadership style that presupposes cooperating with teachers in decision-making and delegating responsibility to them in a situation of uncertainty and high cognitive complexity of tasks (Kasprzhak et al., 2015; Kasprzhak & Bysik, 2014).

Drugova (2019), considering the experience of highly ranked universities, identifies the key characteristics of advanced training programs for academic leaders. The research by Keikha et al. (2017) has led to the development of an intellectual leadership model for public universities that includes four components: rational, emotional, spiritual, and collective one.

Thus, in the scientific literature, leadership is understood as a process of influencing people aimed at achieving the set goals. By directing other people’s actions, the leader achieves his/her own results. The main elements of the leadership process include influence (support), ensuring voluntary participation, and achieving the goal.

Problem Statement

Given the relevance of the study, its scientific problem is to identify the importance of leadership as a professionally important quality of a modern teacher, as well as the need to train future and acting teachers for leadership in education. The authors assume that leadership in education cannot be considered a quality inherent only to socially advanced and ambitious teachers applying for leadership positions in education. The authors suggest that leadership is a professional and personal characteristic of any teacher, showing the readiness for a wide range of interactions in the surrounding social medium. Therefore, it is necessary to train future and acting teachers for leadership in education.

A teacher is a manager who builds relationships with people, establishes contacts and efficient interaction with children and adults to achieve educational goals. From this point of view, a teacher is a professional leader.

Research Questions

In accordance with the statement, the article searches for answers to the following research questions:

  • Do acting teachers consider leadership as a professionally significant quality of the teacher’s personality, necessary for productive interaction with children and adults?
  • What aspects of this quality do they consider the most important for their professional activity?
  • Do teachers consider leadership training necessary, and what kind of training seems the most effective to them?

Purpose of the Study

To identify the attitude of teachers to leadership in education as a professionally significant quality and various ways of training future and acting teachers for leadership in the classroom, at school and in the territorial community.

Research Methods

The research is methodologically based on the competence approach, which allows identifying the professional competencies of teachers in the field of leadership, as well as correlating these competencies with those external and internal functions that the teacher performs in the classroom, at school, in the territorial communities, international professional and public associations, and international virtual teams.

The professionally relevant qualities of a teacher, including leadership in education, were studied from the position of the acmeological approach, leadership was herewith considered as a part of professionalism, which teachers should strive to achieve in regards to the prospects of their career growth, as well as the innovative development of the educational organization in which they work as teachers or managers.

Since the research participants were adult teachers and heads of educational institutions, the application of andragogical approach to the study of leadership qualities in acting and future teachers was justifiable. This approach takes into account the following characteristics of a learning adult: independence and personal self-management of a learning teacher; a large life and professional experience; the intention to solve not only educational, but also vital life problems with the help of education; the eagerness to quickly implement the acquired competencies in educational and professional activities.

To achieve the research objectives, the following methods were used: theoretical analysis of scientific literature on the research problems; methods of questioning, mathematical data processing and generalization of the results of empirical study. To identify the attitude of teachers to leadership in education as a professionally significant quality and various ways of training future and acting teachers for leadership in the classroom, at school and in the territorial community, online surveys on an existing online platform were used.

A questionnaire consisting of 13 informative and evaluative-reflective parts was developed for the online survey.


To solve the research problems, the authors conducted an online survey of 146 acting educators. Among them there were 23 heads of educational organizations, 85 teachers, and 38 tutors. The survey participants were from 22 to 55 years of age.

The respondents were asked to rank 31 professionally important qualities of a teacher in order to identify the rating place of leadership qualities in the general list of professionally significant characteristics. This list included 9 professionally important qualities directly related to leadership in education. As a result, for teachers the most important qualities include managing their own time (57%); taking responsibility for themselves and for others (53%); pedagogical guidance of children’s self-government in the classroom and at school (40%); ability to develop leadership skills in students (40%); ability to convince students, their parents, and colleagues (39%); ability to interact with regional public organizations (32%); recognition and authority in the educational organization (28%); participation in civic initiatives (21%); management of socially significant projects (17%);

The qualities necessary for a leader in education, besides the qualities listed above, are organizational skills (96%); high professionalism (88%); communication skills (84%); ability to represent and protect the interests of other people (84%); ability to influence other people (65%); tolerance (65%); visual appeal (58%).

According to respondents, at school the leaders should be, first of all, the head of the organization and his/her deputies (77%), the heads of methodological associations or subject committees (27%), and class supervising teachers (54%). Only a small part of respondents (12%) considers teachers to be leaders at school. At the same time, teachers estimate the level of their own leadership qualities development as high (35%), medium (65%), and low (0%). 88% of respondents would like to develop their leadership skills; 12% found it difficult to answer.

An important task of the online survey was to identify the opinion of teachers about the need to train teachers for leadership in education. 88% of respondents answered positively to the questionnaire question on this matter; 4% of teachers answered negatively. The surveyed teachers identified the most effective ways to train teachers for leadership in education. The vast majority of respondents (73%) consider conducting such training in the system of professional development as the most rational way. 46% supported the expediency of such training in the framework of Master degree program; 27% suggested training within a Bachelor degree program. Analysis of respondents’ responses showed that 52% agree, 7% disagree, 41% partially agree with the statement “You are not born a leader, you become a leader”. 58% agree and 42% partially disagree with the statement “There is no leader without charisma”. Only 4% agree with the statement “The position and social status make a leader”, whereas 23% partially agree and 73% disagree. The statement “To become a leader, you need to plan a professional career” makes 22% agree, 37% disagree, and 41% partially agree.

According to the study, a significant part of teachers considers, mostly, heads of school, class supervising teachers, and to lesser extent teachers to be leaders in education. At the same time, a significant number of respondents, including teachers, would like to develop their leadership skills and consider training in the professional development system to be the most appropriate way to acquire additional competencies in the field of leadership. At the same time, other ways of training teachers for leadership in education, including Bachelor and Master degree programs, are not excluded.


Having analyzed the research literature and real educational practice, the authors define leadership in education as a direct and indirect influence on the development of educational processes and organizations, as well as the transformation of social relations in pedagogical and children’s groups, aimed at innovative changes in the educational landscape of the territory. Leadership in education encourages children and adults to achieve educational goals, as well as to perform the tasks of social and professional development of the individual.

Depending on the environment in which leadership is manifested (real or virtual; class, group, an educational organization, territorial or international community), the following types of leadership in education can be distinguished:

  • leadership in the children group as a teacher-facilitator, which does not depend on the social status and role position in the adult group;
  • leadership as the head of an educational organization or territorial educational management body, based on managerial functions and competencies;
  • formal or informal leadership in professional communities, including network ones, as heads of methodological associations, tutors, mentors;
  • social leadership in the public space of the territory, as managers of socially significant projects, consultants of youth organizations and associations, organizers of leadership schools for young people;
  • leadership in the cross-cultural space as leaders and participants of international projects, members of international organizations and associations.

In order to form professional and pedagogical competencies, students should be included in various types of educational and socially significant activities. For future teachers, leadership can act as a mechanism for professional and career growth (internal leadership) and a mechanism for social self-realization (external leadership).

The research showed that leadership in education could not be considered as a quality only of socially advanced and ambitious teachers. Leadership is a professional and personal characteristic of any teacher, reflecting his/her readiness for a wide range of interactions with children and adults in the classroom, at school, and in the territorial community. Therefore, both acting and future teachers need to be trained for leadership in education both at the university and in the system of professional development. During such training, students should acquire leadership competencies that relate to the functions performed by teachers in the course of their professional activities. Taking into account the need of educational organizations for teachers-leaders, the university should train two categories of leaders in education: teachers who carry out their main professional activities in an educational organization and educational managers who carry out managerial functions in this organization.


ProjectErasmus+609905-EPP-1-2019-1-IT-EPPKA2-CBHE-JP “Development of Skills and Teachers Training for Leadership” / DeSTT.


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Globalization, digital education, leadership, challenges of the time, оn-line pedagogy, universal and national values

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Pevzner, M., Petryakov, P., & Shirin, A. (2021). Training Teachers For Leadership In Education. In A. G. Shirin, M. V. Zvyaglova, O. A. Fikhtner, E. Y. Ignateva, & N. A. Shaydorova (Eds.), Education in a Changing World: Global Challenges and National Priorities, vol 114. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1-8). European Publisher.