Home' Independence : Independence Vol 35 No 2 Oct 2010 Contents 50 Independence Vol 35 No 2 Oct 10
objective and authoritarian and perceived
as being distant, aloof, impersonal and
inconsiderate. No leader in this day and
age could be so motivated and remain
effective. Rather, this article argues that,
unlike previously, whereby school Principals
had some relative freedom to find the
appropriate balance between their rational
and relational responsibilities, a balance
that seemed to meet the needs of their
school, their system and their self, now this
newly mandated educational leadership
responsibility will replace this freedom with
some very specific expectations.
As Hargreaves (2005) points out, any
educational change that impacts on
the perceived professional identity of a
teacher automatically evokes an emotional
response. If teachers are expected to
become far more professionally literate
and explicit in all that they do, they could
well feel that their professional credibility
and integrity are in jeopardy and this
will arouse a strong negative emotional
reaction necessitating a relational rather
than a rational response from the
Principal. Moreover, such a relational
response is far more complicated,
unpredictable and time consuming.
Simply stated, if Principals are to properly
and authentically fulfil the educational
leadership part of their school leadership
role, then they will need far more time to
be devoted to working in a relational way
with those of their teaching staff who are
struggling with the practical and emotional
consequences of becoming far more
professionally literate and explicit in all
that they do. But where will this time come
from if, as the literature unambiguously
demonstrates, the Principal’s role is
already being taken up by ever increasing
Finding a balance
In sum, the cultural duality that is forming
within the already demanding role of
the school Principal has the potential to
heighten not only the existing untenable
level of disinterest in becoming a Principal
amongst suitably capable middle
managers in schools but also of increasing
the unacceptable levels of stress now
experienced by existing school Principals.
The solution begins with educational
systems taking far more notice and
responsibility for the deteriorating
workplace environment of the school
Principal. If school Principals are to
be the educational leaders within their
school community, then the challenge
for educational systems is to seek
ways of reducing the ever increasing
site management demands. Nor can
independent school Principals escape this
need: the pivotal place of educational
leadership in the school Principal’s role
will become a societal expectation that
will impact on each and every Principal
in all school sectors. Hence, where the
Principal is largely independent of any
apparent systemic influence, they will
have to oversee the redistribution of
their own duties so that they can fulfil
this expectation, too. Arguably, a more
comprehensive use of paraprofessionals
in the form of strategic human resource
management and development personnel
might be the answer.
Dr Christopher M. Branson is Senior Lecturer in
the School of Educational Leadership, Australian
Catholic University and a Research Associate
with the Centre for the Study of Leadership and
Ethics at Pennsylvania State University, USA.
He has been a Principal in Australian Catholic
coeducational secondary and P-12 schools.
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As the school site manager, the role of the
school Principal is now akin to that of a chief
executive officer within a business or industrial
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