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Chapter 8 Relational Acumen

Understanding the Principalship: An International Guide to Principal Preparation

ISBN: 978-1-78190-678-1, eISBN: 978-1-78190-679-8

Publication date: 1 May 2013


The principalship is a social position, and inherent in the position is the ability to understand and influence people, ultimately developing productive and positive working relationships. Managing a school in this social realm requires two interrelated types of human interaction and management skills: the relational/social skills involved in building positive interpersonal relationships; and political skills, which involve negotiating macropolitical and micropolitical influences as well as proactively making use of these influences to achieve organizational goals. It is argued that these sets of skills can be acquired through leadership development programs that build social, relational, and political acumen. This chapter begins the discussion of the inseparable nature of the social, political, and relational dimensions of educational leadership within the social context of schools. This discussion also addresses the ethical and pedagogical implications for leadership development programs to incorporate the understanding and development of social, relational, and political “leadership acumen.”


Churchley, J., Neufeld, P. and Purvey, D. (2013), "Chapter 8 Relational Acumen", Slater, C.L. and Nelson, S.W. (Ed.) Understanding the Principalship: An International Guide to Principal Preparation (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 171-195.



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