This paper reports on research into Australian school principals' leadership. It explores an emerging construct – that of ‘readiness to lead’ – and showcases the development of a tentative tool for determining school principals' readiness to lead.
Seven principals from Australian and International Schools were interviewed about their leadership strategies, intentions and expectations for impending school reform. Qualitative analyses using grounded theory and an interpretivist constructivist paradigm were applied.
The construct of ‘readiness to lead’ emerged during initial analysis and a tool was developed from a compilation of literature on leadership. Findings revealed that five principals were well-aligned with the strategies, intentions and expectations the research literature indicates are characteristic of good leadership. These principals could be regarded as ‘ready to lead’ their schools in significant school reform. An unexpected finding was that the concepts of ‘hope’ and ‘trust’ also played a significant role in leadership. ‘Hope’ appeared important as a major strategy for the less-well aligned principals, whereas mutual ‘trust’ appeared to be evident in the principals with stronger leadership readiness.
The tool warrants peer review and validation; data revealed an emerging construct and review is welcomed. The authors are continuing to research and investigate in this field, and invite further academic dialogue.
The study has explored the fecundity of the tool for analysis, and evaluated the principals' preparedness to lead reform. Having a tool to determine whether and to what degree school principals are ready to lead would be advantageous for the profession.
Johnston, J. and Shipway, B. (2020), "‘Readiness to lead’: a tentative tool for analysis", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 1317-1337. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-03-2019-0088Download as .RIS
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