Leadership Style Review Essay

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Effective leadership is critical to an organization's success. Organizations "seek those with leadership ability because they believe they bring special assets to their organizations, and ultimately, improve the bottom line" (Northouse, 2012, p. 1). Taking the educational system as one such organization allows the systematic study of leadership styles and their effect on what is arguably a school’s bottom line—student achievement. Thus, to improve student success, it is necessary to begin with an analysis of leadership styles within the education system. Principals have been and will continue to be the primary leaders in K-12 schools throughout the 21st century. Their thoughts, behaviors, actions, and decisions significantly impact how school culture is shaped, staff and student achievement, and overall school success. Much of a principal’s tenets stem from the particular leadership style he or she promotes, be it transformational, transactional, democratic, autocratic, laissez-faire or situational. What complicates a potentially linear relationship between one particular leadership style and student achievement is that principals often combine two or more styles depending on the needs of their environment. However, despite the increased difficulty for analysis, combining leadership styles can lead to increased efficiency and effectiveness of the faculty and staff, students, and the school as a whole (Van, Coleman, & Simpson, 2014).

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