A Study Of Connective Leadership In Five Midwestern School Districts
Eighmy, Brandon M.
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Extending the work of Lipman-Blumen (1996) in the field of leadership, this study focused on the operationalization of connective leadership in school superintendents. The question pursued in this study concentrated on how school superintendents operationalize the achieving styles of Lipman-Blumen’s (1996) connective leadership model. This qualitative, phenomenological research centered on educational leadership in a Midwestern state. The central research question, “How are the three main achieving styles of Connective Leadership (direct, instrumental, and relational) operationalized in school superintendents?” guided my study. Data were collected from five semi-structured interviews of school superintendents in a Midwestern state. These school leaders were specifically selected through an identification process with School Administrators of Iowa. Data analysis was conducted through the process of using predetermined themes, searching for additional themes through coding; triangulation; member checking and data interpretation. This study found that connective leadership and the operationalization of the achieving styles exists in these five participants. The participants utilized each achieving style as they maneuvered through their leadership responsibilities on a daily basis. Participants accessed the achieving styles differently and some felt more comfortable in specific achieving styles than others. The participants felt that the direct achieving styles were the most difficult to access but did acknowledge their relevancy in their work as educational leaders. From local issues with teachers or community members to working with local and state leaders, the achieving styles were important for each district leader. It is the conclusion of this study that in order to achieve all of the different areas of educational leadership, adopting a leadership model and being reflective in one’s leadership is essential. Quality leadership in the field of education requires a multi-leveled leadership approach that involves all stakeholders from multiple leadership styles.