IDEALS – Leadership

What Is Leadership?

Leadership is the process of working collaboratively to shape a culture of interdependence and trust to foster inclusive practices. It serves a shared vision, is responsive to growth opportunities, and promotes learning and empowerment for all stakeholders.

Types of Leadership

It is necessary to recognize that school leaders can be more than one type of leader, as different scenarios within the school environment will require different responses. Effective leaders adapt to the needs of their teachers and students, blending different leadership styles and strategies to meet those needs.

At the center of school leadership is instructional leadership, which requires effective use of many different leadership styles to drive school improvement. A strong instructional leader balances operational tasks with practices that support, guide, and prepare teachers to make instructionally effective and technologically sound decisions. This results in increased student achievement.


Leadership Practices:

Shared decision-making paves the way for school communities to contribute to organizational goals. It is also critical for making improvements in practice. Leaders ensure that all involved have influence on the process and participate in every aspect of it.

Collaborative Decision-Making

Once teachers become more confident in engaging consistently and regularly with other staff around shared goals for students and schools, they can begin to engage with the families and communities they serve (Shields & Hesbol, 2019). This process by which teachers and administrators work together to include these individuals is called collective leadership (Eckert, 2019). The community is a team unified around the goal of student success.


Empowerment, trust, and self-efficacy help teachers feel valued and connected to their school and the profession, which has powerful implications for long-term retention37. They also establish teachers as equal partners who can mutually benefit from their colleagues’ knowledge and skills38. Giving teachers a voice and ownership in the direction of the school demonstrates commitment on the part of leadership40. This not only engages teachers but also emphasizes that the work is more important than the individual.


When all the conditions described above are thriving, leadership can respond to change in ways that encourage growth. Capacity building can work as professional development as well as team building when it is integrated into the school day to ensure that both teachers’ and leaders’ time is valued and honored. Cultivating instructional leaders takes time, dedication, and flexible structures.

Responding to change

How does Leadership relate to my work?

The Importance of Leadership in Schools

With the instructional leadership model, we ask teachers to devote time and energy in professional learning communities, to collaborate on school-wide decisions, and to respond to change for growth. School administration should empower the staff, provide them with the things they need to be successful, improve their self-efficacy, and ensure that each task is meaningful. Schools are empowered to better serve their communities when teachers are supported through the inquiry process and when they are encouraged to have open and honest discourse about how to provide equitable and authentic educational experiences for students.

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