Analysis of situational leadership styles of principals of more effective elementary schools in Connecticut

Date of Completion

January 1988


Education, Administration




The purpose of this study was to investigate and analyze the behavior patterns that principals in the Connecticut School Effectiveness Project exhibit when they attempt to lead the staff into developing a more instructionally effective school. The leadership analysis was based on Hersey and Blanchard's Situational Leadership Theory and on an ethnographic analysis of the leader's management roles.^ The following three statistical hypotheses were developed for the purpose of this study: (Ho1) There is no significant difference between principals of schools with high and low effectiveness ratings and their: (1.1) Instructional Leadership scores in the C.S.E.Q. (1.2) Adaptability scores on the L.E.A.D. (1.3) Style Frequency on the L.E.A.D. (Ho2) There is no significant difference between the principals of schools with high and low effectiveness ratings and their self perceptions of their leadership style as well as the perceptions of their staff of their leadership style. (Ho3) There is no significant interaction between the schools' effectiveness ratings and the adaptability of principals as measured by their self perception and the perceptions of their professional staffs.^ The data was analyzed using the ANOVA statistical procedure at p $<$.05 level of significance. The statistical and ethnographic analysis revealed the following findings: (1) More effective instructional leaders tend to manage more effective schools; (2) There is no best leadership style for all situations. (3) Principals assume different leadership styles depending on the situation. (4) The primary leadership style used by principals participating in the effective schools is coaching; (5) Principals that perceive themselves as being more participating leaders manage more effective schools. (6) The managerial behavior of principals is diverse and fragmented; (7) Due to the diversity of roles assumed by principals and due to the fragmented nature of their work, this study strongly suggests that principals that are able to vary their leadership style in accordance with the situation, are more effective leaders.^ This study revealed information that will enhance the Connecticut School Effectiveness Project's staffs ability to plan and implement effective short and long term strategies that will help schools develop a more effective instructional program. ^