There are several different types of leadership. Although many of us have a natural inclination to lean towards one or more types, based on past life experiences and innate abilities, there is one question you should always ask yourself as a leader: What type of leader do I need to be in order to meet the needs and goals of the particular school I am leading? You will not always be placed at a school based on your natural leadership type. Therefore, you must transform yourself to be the leader your school community needs.

The first type of leadership, transformational leadership, is one concerned with long-term goals, values, emotions, standards, and ethics (Northouse, 2013). As defined by Northouse (2013), it is “a process that transforms and changes people.” This type of leadership often encompasses charismatic personality traits and a visionary look at the needs of a school community. It encourages the community to extend beyond their ordinary ways to change their culture through tactics of motivation and attention to moral issues. Often times our culture is conditioned to engage in transactional leadership, merely back and forth exchanges of solidity. In opposition, transformational leaders manage to change habits by connecting to the needs of the community and by pushing its participants to its highest level of potential. This leadership aims to change aspects of a school culture positively by focusing on school climate, culture, and decision making by being self-confident and pushing the concept of self-efficacy. Some famous examples of this type of leadership would be Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, or Mohandas Gandhi in that they motivated people to make change. Their work was idealistic, innovative, and inspirational.

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Of course, inspiration comes from many places. Servant Leadership is a type of leadership that internalizes inspiration in order to serve the needs of others first. Northouse (2013) describes this type of leadership as a “paradoxical approach to leadership that challenges our traditional beliefs… (and) emphasizes that leaders should be attentive to the needs of followers, empower them, and help them develop their full human capacities.” This leadership is not based on the leaders “self-interests” and serves for the greater good of the society (Northouse, 2013). Servant leaders focus on stewardship and on injustices using empathy and awareness as their main facets in creating a valuable school community. Although the term “servant” may diminish the status as a leader, many schools rely upon this type of leadership to build engagement and create promise for a brighter future.

Due to the fact that many followers have lost faith in leadership, as a whole, the concept of “Authentic Leadership” emerged and fulfilled followers’ voids with that of transparency. Full disclosure of events, plans, and practices allowed followers to gain trust and remain hopeful for true leadership. This leadership provides for the community by having difficult questions answered, necessary information provided, and decisions for the good of the community made. Northouse (2013), explains that “…researchers have identified four major components of authentic leadership: self-awareness, internalized moral perspective, balanced processing, and relational transparency.” The basis is to clarify the “what” and prescribe ways to fix the problems.

The final type, although there are probably many more as defined by others, is the cliché of “There is no I in TEAM.” The Team approach to leadership encourages groups, or teams, to make decisions for the best of the “whole.” It emphasizes focused, collaborative efforts to reach goals. Task forces, committees, or improvement teams work together to develop or intervene where necessary and create effective plans to solve issues in their school community. This type of leadership can be very functional when the school already has community members who are educated and developed professionally on a regular basis. It allows community members to share ideas and work to fix complex problems, and then bring those ideas to the leader with suggestions for implementation within the school community.

Now that the types of leadership have been defined, where do you see yourself? Are you a team leader? Do you have traits and attributes of several of the different types? Ask yourself what some of the commonalities are in terms of community expectations and needs. What types of leaders have you served under and why do you think those leaders chose to be that type? Think about it…and remember to consider the needs of your school community first.

With you in leadership,
Lindsay Augustyniak Csogi
Middle School Teacher, Sarasota County Schools, F.L.
M.A., Reading and Language Arts, Rider University
M.A., Educational Leadership, Public Schools K-12, U.S.F

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice (6th edition). SAGE Publications, New Delhi, India.