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The Influence Of Principals’ leadership Styles On Secondary School Teachers Job Performance


This study investigated the influence of principals’ leadership styles on teachers’ job performance in public secondary schools in Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State. Related literatures were reviewed.

The respondents for the study were selected from ten public secondary schools in the local government area. The simple random sampling procedure was used to select a total number of one hundred teachers.

A twenty-item questionnaire was designed by the researcher. The instrument was personally administered; t-test and the Pearson product moment correlation were used in testing the four hypotheses formulated.  At the end of the study, useful recommendations were made on how to motivate teachers to improve on their job performance.



1.1     Background to the Study

The wealth of a given country is principally determined by the human resources, available natural resources and the state of her economic development. Of all these, it is the human resources that exploit the natural resources, accumulates physical capital and build the socio-political structure needed for national growth and development.

Human resources can only be developed through proper education that is geared towards the needs of the individual and the society. This is why every government is concerned with providing education for the citizenry. The need for education draws from the idea that the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow, hence both local, state and federal government are keenly involved in providing educational services to her citizens.

Nigerian educational system is to some extent decentralized and democratic in nature. Bothe in policy and practice, education in Nigeria is in the con-current list for both federal and states. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) in the National Policy on Education (1981:P) states in section 96 as follows:

1.       The Federal Government shall prescribe minimum standards of education at all levels.

2.       University, technical, pre-primary and post-primary education shall be the responsibility of both the federal and state governments.

3.       Education Boards or Authorities will be responsible for management of schools and the appointment, posting and discipline of teachers.

The various state governments and the Federal Ministry of Education have responsibility for establishing and managing secondary and other institutions, provided they meet the minimum standards prescribed by the federal government. This is democratic in nature and does not end with state ministries of education but supposed to be passed on to the individual institutions through their respective heads. The appointment of principals and teachers in the state schools are made either by the state schools boards or the state post-primary education and the decisions or reports are communicated to the state Ministries of Education for approval.

This therefore necessitates a deliberate systematic and planned educational system aimed at instilling in the child approved societal behaviours, skills, knowledge, habits and values.

The successful implementation of the above depends on the types of schools provided, how they are organized, the caliber of teachers and administrative heads as well as the attitude of parents towards their children’s and wards education.

The government having established schools, recruits teachers, post them to various schools, pay them monthly salaries depending on their qualifications, occasionally inspecting them to determine the extent to which pre-determined objectives are met. Parents on their parts provide the necessary materials as needed by their wards and children before sending them to school. What happens thereafter between the hours of 8:00am to 2:00pm is under the control of the school head and the teachers.

The success or otherwise of a secondary school, lies largely on the leadership style practiced by the principal. The secondary school as an organization cannot exist without the principal and teachers who perform all the expected school duties. The principal is the head of the school administrative unit. The teacher on his part is regarded as a social worker, a modernizer, a pace-setter who structures environment for effective teaching and learning. As a result of his professional expectation in acting in-loco-parentis and also providing quality instructions, it becomes necessary that a rich and stimulating working environment and managed by a good and an understanding leader be provided for them for the smooth operationalization of educational objectives. This is to ensure that educational goals are realized which manifest in the overall performance of the students in the school certificate examination.

Most often, particularly in the past fifteen years, the final examinations, West African Schools Certificate and now Senior School Certificate results have shown a poor picture. The public leveled criticism against teachers on what they perceived as low standards of education, moral laxity among students, mass cheating aided and abetted by teachers and government lack of interest and commitment to education.

Teachers on their part complain about poor conditions of teaching in public schools. Teachers have always described lack of adequate instructional facilities, salaries inadequacies, interpersonal inadequacies, and above all, principals corrupt nature, indifference and insensitivity. These are factors which are seriously demonstrating even to a workaholic.

Principals on their part leveled the student’s academic poor performance on teachers’ attitude to work, laziness and their failure to make the best of inadequate situations. The problem of moral laxity, indiscipline in schools, mass cheating were blamed on teachers, whose instructional methods and materials have been considered insufficient, unstimulating and inappropriate to the child’s learning experiences, interests and propensities. Principals see teachers as lazy, non-compromising even in the face of no salaries. Their notion is that teachers must work at all times whether they are sick, hungry or not, as an excuse from a teacher to be away from school is considered as sabotage.

In the light of the aforementioned, it is alarming that principals in Sapele Local Government Area have a lot to grapple with in ensuring successful principalship. It is the duty of the school principal to indentify and sustain the teachers’ interest through the initiation of appropriate leadership style.

Since the teachers work under the leadership of the principal, the principals have to provide those motivational devices that will influence the teachers’ attitude to work. There is therefore the need for a type of school administrator (principal) which requires among other things effective staff motivation, harmonious staff interaction between staff and staff and between staff and principal.

As the teacher acts in-loco-parentis, the principal should see himself as a teacher-trainer, he should instructs without ordering, correct without nagging and above all, persuades without insisting (Obe, 1984). Among others, he should maintain fair play, reasonableness, justice and also establish open-door policy and good communication network. When these are done, the principal would have been able to win the support of hid teaching staff.

In a school system where there is no bitterness and rancor between the principal and the teachers, there will be proper integration of personal and corporate objectives. This encourages a harmonious working environment, subsequently leading to improved teaching-learning output. Consequently, the students performance will improve and the required manpower would have been created through good leadership.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

The maintenance of an effective leadership style and teacher’s job performances in school administration has been held by many educationists to be the foundation of progress. The principals’ leadership style can affect the teachers’ other aspect of human relations, such as those which exist between the staff and the community on the other.

Educational administration must concern with the satisfaction which the principals and teachers derive from their work. The satisfaction, it appears can only be found in an administrative climate where there is a cordial relationship between the principals and the teachers.

Sometimes, the students, the teachers and members of the community make highly critical comments about the administrative styles of some secondary school principals. Many of the comments are concerned with understanding between the staff and principals, the maltreatment of the young members of staff by the principal and even non-involvement of staff in formulation of school policies and in performance of assigned task by the teachers. All those comments may reflect the leadership style projected by the principal. Sometimes in many secondary school, the end of the academic year often result in the mass transfer of teachers, even students to other schools, because of misunderstanding between principal, the teachers and the students. This atmosphere of constant misunderstanding will definitely hamper the job performance of the teachers. The teachers are supposed to be dedicated to their duty; they know the rules and regulations of the organization. They are supposed to come to school early, teach their subjects and even be involved in other extra-curricular activities if the atmosphere is conducive. But the opposite is the case with a principal who is not friendly. The teachers are forced to show nonchalant attitude to work. This therefore attracts the attention of the writer to look into how the leadership styles of principals have helped or discourage teachers from putting in their best.

1.3   Research Questions

The following questions were raised to guide this study:

1.     Does the leadership style of principal affect teachers’ job performance?

2.     What leadership style is most suitable to encourage teachers?

3.     Is there any difference in the leadership styles of principals in the rural and urban areas?

4.     Is there any difference in the leadership styles of professionally trained and non-professionally trained principal?

5.     Is there any difference between the leadership styles of female and male principals?

1.4   Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

1.     There is no significant relationship between principals’ leadership styles and teachers’ job performance.

2.     There is no significant difference between the leadership of male and female principals.

3.     There is no significant relationship between the leadership styles of principals in the rural and urban areas.

4.     There is a significant relationship between the leadership style of professionally trained and non-professionally trained principals.

1.5   Purpose of Study

Ø   To identify the most suitable leadership style this will make teachers work better.

Ø   To find out whether teachers’ job performance has any relationship with principals’ leadership style.

Ø   To suggest and recommend factors which will improve the leadership style of principals so as to ensure a state of mutual co-existence between the principal and his teachers.

1.6   Significance of the Study

It has been argued by some educationist that the principal is the leading school administrator who is continuously indentified with the secondary school education.

He is in fact the institution and as a result, the success or failure of a school is easily ascribed to his ability to promote interpersonal relationship with teachers and students within the school. In effects, it is generally assumed that the success of a school depends to a considerable extent, on the leadership style projected by its principal who has much effect on the teachers in the dissemination of knowledge to students; that, a school will succeed and make progress under the good leadership of the principal. On the other hand, that it will fail and degenerate under poor leadership.

Majority of these principals/administrators will adopt several leadership styles and bring their own individual charisma into their new roles which their situation has imposed on them. Some try to copy the administrative style of their favourite former teachers or other professionals. But it must be recognized that administration is a skill, which must be learned. This is why it has become a necessity for every potential school principal administrator to acquire some administrative training and not learn on the job as it is presently done.

Job performance or the success and failure of a school can also be ascribed not only to the principals alone but to the teachers as well. The teachers will like to contribute their quota to the school goals, according to them; they will perform their job well if the atmosphere is conducive and friendly. So the successful attainment of an organizational goals or high job performance is to a large extent determined by the degree of cohesiveness maintained by a group of individual involved in managing the organization. Group cohesiveness can best to achieve in educational organization if schools principals and teachers become cognizant of the pattern of one another.

This symbolic relationship would foster a cordial and conducive atmosphere and the job performance will be high. The teachers said job performance was highly related to principal’s leadership style, teacher’s promotion and school facilities available.

The study had the primary objective of identifying the types of leadership styles of principals in some secondary schools in Delta State and lastly to evaluate the influence of different leadership styles on teachers’ job performance.

The findings would to help prospective administrators in the administration of their schools. For example, they may be able to discover how to create an ideal principal staff relationship which can positively influence the performance of the teachers’ task in the schools.

This is particularly important because a cordial principal-staff relationship is most likely to make for:

Ø   A reduction of the need for constant teacher supervision.

Ø   A high level of performance of teachers in the schools.

Ø   The physical, moral and intellectual development of teachers towards job performance.

Ø   The internalization of discipline.

Ø   The professional growth of teachers and understanding of their jobs in the schools.

It is hoped that the study would contribute to the advancement of knowledge in at least three different ways:

Firstly, it would suggest the leadership style that produces a healthy operational climate in which teachers are happy and co-operate with their principals.

Secondly, the finding would suggest how principals can help create cordial relationship with their staff and improve performance.

Thirdly, the findings of the study would suggest the nature and type of performance content for the training of prospective principals and for the in-service training of the incumbent principals.

1.7   Assumptions

This research is predicated on the following premises:

a.      Teachers will perform better if there is a friendly and co-operative leader.

b.     The leadership style of principals has a direct effect on teachers’ job performance.

c.      Teachers can be motivated through an ideal leadership even when there are no salaries.

1.8   Scope/Delimitation

This project was carried out in Sapele Local Government of Delta State to find out the influence of principal leadership styles on teachers’ job performance.

However, not all the secondary schools in the local government area were used, as only ten (10) schools out of 18 public secondary schools were used.

1.9   Definition of Terms

1.     Leadership styles: These are specific patterns of behaviour emphasized and exhibited by the leader of a group to influence the members of a group towards the accomplishment of the organizational goals.

2.     In-Loco-Parentis: This is the duty of the teachers in the acting place of parents; taking care of the students under his care pastorally.

3.     Professionally-Trained Principals: Defined in this context as those principals who have received training as TC II, NCE, B.ED/ or M.ED; Implying that these principals underwent all training in the act of teaching.

4.     Non-Professionally-Trained Principals: Those principals who had their degree in other areas but later went to do a post-graduate diploma in education (PGDE) so as to remain principals.

5.     Teachers’ Job Performance: This refers to the general or specific duties and functions assigned to the position of the school teachers.


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