School Leadership and Management


In the modern world, effective leadership is mandatory for an organization or an institution to register positive results and progress. Like business organizations, educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities also need to have well-structured and coherent communication between school heads and teachers to enhance overall school performance. As O’Rourke (2020) noted, effective leadership in every field is considered the primary driver for change, growth, and the stem of innovation in an organization. Moreover, O’Rourke (2020) opined that most successful companies, organizations, and schools worldwide exhibit effective leadership and a well-structured mode of communication. In its simplest form, leadership is the ability of an individual to lead a group of people who share a common goal, such as an organization or an institution. It is the responsibility of a leader to plan and execute programs that endeavor to bring about organizational success. This paper, therefore, critically analyses the importance and validity of the seven-strong claims about successful school leaders as proposed. Moreover, this paper gives the reasons why the ideas contained in the article about successful school leadership are rendered valid as most organizations and schools are concerned.

Critical Literature

The main issues of discussion in this article entitled Seven strong claims about successful leadership revisited by Leithwood, Harris, and Hopkins are the kind of leadership and practices that top leaders and management should exhibit in an organization to achieve set goals. This article strives to argue the seven-strong claims proposed by Gilbert to enhance effective leadership not only in school but also in companies and organizations. This article revisited their previous article concerning the claims that they had written, summarizing its literature concerning the seven claims for successful leadership among top managers. Considering the current or recent empirical evidence, Leithwood et al. (2019) wanted to ascertain if the previously held claims were still valid as successful school leadership was concerned. This was purposely done to point out claims that needed correction and refinement to accommodate the ever-changing practical ideas and evidence. This article acknowledges that the seven claims Gilbert proposed do not all work or are employed by leaders the same way. However, each claim has been found to work effectively in a different environment. This article review found that the first two are the most commonly cited of all seven claims.

Claim 1: School Leadership is Second Only to Classroom Teaching as

An Influence on Pupil Learning

This is the first claim that has been put into the discussion in this article. In assessing the context and the validity of the original claim, Leithwood et al. (2019) did thorough research pulling evidence from qualitative and quantitative case studies and assessing specific leadership practices. Moreover, the significance of school leadership on the performance of the individual students were other benchmarks that were used to confirm if this claim still holds as developing successful leadership is concerned. This claim is valid as developing a positive culture in an organization is concerned. According to Leithwood (2021), students’ performance and the type of leadership exhibited by their headteachers, or head of the school go hand in hand. Effective leadership not only in schools but also in other organizational settings promotes employee growth and performance. Moreover, Gurr and Drysdale (2018) says that good leadership nurtures a positive environment where workers or students learn without limits. On the same note, O’Rourke (2020) also provided insightful knowledge that customers and the surrounding communities that support the organization’s key activities are satisfied when an organization exhibits appropriate leadership.

Moreover, several factors affect students or employees rather than the internal disturbances they experience in schools or organizations. The original claim only considered the factors within the school walls that affect pupils’ performance. This was very narrow because student or employee performance is also dictated by factors that they experience outside the institution or organization. For example, this claim ought to have incorporated socioeconomic factors and the relationship between the school and the surrounding community. Therefore, I agree with this article finding that leadership influences pupil individual and overall institution performance, among other external factors.

Claim 2: Almost all Successful Leaders Draw on the Same Repertoire of Basic Leadership Practices

This claim was proposed with the assumption that a leader’s responsibility is to help their subjects grow in terms of performance and ensure that all necessary resources and guidelines are provided for an effective operation. For example, in school settings, teachers are entitled to the welfare of pupils and should adopt relevant teaching deliveries that enhance student performance. According to Robinson and Gray (2019), successful school leadership encompasses helpful practices to address both inner and observable performance features. Effective leadership in an organization thus entails building a vision and setting solid direction, and understanding all organization workers. Moreover, Koirala (2019) also acknowledges that redesigning the organization and developing teaching and learning programs in schools are also signs of an effective leadership exhibited by teachers. As such, leaders must reconsider redesigning school programs that do not work for them.

Learning, especially in elementary schools, depends solely on how teachers and the entire school department are managed. This is because the young pupils in the kindergarten cannot make informed decisions by themselves as most do not even know to distinguish between right and wrong. Therefore, their learning and performance significantly depend on their teachers’ activities and practices. Both are doomed to fail without appropriate leadership in schools and organizations since there would be a spirit of laziness that results in poor execution of learning processes.

Claim 3: How Leaders Apply these Leadership Practices– not the Practices themselves – Demonstrate Responsiveness to, rather than Dictation by, the Contexts in which they Work

This is a critical point to note as successful school leadership is concerned. However, Leithwood et al. (2020) acknowledge the work of other authors who have striven to show how a high level of leader sensitivity guarantees effective leadership in an organization. According to Barnett (2021), this is true because sensitivity to organization or institution context and leadership practices enhance performance. Leaders who stay steadfast to the school’s mission and vision defines the direction and path that the institution should take. Therefore I agree with these findings that setting both short and long time school visions is one way that effective leadership can be implemented in schools. Moreover, Leithwood et al. (2019) also acknowledges the importance of communication and understanding in school. This allows collaboration from the head office to pupils, thus improving the school’s ease of operation and overall performance. Another practice that I agree with is the management of both teaching and learning programs. The success of individual pupils depends mainly on what their teachers deliver to them. As such, an effective learning process is necessary for school institutions.

Claim 4: School Leaders Improve Teaching and Learning Indirectly and Most Powerfully through Their Influence on Staff Motivation, Commitment, and Working Conditions

Successful school leadership is a joint achievement that comes from the school leader and is a function of all staff and subordinate staff. According to González-Falcón et al. (2020), teaching and learning processes depend on the leadership adopted by their headteachers and management. Good leaders motivate, encourage, and lead by example in achieving school goals and performance. I agree with this finding because through motivation and encouragement, leaders can create a positive working environment both for teachers and pupils suitable for learning. Moreover, Leahy and Shore (2018) further supports this claim by saying that school leaders directly contribute to staff capacity to deliver their services. With motivation, commitment and support, teachers and the entire staff in the school strive to do what is expected of them and thus enhance school performance. Other factors that need to be considered in a school setting as performance is concerned are teachers’ job satisfaction, competence, and stress. Therefore, schools with charismatic leaders usually perform well compared to other schools with a dictatorship type of leadership.

Claim 5: School Leadership has a Greater Influence on Schools and Pupils when it is Widely Distributed

This claim investigates the role of school leadership alongside its staff and the effects of parents on pupils’ performance. Pupil’s performance in school depends on several factors that do not only found within school walls but also stretch outside the school compound. According to Nielsen (2021), teachers’ and parents’ involvement in pupils’ education plays a significant role in schools’ performance. This is true because pupils spend time with teachers during school and with parents or guardians when they come home. This claim, however, suggests that joint school leadership from individual teachers, headteachers, and central staff plays the most significant role in enhancing pupils’ performance. This is untrue because pupils’ success in school demands influence guidance from all sources, including teachers and parents. According to Munby (2020), total leadership has the most significant impact on pupils’ learning and achievements. This is true because pupils get guidance from teachers and parents, improving their knowledge.

Claim 6: Some Patterns of Distribution are More Effective than Others

This claim holds that depending on the distribution of leaders’ patterns and practices in school, some are more effective than others. The idea implies that not all claims proposed by Gilbert work the same for every leader. According to Leithwood (2019), the review of the original claim after assessing 110 schools indicated that the relationships between leadership patterns significantly impact students’ performance. According to Weiler and Hinnant-Crawford (2021), low student achievement in schools is directly linked to inadequate support from all leadership sources, including teachers and parents, among other school staff. Moreover, the report also linked high school performance to extensive leadership support from all sources. This is true because school performance is not only the teacher’s effort but also comes from the efforts of all stakeholders. For example, cooks, parents, and support staffs are some of the key personnel in the school setting that enhances the school’s overall performance. Therefore, joint school leadership is necessary for smooth operations and great pupils’ performances.

Claim 7: A Small Handful of Personal Traits Explain a High Proportion of the Variation in Leadership Effectiveness

Individual school leaders’ trait is also another essential factor to consider in developing an appropriate leadership environment in schools. According to Leithwood (2019), it is common when some school leaders develop higher leadership ranks than others. This is attributed to the individual traits, characters, and inherent personal qualities. According to Görgens-Ekermans and Roux (2021), cognitive processes and leaders’ values are essential in creating effective leadership in schools. Moreover, the ability of school leaders to make quick and informed decisions is an added advantage to creating leadership that enhances environment for learning. This claim demands that school heads follow students’ performance tracks while noting failures and achievements, which can be used to develop programs and strategies to improve school performance (Görgens-Ekermans & Roux, 2021). Therefore, I agree with this claim finding since successful leadership demands an open mind and readiness to learn among leaders. Moreover, leaders must hold onto school core values and flexibility and should work to ensure employees’ job satisfaction. Other traits that leaders must have to create a suitable leadership are the spirit of hard work and setting both long-term and short achievable goals.


The seven-strong claims about successful leadership in schools in this article highlight the importance of good leadership as pupils’ learning are concerned. As noted in this paper, the main aim of children’s education is to help them gain the necessary knowledge to survive. This paper has linked the school leadership to the individual performance of the pupils. It has been proved that schools with a high leadership level often do better than schools with lazy teachers. Moreover, school leaders starting from the head, have the responsibility of setting good leadership in school. Headteachers among staff must adopt school practices and patterns that create an environment that enhances individual student performance. As such, leadership has a significant impact as success is concerned, not only in a school setting but also in other organizations.


Barnett, B. (2021). Introduction to the Journal of School Leadership. Journal of School Leadership, 31(3), 163-165.

González-Falcón, I., García-Rodríguez, M., Gómez-Hurtado, I., & Carrasco-Macías, M. (2019). The importance of principal leadership and context for school success: insights from ‘invisible school’. School Leadership & Management, 40(4), 248-265.

Görgens-Ekermans, G., & Roux, C. (2021). Revisiting the emotional intelligence and transformational leadership debate: (How) does emotional intelligence matter to effective leadership? Journal of Human Resource Management, 19.

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Koirala, K. (2019). Successful leadership practice in school. Education and Development, 29, 119-131.

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Munby, S. (2020). The development of school leadership practices for 21st-century schools. European Journal of Education, 55(2), 146-150.

Nielsen, R. (2021). How school principals use their time: implications for school improvement, administration, and leadership. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 21(2), 412-414.

O’Rourke, D. (2020). Contribution of teachers’ perceptions about the effectiveness of principal leadership and interpersonal communication on school climate through emotional intelligence. Journal of K6 Education and Management, 3(3), 295-302.

Robinson, V., & Gray, E. (2019). What difference does school leadership make to student outcomes? Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 49(2), 171-187.

Weiler, J., & Hinnant-Crawford, B. (2021). School leadership team competence for implementing equity systems change: An exploratory study. The Urban Review, 53(5), 838-856.

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