Do you transact or transform? How teacher leaders can operate

April 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

How do you lead in your school/organisation?

Lately I’ve been reading about two types of leadership that are prominent in school leadership systems today. The first, transactional leadership, is where each aspect of a team’s performance is broken down into separate transactions. It is a leadership style where each person works out of a sense of duty and the chief motivator for staff is either reward or punishment.

Transformational leadership is where team members are inspired by a clear vision from a leader. Rather than just completing day to day tasks team members are aware of a bigger picture that the leader has laid out. Silva, D.Y., Gimbert, B. and Nolan, J. (2000) notes that transformational leaders in schools will,

‘help redesign schools, mentor their colleagues, 
engage in problem solving at the school level, 
and provide professional growth activities 
for colleagues’

They also found that transformational leaders,

‘navigate the structures of schools, nurture 
relationships, model professional growth, 
encourage change, and challenge
 the status quo’

So a number of questions arise.

Have you considered your current leadership style?

What strategies could be followed in order to develop transformational leadership?


Silva, D.Y., Gimbert, B. and Nolan, J. (2000) 
‘Sliding the Doors: Locking and Unlocking
Possibilities for Teacher Leadership’, 
Teachers College Record 102(4): 779–804.

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