The presence of principal transformational leadership in the province of Alberta, Canada: Teacher perceptions
This mixed method study used survey research, open ended questions, and interviews to identify transformational leadership qualities among principals of publicly funded schools in Alberta, Canada. Five hundred nine teachers (37.7%) from a random sample of schools in the Province of Alberta, Canada completed the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) (Bass & Avolio, 1995; 2000), provided demographic information, and responded to four open-ended responses. Telephone interviews were conducted, as a follow up, with selected teachers who had principals identified as being in the highest or lowest quartile of transformational leadership scores, as determined by the MLQ.
Teacher ratings on the MLQ were used to place principals into categories representing high or low levels of transformational qualities. The Chi-Square-goodness-of-fit test was used to determine a normal distribution for the groups. Hierarchical Linear Modeling (HLM) was used to analyze the teacher ratings for principals' transformational leadership scores for the variables of extra effort, effectiveness, and satisfaction, but none of these differences could account for the variation in principal transformational leadership qualities.
Qualitative interpretations of open-ended responses to the survey and subsequent interviews indicated teachers preferred school principals who displayed transformational leadership characteristics in the areas of idealized influence, individual consideration, inspiration motivation, and intellectual stimulation.
Idealized influence behaviors that were highlighted included: maintaining and creating visibility, having rapport, holding students and teachers accountable, having high expectations, having a best practices emphasis, leading by example, mentoring, showing consistent fairness, making principled decisions, and building leadership capacity.
Individual consideration behaviors that were desirable included: collaborating on decisions, listening and caring, consulting involved parties, being consistent, and making decisions that were best for children.
Inspiration motivation behaviors included: showing encouragement and support, promoting teamwork, celebrating successes, and using humor effectively.
Intellectual stimulation was illustrated by: asking questions and challenging the status quo, explaining decisions, using current research, trusting staff to take risks, focusing on a vision, being a proactive problem solver, and providing creative solutions.