Understanding the 3 Main Types of Leadership Styles in Education

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Types of Leadership Styles in Education

Leadership styles were introduced to address the needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Here is a EduZenith post that provides you information on the variety of styles to follow.

Education is an important aspect of human life. How we receive and translate it into our daily way of life is quite largely dependent upon the way it gets passed on. Educational leadership has been studied over years to address long-standing concern of students, educators, and society as a whole.

As the need to understand which style of leadership will work best, alone or in combination, it is imperative to understand these types individually in regards to their methods and what they offer.


With an eye for reform, many educationists have either supported or criticized certain styles, however, which style suits and works best is subjected to a matter of opinion. Educational leadership styles are based on the understanding that certain characteristics, such as physical energy and/or social interaction play a part in the way education is imparted. Effective leadership is about strengthening the performance of educational leaders, primarily the educators, to improve student’s achievement. Hence, effective leadership is crucial for teachers and students to enhance performance at the highest level.

There is no single way to lead and inspire people in the field of education. Every educator views leadership strategies differently in unique situations, features, and actions seem far more favorable than others at different levels and times. Broadly, there are three styles in education, which are used individually or as a versatile combination. They are hierarchical, transformational, and facilitative.

Three Styles of Leadership in Education

Hierarchical Style of Leadership in Education.

Principals Office Door.

The hierarchical style is based on the traditional method of education that lays more emphasis in a top-down approach in which all course of action is asserted, and carried out with formal authority and has little scope for participatory analysis. Here, the administrative head, namely the principal, carries out all duties of a planner, supervisor, analyst, resource allocator, etc. It is a very straightforward, with major emphasis on efficiency, control, and routines.

Transformational Style of Leadership in Education.

Group Discussion

The transformational style is based on the concept of working together to put in place a mechanism that will not only reap immediate benefits but future ones too. Although, most decisions are taken individually or by a small group of people, it opens the door wide for intellectual excitement, motivation through values, and a shared vision by participation in leadership activities. A leader who follows this leadership fosters a sense of purpose and meaning to unite people for a better cause.

Facilitative Style of Leadership in Education.

Collective Idea

The facilitative style is very similar to the strategies used in transformational styles, but more democratic as well as interactive in practice. A facilitative educational leader works with the entire management, offering them partnership in preparing for the future, and by promoting collective ideas by being a part of the crowd, rather than being at the center. Empowering the entire education system is the primary goal of the leader practicing this style.

What works best for which institution and how it needs to be, is based on careful strategic planning and consideration of its vision. Ideally, a leader should use strategies and options flexibly to balance both; short-term and long-term goals, and above all, must serve the institutional values. To ensure that any leadership style is delivered in the best manner, and the way it has been designed to be imparted by the teachers and perceived by students, policy makers, and educational leaders are providing state-of-the art programs for courses that help in learning to do service towards the field of education.

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