Texas female superintendents' self perception of their preferred leadership styles




McCool, Lisa Ann

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The purpose of this study was to examine the self-perception of leadership styles of practicing female superintendents in Texas and how their preferred leadership style affected their performance. The study posed the following questions:(1) What are the preferred leadership styles of the practicing female superintendents in Texas as measured by Bolman & Deal’s (2003) four frames of leadership? (2) What are the predominant behaviors that female superintendents in Texas identify within each frame of leadership? (3) How do the preferred leadership styles and behaviors influence the superintendents’ every day performance? This study was relied on a mixed method approach, quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative component involved surveying 50 female superintendents, using the Leadership Orientations (Self-Report) survey (Bolman & Deal, 1990). The qualitative component included a semi-structured interview which asked follow up questions with six selected female superintendents (two from rural, two from suburban, and two from urban districts) who consented to the interview regarding the influence of their leadership preferences. The findings suggest participants’ preferred leadership style relates to the Human Resource frame which include: being an inspirational leader, utilizing interpersonal skills, making good decisions; as well as, coaching and developing people. Findings also suggest that predominant behaviors include: supporting others, building trusting relationships through collaboration, and being participative. The preferred leadership styles and behaviors’ influence on female superintendents’ everyday performance resulted in embracing collaboration, being transparent, sharing a vision, being passionate, and building trusting relationships. Additionally, beliefs and behaviors that lead to success include: being honest, depersonalize the situations, education makes a difference, adopt flexibility, and power to make decisions. The characteristics that lead to success are: being spiritual, being organized, being committed, and willing to help others. Furthermore, the following advice was offered: learn to cope with high level of visibility, become knowledgeable of the district’s needs and characteristics, and develop a professional image. Finally, implications for aspiring female superintendents, superintendent preparation programs and school boards members are also presented.



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