Leadership for Restructuring or Systemic Change
Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.
-- N. Postman, 1982, p. xi
The increasing problems of poverty and
social disruption in the lives of our children are more threatening
than ever before. To rescue children "from hopelessness and violence,"
we must consider dramatic changes in educational programs and social
services (Hayes, 1992, p. 724). Reactions to this appeal and to
the call for major educational changes have been mixed. At the federal
executive and legislative level, much interest and concern have
been expressed, but few substantive measures have materialized.
Many professional educators, on the one hand, call for massive systemic
change or restructuring of schools. Others point to the lack of
clear empirical evidence that promises results from restructuring
(Fullan, 1991) or to the lack of real need for doing so (Gabbett,
1991). The Sandia National Laboratories report Perspective on Education
in America (Carson, Huelskamp, & Woodall, 1991) "concludes the nation's
education system doesn't need a complete overhaul" (Gabbett, 1991,
p. A1). In light of these conflicting messages, how might leaders
consider whether restructuring is a possibility for their schools,
districts, communities, and regional and state educational agencies?
Corbett (1990) defines restructuring as major changes in roles,
relationships, and rules to obtain new results in schools and districts. The
need for restructuring and integrating the resources of the broader
environment with those of schools has been proposed (Hayes, 1992). Fullan
(1991) acknowledges the potential of restructuring schools and altering the
relationships of schools to the external forces that surround them. As Fullan
admits, there is a "strong conceptual rationale" for restructuring schools but
not much positive outcome data to support it (p. 88); "there is more of a
sense of promise" (Murphy, 1992, p. 91). Hallinger and Edwards (1992) note
that research describing the "successful implementation of large scale,
system-wide change is sparse" (p. 132). There is a "virtual absence of
reported empirical data on how district leaders engage their organizations in
fundamental reforms" (p. 133).
Further, there are those who proclaim that restructuring activity is
for the purpose of satisfying the public that action is being taken to address
their concerns about education. Malen, Ogawa, and Kranz (1990) make this
observation about site-based management, one form of restructuring. Baldridge
and Deal (1983) maintain that "large-scale intervention projects in schools
[such projects are seen as changing roles and relationships] produce only
limited measurable change, but they do increase satisfaction, establish shared
beliefs, and restore confidence and support among key constituencies"
Baldridge and Deal note further that a key feature of any change is to
"reestablish illusions." Change is a set of "rituals, ceremonies, and signals
that communicate or express myths and values to the world inside and outside
an organization" (p. 367). In short, they observe, large-scale change efforts
appear to produce only the illusion of change, rather than real change, but
they observe that the illusion seems to be a kind of useful substitute.
In a somewhat similar vein, Osborne and Cochran (1992) recognize that
educational organizations are complex and multifaceted, citing Leon
Lessinger's metaphor of "messes." Lessinger explains that because
organizations' programs are complex and interdependent, they cannot be
addressed independently. Leaders, then, are no longer problem solvers;
instead, they can only "manage messes," a term given to the current state of
school change and reform efforts (Lessinger, cited by Osborne & Cochran,
p. 15). Osborne and Cochran, however, in acknowledging the difficulties,
suggest that what is needed is to look at the big picture and address the
"whole of the organization" in a systems approach (p. 15).
A challenging and reassuring note was provided also by William Boast,
who maintained, in a keynote address, "Achieving Quality in Times of Change,"
(delivered February 12, 1992, at the conference The Evolving Process of
Government in a World of Technological Change) that the reason for the
existence of the hundreds of persons at the conference was their role as
leaders. That role was to make sense of managing and maintaining (or even
increasing) the productivity of the organization, even in difficult and
chaotic times. This hopeful view directs us to the positive side of the
literature on restructuring.
On a Positive Note
Many writers believe that schools need to, and indeed can, change in major
ways. David and Shields (1991) argue that increasing school effectiveness
is "more complicated than researchers and policymakers imagine...[A]t
the same time it is demonstrably possible, and knowledge of what
it takes continues to expand" (p. 28). Cuban (1988) recommends "second-order
change" (p. 342) that transforms (restructures) the school's old
way of doing things into new ways that will solve problems. First-order
change, which tries to improve on what exists without significant
or substantial change, Cuban says, has permitted the school to remain
ineffective in producing success for all students.
Corbett (1990) argues that in order to achieve different, and better,
results, the school will need to make changes in its rules, roles, and
relationships. Schlechty, in an interview with Sparks (1991), agrees with the
need and the definition, adding that restructuring "is not the same as school
improvement, in which schools are expected to do better at what they are
already doing" (p. 1). Schlechty states that schools are already doing as
well as they can at what they do; thus we must try something different to
achieve improvement. Further, leaders for schools must learn to think about
schools differently, develop new visions of what schools could be. "A
compelling vision is so important … [visions] are intended realities that
suggest desired futures" (Schlechty & Cole, 1991, p. 79). What are the new
visions that leaders will use to guide schools?
Outcomes for Students
To prepare students for the 21st century and beyond, a future that is expected
to be quite different from the present, educators and their communities
are rethinking their responsibilities. Yesterday's expectation of
students was that they would learn to recall information; today
and tomorrow students and all citizens will be required to perform
complex tasks. For example, a school district in Colorado identified
19 outcomes for students, clustered in five categories that describe
what each student will be expected to become: a self-directed learner,
a collaborative worker, a complex thinker, a quality producer, and
a community contributor (Redding, 1992). Similarly, as a result
of extensive reviews of the literature, the North Central Regional
Laboratory identified four characteristics of successful learners
in our nation's schools (Jones & Fennimore, 1990):
- Knowledgeable - Successful learners use their acquired
knowledge to think fluently and with authority, having a
strong sense of what they believe and why; they are problem
solvers and evaluators of information, reflecting on and
puzzling about information.
- Self-determined - Successful learners are motivated and feel
efficacious in determining their own development; they
believe in hard work and persevere with confidence when
difficulties arise, assuming the world will provide opportunities
and choices for their examination and action.
- Strategic - Successful students think about and control their
own learning through their use of strategies for learning
various subjects; they plan, organize, monitor, and summarize
their learning, orchestrating these learning activities.
- Empathetic - Successful students see themselves and the world
through the eyes of others, examining their own beliefs and
those of others and sharing experiences to increase
understanding and appreciation; they recognize the value of
communicating with others, as well as developing a range of
interpersonal skills to interact with and develop appreciation
of multiple cultures.
These two sets of student outcomes are similar in many ways. It is clear
in both that the emphasis is on learning rather than teaching and
that the valuing of self in addition to others is basic to working
together, as students help one another (Kohn, 1991). It is also
clear that school leaders must give primary attention to outcomes
as a way of thinking about how the school should do its work. Rethinking
"fundamental changes in expectations for student learning, in the
practice of teaching, and in the organization and management of
public schools" is the current focus of educational reform (Elmore,
1990, p. 1).
Corbett (1990) and Schlechty (interviewed by Sparks, 1991) maintain that
new results in schools are necessary and can occur only through
restructuring. Corbett and Blum (1992), describing a model developed
and refined by several of the federally funded regional educational
laboratories in their collaborative restructuring project (see Figure
5), suggest that the why (outcomes) of improving schools precedes
the what and the how and that the why should be embedded firmly
in student outcomes. They also recommend community-wide involvement
in identifying and establishing outcomes.
Figure 5. Thinking About Improving Schools
||What is Restructuring
||How can Restructuring Happen?
Adapted from R. Blum & S.M. Hord (1992, March). Restructuring for Results.
Presentation at Creating the Quality School Conference, Norman, OK.
If thinking about making schools more effective starts with students
and their learnings, outcomes, or behaviors, then the next step is to consider
and design teaching/learning situations that will produce the desired
outcomes. If the desired outcomes are, or are similar to, those presented
above (Redding, 1992; Jones & Fennimore, 1990), then school as usual will not
be sufficient. A major redesign will be necessary to realize the new
outcomes. As Corbett and Blum make clear, all subsequent changes must be
demonstrably relevant to promoting these results. The organization and
delivery of curriculum, the way students and teachers are arranged and
scheduled, and the day-to-day teaching strategies, for example, are examined
and redesigned with the outcomes firmly in mind. The key is understanding
clearly what it is that students will be doing differently from what they have
been doing before (Corbett & Blum, 1992).
The third part of such thinking takes its cue from the new
teaching/learning situations; they dictate how the system must change to
accommodate the new ways in which teaching and learning will occur. For
instance, the method by which students are grouped for learning activities
(classes) may not continue to use the typical strategy of chronological age.
Scheduling for organizing "classes" and students' work may be quite different.
"Classrooms" may be in the community, and parts of the community may become
integrated with the school. Clearly, changes in structure, norms and values,
governance -- to name a few areas -- will require consideration.
In all three dimensions of this way of thinking (outcomes,
teaching/learning situations, system changes), roles, rules, and relationships
will be re-created. Such change includes a reexamination of the roles of
students, teachers, school- and district- level administrators, parents,
community members, and the interrelationships among these groups. Such
changes will be supported by new rules and policies. The key question is,
"How do current rules, roles, and relationships have to change given the
results a district wants to see?" (Corbett & Blum, 1992, p. 14). These two
authors suggest that unrestructuring may be a needed first step so that new
practices don't "get dumped on top of the residue of prior ones" (p. 15). In
other words, there must be a plan for abandoning useless or dysfunctional
practices that do not contribute to new outcomes.
If we are currently "managing messes," if we need a vast overhaul of
schools by rethinking outcomes and their impact on teaching and learning, and
if new teaching and learning processes in turn influence system factors, a
major challenge looms before us. An immediate question is, Who will guide and
support such changes? Thus, we are led back to the theme of facilitative
leadership and the literature on restructuring and systemic change to gain
insights about the roles of leaders.
Again, the Need for Leaders
"Most children assume that knowledge just happens to them, that it is handed
to them by some parentlike seer as if it were a peanut butter and
jelly sandwich" (Sizer, 1984, p. 3). This image is clearly not similar
to that proposed in the foregoing section on restructuring for new
student outcomes. If schools are to move from Sizer's image of imparting
knowledge to passive students to that depicted by Jones and Fennimore
(1990), in which students are engaged in the design and management
of their own learning, major shifts must occur in the way schools
operate and learning is organized.
The key factor of the movement is the classroom teacher, and as Elmore
(1992) suggests, "it is patently foolish to expect individual teachers to be
able to learn and apply the ideas … by themselves" (p. 46). In studying
and critiquing the New Futures Experience, which attempted systemic change in
behalf of disadvantaged youth, Wehlage, Smith, and Lipman (1992) observed that
teachers need to be supported in their efforts with extensive staff
development activities. One of their conclusions is that leadership is
essential to the process of holistic school change, so that such needs are
It may seem redundant to make the point again about the need for
leadership. However, the abundant publications and presentations on shared or
participatory decision making, and school- or site-based management, seem to
have led many educational practitioners to assume that leadership should
become diffused, not highly visible, and not well identified as
responsibilities for particular persons (personal communications with workshop
participants, 1991 & 1992). As we shall see, the need for persons to fill the
role and functions of leaders continues to be a requirement in the
restructuring efforts of the nineties.
In his assessment of the essentiality of leadership, Murphy (1991b)
maintains that "the one substance area where change efforts converge is …
leadership" (p. 54). This is not surprising, Murphy says, because leadership
is "the coin of the realm in virtually all reform reports" (p. 54). Changes
of practice can best be nurtured by leadership (Wehlage et al., 1992) and some
writers believe that realizing systemic change is akin to what leaders already
know about implementing multiple, intertwined school improvement efforts, with
the caveat that restructuring is "incredibly more massive and complex" (Harvey
& Crandall, 1988, p. 15).
Similarly, Anderson (1991) observes that since effective schools
projects typically were constituted of multiple innovations, principals' roles
in the context of such multiple change efforts provide understandings that can
be translated to the development and emergence of broad-based leadership for
restructuring projects. There are efforts under way already to ascertain how
the effective schools correlates, "leadership and monitoring, will change as
the … structures of schools are altered" (Murphy, 1992, p. 93). We enter
this new era of reform with considerably more organizational, political, and
technical sophistication than we have had heretofore, but Horsley, Terry,
Hergert, and Loucks-Horsley (1991) remind us that change is technically simple
and socially complex.
One of the actions of such leadership focuses on vision. Schlechty
and Cole (1991) explain that leaders must market a compelling vision to keep
intended realities and desired futures before people. Leaders need a clear
grasp of the nature of the change to be implemented. Wehlage and colleagues
(1992) reflect on the weaknesses of the New Futures Experience and conclude
that there was not a clear enough vision of how schools might be different. A
more precise vision, unlike leaders' actions in the eighties, proceeds from a
top-down/bottom-up process of interaction and mutual influence between
official leaders and practitioners. This process supports shared meanings and
"sharpens the collective educational vision" (Wehlage et al., 1992, p. 84).
In addition to the leaders' actions for developing vision and its
communication, cited above by Schlechty and Cole (1991) and Wehlage (1992),
there are other actions taken by leaders in restructuring efforts. Case
studies comparing a principal in New Mexico with one in England report about
the principals in restructuring their schools' decision-making and governance
procedures (Hord & Poster, in press). They were active in establishing a new
atmosphere and approach for improvement through encouraging staff in new
norms: reading research, reflecting, and studying together. They made clear
to their faculties that change would require time, and they arranged for this
important resource. They were engaged in providing a supportive environment
that included both human and material resources, establishing a climate that
was conducive to change efforts.
These restructuring leaders used time also in reteaching staff and
allowing them to re-experience learning processes for decision making and
problem solving. They did not assume that one shot at learning new procedures
would be adequate. Thus, monitoring progress toward the vision was another
activity exemplified by these principals. They also monitored themselves and
their changing roles and behaviors. Last, they were quite busy making
midcourse adjustments based on their findings from monitoring the school's
efforts. These restructuring projects originated from the identification of
new outcomes for students: developing critical thinking and problem-solving
skills. New roles and relationships in both schools developed between
teachers and students and between teachers and administrators. And in one
school parents took on new roles.
The six types of principals' leadership for restructuring in these
cases conform to the categories reviewed in section two of this paper.
However, various writers suggest that an additional perspective on leadership
is needed for restructuring.
Tranformational Leadership: From Push to Pull
Most efforts at restructuring, Leithwood (1992b) suggests, include some
alterations of the existing power relationships in districts and
schools. These may center on site-based decision making and management,
increased parent and community involvement in curricular and instructional
decisions, and others. These new power and control alignments in
schools are following similar shifts in business and industry, based
on power that is "consensual … a form of power manifested through
other people, not over other people" (Leithwood, 1992b, p. 9). To
achieve change and improvement in schools there must be a balance
of top-down and facilitative forms of power; "finding the right
balance is the problem" (Leithwood, 1992b, p. 9). School leaders
must use facilitative power to transform their schools; such leaders
do this, Leithwood (1992b) says, by
- helping staff members develop and maintain a collaborative
professional school culture
- fostering teacher development
- helping staff solve problems together more effectively.
Thus, one new view of leadership envisions leaders more as human
resource developers and less as administrators in positions of authority
who direct various tasks to be done (Reavis & Griffith, 1992). Rather
than telling, pushing, and driving the organization, the leader
expects the highest possible from each staff person, gets commitment,
and works with individual staff in a personalized, goal-setting
way. "They provide an environment that promotes individual contributions
to the organization's work" (Méndez-Morse, 1992, in press).
Bennis and Nanus (1985), from their study of exemplary corporate
leaders, describe this process by saying that leaders "pull," rather
than push. They pull through a compelling vision that creates focus
for the organization and leads to an intensive plan of action for
Leaders establish the vision in the system's members and
simultaneously nurture the organization to foster additional "pull"
leadership. This can happen, Kanter's study of "change masters" reveals, if
the organization is one that is integrated as a whole and not segmented into
parts (Kanter, 1983). Schools, however, have been described as loosely
coupled organizations (Weick, 1982), with various grade levels and academic
departments, for example, poorly connected to each other.
One of the strategies of systemic change is involving all parts of the
school organization, thus working toward integration. Through such
organization, the participants gain power in a series of steps, the purposes
of the leader and the staff become fused, the leader exercises pull, and the
staff members are motivated to try out their ideas. An additional dimension
to the new leadership model is the making of decisions based on high moral
values supported by harmony, coherence, and "social justice and caring"
(Murphy, 1992, p. 100). It is "a deep commitment to principle, to enduring
values, to people -- all the people served by the organization" (Reavis &
Griffith, 1992, p. 25).
Permission for Passion
Others also have described leadership that subscribes to and is directed
by moral authority, what may be thought of as "higher order leadership"
(M.W. McGhee, personal communication, May 23, 1992). In this mode,
Sergiovanni (1990a) describes value-added leadership that emphasizes
enhancing meaning about tasks rather than manipulating people, enabling
staff to do their work rather than giving them directions, leading
with passion instead of calculation, and developing collegial relationships
rather than congeniality. Barth (1990) distinguishes between congeniality
and collegiality; "congeniality suggests people getting along …
friendly, cordial … enjoying each other's company" (p. 30). For
a definition of collegiality, Barth borrows from Little (1981) and
reports her four collegial behaviors: "adults in school talk about
practice … observe each other engaged in [their] practice … work
on curriculum … teach each other (Barth, 1990, p. 31). It could
be said that congeniality is person-focused and collegiality is
task-focused. Sergiovanni (1990b) describes leaders who push and
pull, who are both ahead of and behind the staff.
Based on his work with many leaders in many schools, Sergiovanni
(1990b) describes leaders who push and pull, who are both ahead of and behind
the staff. Brandt (1992) quotes Sergiovanni, who describes this leader as
being a "better follower: better at articulating the purposes of the
community; more passionate about them, more willing to take time to pursue
them" (p. 47). Such leaders are constantly leading and prodding, and practice
leadership by outrage, if necessary.
Sergiovanni explains outrage. He cites three sources of leadership
authority and reports that in bureaucratic organizations with leadership based
in bureaucratic "command" authority, leaders are expected to be cold and
calculating. When the source of leadership is psychological authority, the
leader must be sensitive to others' interpersonal needs, which can make the
leader's behavior condescending -- treating people like children. But, if
leadership is directed by moral authority, the leader can "behave normally
… get angry, and be disappointed … treating [people] much more
authentically … if you're not pleased with something … say so" (Brandt,
1992, p. 46).
These leaders bring a sense of passion and risk, symbolizing to others
that anything worth believing in is worth being passionate about. These
leaders care deeply enough to show passion and when quality is not achieved,
that passion often takes the form of outrage.
The emphasis on high quality is an organizational value, and leaders
achieve quality within the culture of the organization by rewarding it,
exhibiting it, and supporting those who hold out for it. Quality must be a
core value if staff are to have pride in the system. Pride, then, is the
guardian of quality. Quality is produced by people, and it is the centrality
of concern for people that Peters and Austin (1985) found in their study of
excellent companies. Such leaders exhibit a "bone-deep" commitment to
everyone in the organization. To foster risk taking, leaders communicate and
demonstrate that it is okay for anyone to make a mistake.
Leaders with passion and a quest for quality stress continuous
learning (Reavis & Griffith, 1992). They are learners themselves, and they
expect their staff to be learners as well. There is a growing interest in
having schools become learning organizations where learning is extended to all
levels of the school -- not just to students, but to teachers, administrators,
and all staff (Senge & Lannon-Kim, 1991). This idea was earlier proposed by
Barth (1986) when he described school learning communities, administered by
the head learner, the principal.
Senge (1990), basing his views on his work in the corporate sector and
on the "seminal works of David Bohm and Chris Argyris" (p. 412), has
specified the capacities that individuals and the organization collectively
will need to become a learning organization. Five disciplines, or ways of
thinking and interacting in the organization, represent these capacities. The
first is systems thinking, a means of seeing wholes, recognizing patterns and
interrelationships, and being able to structure the interrelationships more
effectively. This discipline integrates the other four, fusing them into a
Building shared vision is the practice of articulating compelling
images of what an organization wants to create, sharing pictures of the future
that foster genuine commitment. Personal mastery is the skill of continually
clarifying and deepening personal vision, identifying what each individual
wants in his/her personal life. Senge asserts that without personal visions
there can be no shared vision.
Using mental models involves distinguishing what has actually been
observed from assumptions and generalizations based on the observations. It
involves holding assumptions up to the world for scrutiny and making them open
to the influence of others. Last, team learning is the capacity to think
together through dialogue and discussion. Developing team learning skills
involves each individual's balancing inquiry and advocacy to achieve decision
making that is collaborative.
To create and sustain a learning organization, leaders will need to
construct environments in which people are continually increasing their
capacity to shape their future. For leaders, the challenge is to turn the
basic human drive to learn into a shared vision that is compelling for all
members of the organization. They build a culture in which ideas are expected
to be tried out. It is not yet clear how school leaders must act to develop
learning organizations, but schools are working with this concept (Senge &
Lannon-Kim, 1991). Their experiences may provide illumination -- hopefully
To Foster Restructuring
Which styles of leadership are best suited for school restructuring? This
question is difficult to address because so few school districts
have studied their own restructuring efforts, and those that have,
have not been engaged in the exercise for a sufficient amount of
time to have achieved enlightening results (Reavis & Griffith, 1992).
"Researchers are only beginning … to explore the meaning and utility
of [transformational] leadership in schools, and very little empirical
evidence is available about its nature and consequences in such
contexts" (Leithwood, 1992b, p. 9). However, in a survey of districts
that were engaged in restructuring, Reavis used a 44-item questionnaire
of educational leader skills from professional organizations. In
this study to understand factors of leadership for restructuring,
the 44 questionnaire items were rated by those leaders of 17 districts
that were implementing restructuring (Reavis & Griffith, 1992, p.
27). The nine highest-rated items were:
- knowledge of change management -- the highest-rated requirement
for school restructuring
- collaborative leadership style
- team building
- educational values
- high moral purpose/sense of purpose
- knowledge of curriculum and instruction
- a sound, well-reasoned philosophy
- knowledge of climate/culture and how to change/shape them
A key to understanding these needs of leaders is the assumption ascribed
to leaders' actions for restructuring: Restructuring requires a
holistic approach to change; a total plan for change must be developed
with the involvement of all aspects of the organization. Thus, change
management (i.e., leadership) must be considered in the context
of large-scale, systemic change. To be operational, these factors
must be translated into skills and behaviors.
The LEAD Restructuring Study Group in a Select Seminar (1989)
identified skills or competencies that restructuring leaders need. Those
skills related to:
- visionary leadership -- understanding change and the change
process, developing a picture of an improved state of the
organization, encouraging creativity, and managing operations
in relationship to student learning
- cultural leadership -- using situational leadership, recognizing
organizational culture and norms, shaping norms to support
collegial practice, diminishing norms that destroy the
- symbolic leadership -- promoting public relations and
communicating in every way the importance of the
- instructional leadership -- understanding curriculum,
instruction, and student learning and using research and
evaluation data to improve the system
- reflective practice -- providing and receiving performance
assessment, and considering past and current practice with the
goal of improving the organization's work
- creating work force norms that support collegiality --
developing and using group process, team building, trust
building, and other facilitating and collaborative processes
- creating leadership density -- recognizing potential leaders
and developing their growth
- identifying leverage points -- recognizing "windows of
opportunity" and taking advantage of them to improve student
Students of restructuring emphasize that radically different schools require
radically different leaders. Mojkowski (1991) reports on a prescription
for restructuring leadership that is a "rare blend of the heroic
and mundane, of lofty ideal and pragmatic realism, it is a courageous
and imaginative foray into the future" (p. iii). Mojkowski and the
LEAD Restructuring Study Group reconceptualized the leadership role,
calling for "persuasive and systematic concentration of the leaders'
and others' efforts, engaging the organization in developing and
implementing educational outcomes that are sophisticated and worthy"
(p. 26). Because restructuring calls for powerful personal and technical
skills, as well as the character and will to support others on a
day-to-day basis, leaders will "lead with [their] hearts as often
as [they] follow [their] plans" (p. 28).
How does such leadership look? The following outlines Mojkowski's and
the Study Group's (1991) perspective:
- Create dissonance.
Leaders press for change and
improvement by regularly reminding staff and others of
the vision they hold for children and of the shortfalls in
current attainment. They report on current actions and
accomplishments of all involved constituents to indicate
that the vision has not been reached.
- Prepare for and create opportunities.
opportunities in creative ways that will move the school
closer to accomplishing their mission. They quickly
access material and human resources that might support
the school's goal attainment. They ignore possibilities that
do not promise the desired result.
- Forge connections and create interdependencies.
"unstructure" nonproductive arrangements and barriers
that keep people disconnected. They remodel classroom
space to open up "the boxes" that keep staff isolated.
They create new roles and responsibilities, pulling people
together both inside and outside the school, orchestrating
inter-dependencies. They create vertical teams and cross-
discipline or cross-grade committees to work on school
projects. Such relationships contribute to the
understanding and action necessary for restructuring.
- Encourage risk taking.
Leaders support people in taking
risks and try to minimize their discomfort with making
mistakes. They understand that mistakes will occur and
support people in learning from their mistakes. They
protect the staff as they learn to become risk takers.
- Follow as well as lead.
Leaders nurture leadership
activities in all the staff, leading through service and
- Use information.
Leaders use a broad array of student
and organizational data. They communicate clearly and
share information in multiple ways. They think about new
assessment processes to measure learner productivity and
growth. They use research and practice information in
considering innovation and change, and they check
progress and maintain records about the implementation
- Foster the long view.
Leaders go for the long-term yields,
knowing when to exercise patience and withhold
judgment. They employ strategic direction, use their
sense of mission, and are guided by their vision of learners
and learning. This highly skilled facilitative leader moves
"incrementally within a comprehensive design" (p. 29).
- Acquire resources.
Acquisition and distribution of
resources are managed with finesse. Leaders solicit
funding through competitive grants and from the business
community. They reallocate resources in relationship to
staff's readiness and resistance. They "find time for staff
to plan and develop" (p. 30).
- Negotiate for win-win outcomes.
They use collective
bargaining processes constructively with teacher
representatives, creating agreements that target the
teaching and learning process. They accomplish this
through organizing study groups, providing persuasive
literature focused on instruction and student gains, and
engaging teacher representatives to lead discussions. They
exhibit patience but also perseverance.
- Provide stability in change.
They practice organized
abandonment of elements that are dysfunctional or
unnecessary. With the staff, they review curriculum and
instruction guides to identify activities and materials for
discard. They protect the school and staff as they
experiment and take risks; they hold central office and
others "at bay" so as not to overload the staff with
unnecessary or low-priority items. They provide order
and direction in the uncertain and changing environment.
- Grow people while getting the work accomplished.
They nurture promising candidates for leadership in order to
ensure that restructuring will continue beyond their
tenure. They invest heavily in staff development and help
staff move beyond their own experience. They organize
self-managing and self-learning groups.
This depiction of leadership includes the leadership categories cited in
the previous section: creating an atmosphere and culture for change,
developing the vision, allocating resources, providing training
and staff development, monitoring progress, providing for continuing
assistance. As can be seen, however, the actions of leaders for
restructuring go beyond the six categories, with their day-to-day
leadership tasks grounded in and expressed from a deep commitment
to collaborative action and shared decision making.
This leadership cares deeply about and for individuals in the system,
providing the human interface in personalized ways that stem not only from the
mind but from the heart as well. Reavis and Griffith (1992) depict the new
leader as one who is comfortable in working with others in a nonhierarchical
fashion, with no need to stand on positional authority. This leader is a risk
taker while tolerating ambiguity, not knowing exactly how everything will
develop. Such leaders "trust the strength of others and value their efforts
and contributions in the realization of the organization's vision"
(Méndez-Morse, 1992, in press). The new leadership is grounded in a vision
of "leaders" rather than the vision of "a leader."
While such leaders are providing the leadership for changing the
system and the relationships of its people, parts, and functions, they are
also restructuring their own roles in the system. For as Murphy (1991a)
states, changing the conditions of teaching and learning means also changing
the conditions of leadership. This was clearly revealed in the changes
examined in the case study of one principal's restructuring story (Hord &
Poster, in press). In this study, new outcomes for students to increase their
critical thinking and problem- solving abilities were driving the classroom
teachers' change of instructional practice.
To design the new teaching/learning conditions, new structures for
teacher and administrator planning and decision making were created. This
necessitated the formation of new relationships of the principal with the
teachers -- a challenging and sometimes difficult personal change for the
principal. It seems reasonable to expect that new relationships required in
restructuring efforts will test the mettle and emotional resources of many
leaders as they develop new roles. A brief look at anticipated role and
relationship changes for leaders follows.
New Roles for Old
An important aspect of what leaders do in restructuring is the transformations
or changes that they make in their own roles. Role changes will
occur at all levels: state, local board of education, superintendent,
central office, principal, teacher, and parent.
According to Michael Cohen (an observer of education reform for many
years at the National Institute of Education, the National Association of
State Boards of Education, and currently the National Governors' Association),
governors and other state officials can wield influence through use of the
"bully pulpit to focus public attention and mobilize support … to influence
the political climate and culture of local school districts" (Cohen, 1990,
p. 275). In the process they give up much of their power and signal its
transfer to the local level. The state role will become threefold, according
The state, first, will set long-range educational goals and standards
for student outcomes and link these to assessments for higher-order skills,
not minimum-competency tests. The state must ensure that the assessments do
not greatly impact or restrain local-level decisions in curriculum and
instructional choices. They must act so that the school's increased autonomy
is not unduly affected.
Second, the state must be encouraging by stimulating local innovation.
A greater variety of curricular and instructional arrangements, and ways to
organize teachers for greater collegial interaction, for example, will need
sanction and support by state policies. The state will also need to reduce
administrative and regulatory barriers so that experimentation and improvement
Third, at the state level, consideration will be required in
accountability systems. Rather than establishing necessary inputs for local
education systems, state policymakers will set outcome standards designed to
hold both the school and the district accountable for results. Focusing on
these issues will fundamentally change roles and relationships of the state
with the local level.
The local school board spends much of its time on crisis management or
operational details and little on systematic planning, policy development, or
oversight (Cohen, 1990). Local boards must develop long-range goals, attract
and retain high-quality personnel, assure that resources are adequately
targeted to students with the greatest need, and make it possible for success
at the school level to happen. Fullan (1991) points out the obvious, and
critical, need for boards to give careful attention to the search for and
selection of superintendents who are capable of leading change.
Oversight by the board will be necessary to ascertain if goals are
being accomplished and policies are producing their intended effects; boards
will also need to be strong advocates for education and youth (Cohen, 1990).
Murphy (1991a) notes that board member's roles may not be greatly altered, but
their understandings and views of the ways administrators and teachers
function may need major revision. Boards, philosophically, must be in
agreement with the purposes of restructuring if school staffs and parents can
succeed in their efforts to redesign schools.
Currently, the Institute for Educational Leadership is completing a
study of the school board's role in restructuring. The researchers are
attempting to learn how the role of boards may have changed and to identify
relevant issues that boards have faced in reform efforts (Pipho, 1992).
The superintendent's role may change dramatically. The chief
executive becomes a coordinator and enabler, to serve and assist schools,
paying more attention to "unheroic dimensions of leadership" (Murphy, 1991a,
p. 25). These executives will promote local autonomy and professionalism,
tapping the leadership of teachers (Hallinger & Edwards, 1992). They start
with a personal vision and work with all constituencies to find a shared
vision. They provide leadership, but also nurture the development of
leadership, relying on others (Murphy, 1991b; Hallinger & Edwards, 1992).
"Understanding of how superintendents lead the decentralization of
entire school systems remains primitive at best" (Hallinger & Edwards, 1992,
p. 137). The chief executive must symbolize commitment and the importance of
restructuring, overcome barriers, and give attention to opposition (Hill &
Bonan, 1991). Only the chief executive can assure those at the local level
that they will be supported in new roles and that when things go wrong, they
will not have to return to the old centralized system. The superintendent
abandons the exercise of command and control and makes it clear that the
desired procedure is to take risks, correct mistakes, and find ways to make
change work at the local school (Hill & Bonan, 1991).
Such leadership appears to be transformational and suggests
"directions for future research on the leadership practices of superintendents
for school improvement" (Leithwood, 1992a, p. 177). Of all the things that
superintendents must do, however, the most pervasive feature that directs
their actions is their effort to influence school performance (Mitchell &
Tucker, 1992). This factor also permeates the work of central office in their
At the central office level leaders will decentralize and establish
school-level governance structures, such as a school council composed of
teachers, administrators, parents, and community members, to take on functions
that were formerly enacted at the district level. Importantly, districts must
determine the latitude of authority for the school councils and the degree of
influence given to the teachers and parents (Cohen, 1990; Fullan, 1991).
District staff may need to consider with school councils new means of
assigning staff and students to schools. And districts' teacher appraisal
systems should focus on how well they "make appropriate instructional
decisions and judgments in order to accomplish results with their [particular]
students" (Cohen, 1990, p. 269). In all cases, less authority and autonomy
will be vested at the district level, as it is shifting to the school level.
"Central office administrators … [will] reorient their roles toward service
and support and away from hierarchical supervision and compliance monitoring"
(Hallinger & Edwards, 1992, p. 135), getting ready to become "facilitators"
As Reavis and Griffith (1992) suggest, the central office role will
change from monitoring for compliance with district-level policies to acting
as support to assist schools in their improvement efforts. Rather than being
the source of all ideas for change, central office staff will serve as a
resource to schools in their change initiatives.
The relationship that is likely to be most changed in restructuring
activities is that of principal and teachers. The principal must accept
additional autonomy and accountability on behalf of the school and
subsequently transfer it to the staff and parents or larger community. The
principal's role is likely to change from middle manager in the district
organization to that of facilitator-leader for his or her school (Murphy,
1991a; Hallinger & Edwards, 1992). This shift will make the principal's role
more complex, requiring more effort in working between the school and the
district office, and between the school and the community. Murphy's review of
the literature (1991a) led him to conclude that principals will place more
emphasis on three areas:
- technical core operations (becoming the curriculum leader and
managing the school's teaching/learning strategies, conditions,
- people management (working to develop participatory leadership
and mediate shared governance)
- school-environmental relations (interacting with the wider
community and developing connections between the school and the
Murphy (1991a) declares that in restructuring, the real heroes are not
the positional leaders who traditionally have been at the top of
the organization chart but the professionals and parents who interact
directly with students. There is broad understanding about the underutilization
of teachers' knowledge, skills, and ideas in the past, and restructuring
typically changes this situation. Efforts to change schools in systemic
ways will include a reconceptualization of the roles and responsibilities
Assuming that leadership is better connected to expertise than to line
authority, the redesign of teachers' work rests on the premise that teachers
are intellectuals and should take leadership in discussing the nature and
purposes of schools. Further, teaching should be guided by professionals
rather than by bureaucratic regulations. These propositions argue for
expanded responsibilities and a stronger role for teachers in decision making.
Parents too will have new opportunities to provide ideas and
contribute to the schooling discussion. Responsibilities will be less
role-dependent as schools begin to appreciate and acknowledge the interest and
expertise of parents. Parents will participate in the school's efforts to
connect with the community and the larger environment as they take on
activities that go beyond the bake sale (Henderson, Marburger, & Ooms, 1986).
Watkins, Cox, Owen, and Burkhardt (1992), supported by their review of
research on change, maintain that a multiconstituency team, a team
representing all major constituencies, is most able to address the problems of
systemic change in a strategic way. Certainly, parents are a very invested
constituent and have major interest in schools.
Concluding This Section
In this section, using student outcomes as the basis for designing and
planning systemic change or restructuring efforts has been urged.
Assuming that identifying new outcomes for learners is a first step,
it follows that new teaching and learning situations will be needed
to realize those outcomes. Further, system changes will be required
to support the new learning conditions.
Images of the leadership needed to bring such plans into reality have
been briefly described, and the behaviors of such leaders with "mind and
heart" were specified. How leaders' roles will also be restructured was
suggested. The research to date on restructuring efforts, including purposes
and intentions, effects hoped for, leaders' actions in guiding and supporting
these endeavors, and outcomes realized are thin at best. What is needed are
longitudinal, in-depth studies to illuminate understanding of the factors
enumerated. Such results could inform leaders in planning for restructuring
and in implementation of their plans.