Spirited leadership and the struggle for the soul of headteachers: Differentiating and balancing nine types of engagement

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Abstract

This article is written from the perspective of a practicing headteacher as a contribution to the theory and practice of spiritual leadership in education. By using a conceptual map derived from personality type theory it seeks to articulate several distinct facets of spirited leadership, intended to denote what engages, enlivens and enlightens our personal approaches to leadership. It also engages positively with the struggle for the soul of headteachers contesting that the overemphasis on interiorizing the performative self in orthodox constructions of headship and leadership development needs to be re-balanced by other equally important qualities of personhood. Based on a series of meditative reflections on the experience of inner leadership, a utopian manifesto is presented that elaborates on the strengths of the nine facets of spirited leadership for education and what is needed to safeguard them in the current climate. It concludes by asking whether the anticipated leadership recruitment crisis in the UK may actually be caused by the prevailing model of headship and urges the wisdom of asking not merely what kind of people thrive in the practice of educational leadership but more profoundly what kind of leadership suits the breadth and balance of the human soul.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-422
Number of pages18
JournalEducational Management Administration and Leadership
Volume38
Issue number4
Early online date2 Jul 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2010

Keywords

  • Appreciative inquiry
  • Deep self
  • Enneagram of personality
  • Inner leadership
  • Managerialism
  • Spiritual leadership
  • Spirituality

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