Theories and Approaches to School Leadership by Green

Reginald Leon Green, in the chapter “Theories and Approaches to School Leadership,” in his book “Practicing the Art of Leadership,” discusses approaches and techniques modern educational leaders must possess to be successful. According to the author, educational leaders of the 21st century must be concerned with both achieving their goals and creating an inspiring environment for every stakeholder, which ensures their commitment and exceptional performance. Information about different leadership styles and approaches, as well as Green’s perspective on the educational leaders’ responsibilities in the 21st century, constitute a valuable insight for all instructional professionals willing to learn and make progress.

Green believes that the 21st-century demands a new approach to school leadership, which implies that modern educational leaders must adhere to the principles of fair process, accountability, students achievement enhancement, and relationship building. Green writes that every educational leader must be a lead learner that inspires others to follow their standards of excellence. Being a school leader implies acting as a visionary that can motivate people around them and establish a community beyond the school corridors that would be devoted to achieving the objectives set by the leader. Instructional leaders are expected to be aware of all curriculum aspects and be ready to improve them. Leaders must be good managers able to successfully and efficiently allocate resources and maintain excellent communication with every stakeholder. Green provides an exemplary approach to modern educational leadership, which can be used by both aspiring and experienced leaders to understand the current trends and advance their skills in becoming better professionals.

Green provides four dimensions of leadership that can increase the efficiency of educational leaders, these include understanding self and others, understanding the complexity of organizational life, building bridges through relationships, and engaging in leadership best practices. The first one means that leaders must understand both themselves and others, which can be achieved through self-assessment of their beliefs and values. The second one implies that to be effective, leaders must be aware of the principles and culture of their organization (Green, 2017). The third dimension refers to leaders being required to develop strong, positive relationships with their followers to ensure their commitment to the desired outcome. The fourth one identifies the use of data-driven and research-based practices as the primary solution for instructional leadership. Thus, these dimensions form a reliable framework for leaders who aspire to enhance their performance and establish a well-functioning organizational system.

Green goes in-depth into a variety of leadership styles, but it is crucial to understand that none of them should be used exclusively since they all have different purposes. For example, servant, transformational, and transactional types of leadership can be employed collectively as one strategy to achieve the desired results. First, by adhering to servant leadership principles, an individual can foster a good relationship with colleagues and community members. Then, having established themselves as trustworthy person, the leader can implement new ideas into the existing system by following the transformational leadership rules. Transactional leadership provides the followers with a material motivation for their performance, “contingent reward of transactional leadership has a positive significant effect on project success” (Aga, 2016, p. 524). Principles of this type of leadership will help the leader to create win-win situations, which are especially important during the challenging time of change. Thus, by embracing different leadership styles, leaders can facilitate the processes that are crucial to adjusting to the 21st-century environment.

Other noteworthy approaches outlined in the chapter include distributive and synergistic leadership, as well as the moral leadership dimensions. The distributive method implies that leadership must be distributed among different team members since it ensures division of responsibilities and better efficiency. This approach correlates with the synergistic one, which states that all stakeholders must share one vision. Both leadership types may be used together since people, working on different tasks, have to always remember the common goal they are trying to attain. The use of these methods is also justified by the moral principles of benefit maximization and equal respect. The first principle states that leaders, when faced with a choice, must make a decision that would benefit the majority. For example, the synergistic approach implies setting one goal for everyone, this can lead to some people’s dissatisfaction, but by applying the benefit maximization principle, the leader can find the proper solution. Relying on the principle of equal respect is essential for every school leader to build a long-lasting relationship with the team members.

Green argues that good educational leaders in the 21st century must be skilled in managerial responsibilities. They have to assess students’ performance and develop plans that introduce changes to the existing instructional programs to improve it. They should maintain communication with all stakeholders to keep them informed and engaged in the organizational processes. Moreover, it is vital for them to be aware of the organization’s finances and to allocate them effectively.

The chapter “Theories and Approaches to School Leadership” in Reginald Leon Green’s book “Practicing the Art of Leadership” contains information on leadership styles and approaches that are extremely relevant for modern school leaders. Green states that modern educational leaders must act as visionaries who can inspire people and motivate them to commit to achieving the desired outcomes. He argues that leaders must also be good managers in order to keep their organization successfully functioning. He discusses a variety of leadership styles, including distributive, transactional, and transformational, that can serve as a foundation for educational leaders in their work.


Aga, D. A. (2016). Transactional leadership and project success: The moderating role of goal clarity. Procedia Computer Science, 100, 517-525. Web.

Green, R. L. (2017). Practicing the art of leadership. Pearson Education.

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ChalkyPapers. "Theories and Approaches to School Leadership by Green." September 10, 2022.