Knowledge has been called power by many people. Thus, higher education is the launching pad to this power. Educators must understand how to manage knowledge. In doing so, they can improve performance. Consequently, administrators should be held accountable for the effectiveness of their school’s level of performance. They should also realize that handling conflicts are part of the job requirements. As a result, both educators and administrators should resolve conflicts in an influential manner versus managing a conflict through the transactional leadership style.
Knowledge defined Knowledge is “the thematic foundation for the mission of higher education throughout the U. S. and abroad” (Stevenson, 2001, para. 1). Stevenson’s (2001) article discussed the many facets of what it means to be an educational leader. In the article, the author called higher education a “conventional academic enterprise” that is an organized “matrix relationship” comprise of the following (Stevenson, 2001): • Political; • Bureaucratic; • Collegial; and • Economic. (para. 1)
Also in the article, Stevenson (2001) pointed out, “Peter Drucker suggests that knowledge has become the key economic resource in contemporary companies as learning organizations” (para. 1). In fact, many people believe that knowledge is power. In my own endeavors, I have witnessed family and friends obtain high paying jobs due to their higher educational background of a bachelor’s degree or better. However, even with a four-year degree, not all of them received the job. Why is this so? Knowledge management (KM) To some extent, those individuals bypassed for the job may not be the right fit for the organization.
In addition, people who do not receive the job, well, their level of on-the-job experience may not match the job description. Thus, it is important to obtain the knowledge but just as vital to manage it once acquired. In administration, the chief academic officer (CAO) can use knowledge management (KM) to: 1. Benchmark against best practices used in other institutions; 2. Continually improve quality; and 3. Set performance as a milestone to be measured in the administration department. (Stevenson, 2001) How are these items related to educational leadership? Importance of accountability to higher educational standards
Well, without them, administration would have no goals to achieve. Furthermore, administration can utilize these items to adhere to the standards of no child left behind; provide more accountability to both students’ learning capacity and for the teachers’ learning tools; and deal with the complex school environment that includes varied cultures as well as diverse income backgrounds (Education Portal, 2008). In doing so, high paying educational administrative salaries will be worth the increased responsibility. Then success will come as a result of effectiveness and focus-oriented leaders (Education Portal, 2008).
Conflict management and resolution Yet, success is not without conflict. Sadly, conflict is part of life, unavoidable, and part of school. Thus, administration, in particular leadership such as the principal, must deal with conflict on a daily basis. Schofield (1975) discussed, “Since conflict is unavoidable for the school administrator, it is imperative that he or she be prepared to cope with it when it arises, and, indeed, even before it develops” (p. 9). Channeling conflict Conflict can be channeled (turn negatively into positive results). It can be analyzed.
Some consider conflict as a conceptual framework that involves conflict theory, psychology, sociology, and political science. As a result, those in charge should never let conflict become uncontrollable. This can be accomplished if leaders (administration) use their intelligence (Schofield, 1975, p. 9). Remarkably, Schofield (1975) reiterated, “For example, the principal who is confronted with a group of angry black students can begin by classifying this conflict situation as intraorganizational (students versus school administration) and ‘vertical’ (subordinates versus superior)” (p.
10). Consequently, the principal is able to avoid a potential fight or riot from breaking out. Hendel, Fish, and Galon (2005) voiced, “The choice of conflict management mode is associated with managerial effectiveness. ’ ‘[Due to this factor] the ability to creatively manage conflict situations, towards constructive outcomes is becoming a standard requirement’” (p. 137). Personal reflection of conflict Therefore, conflict management is a crucial part of successful leadership in education as well. One time conflict arose in my own life during school.
Myself and a classmate got into an argument over something silly that has long been forgotten. The teacher caught us and decided to channel our energy into getting a huge rope from around the merry-go-round. Each of us was given an end of the rope. On the count of three, the teacher told us to pull. We both pulled the rope in opposite directions. The teacher took a knife and cut the rope down the middle. I went one way and my classmate went the other. Rather than let the situation between the two of us escalate into something uncontrollable, the teacher took action and resolved the matter.
This is an example of conflict resolution at its best. Psychology and sociology conflict Yet, the incident also involves psychology and sociology. From the perspective of psychology, the conflict dealt with the following: Perception [the teacher perceived the event between us was becoming a problem]; Aggression and hostility [we were being hostile towards each other]; Threat and anxiety [there was a potential threat of danger involved]; and Subjectivity and judgment [result was to re-channel our anger] (Schofield, 1975, pp. 13-18).
However, from a sociology standpoint, the conflict never left the school grounds. Sociological conflict deals with conflict within the community as well as restraining influences in conflict (Schofield, 1975, pp. 20-28). If the conflict had continued outside the school grounds, then concerned community members may have thought school administration was not doing a good job. Thus, it is important for school leadership to be prepared for conflict. Schofield (1975) mentioned, “As Coleman notes, events occurring outside the community can affect events within the community.
’ ‘Therefore, the administrator should always be aware of shifts in attitudes and values, both of lay men and women, and of educators (including himself)’” (p. 30). Again, conflict can be controlled when those in charge are prepared to handle it. Significantly, a transactional leader already understands conflict. Transactional leadership For managers In transactional leadership, team members must obey the leader. The organization pays them to do so. As a result, the leader can punish team members if work is not done according to standards.
Thus, team members do not have much lead-way to improve their level of job satisfaction. However, the leader can allow team members to receive rewards for increased productivity. Yet, the leader can also decide to practice “management by exception” which means correcting team members for poor performance versus rewarding them for better efficiency (Mind Tools, 2008). Furthermore, Kutz (2004) discussed, Transactional leadership is commonly thought of as a trade off between superiors and subordination (i. e. , management).
For example, the trade of money for compliance can be seen as transactional leadership, no real skill is required by the “leader” it is positional authority or power only. (Managing and leading, para. 2) Moreover, with transactional leadership, management can be perceived as a position that goes with a title whereas leadership is influential (Kutz, 2004). For educators Educational leaders can be transactional as well. For example, students must obey teachers. School policies, rules, and regulations are in place for them to do so.
The result of a student disobeying teachers is disciplinary action and maybe even them being expelled. This, in itself, is motivation enough for the student to be on good behavior. Yet, schools often reward students with certificates and other incentives for outstanding behavior. Significantly, teachers and educational administration can become “management by exception” (Mind Tools, 2008). In this scenario, students are disciplined for bad behavior versus being rewarded for good behavior. Implications Because transactional leaders give the followers no incentive to do better, perhaps a more realistic approach is necessary.
Educators may need additional training on how to interact with students just as managers receive training on how to lead their department. Bartling and Bartlett (2005) pointed out, This research could provide a benchmarking opportunity for both individual adult educators and their professional associations to chart leadership development. This approach to applied research could also be combined with professional development at conferences and workshops to provide opportunities for adult educators at different career stages including students in university adult education programs.
(p. 17) Of course, this would mean looking at other leadership styles. Yet, if implemented, such a program could help produce more effective leaders. Additionally, those who participate would be given the opportunity to develop a more influential leadership style. Conclusion Knowledge is the key to the future. Thus, educators must ensure they are able to teach students effectively. This means understanding knowledge, managing conflict, resolving conflict, and realizing the difference between being a transactional leader versus being an influential one.
A transactional leader can manage others with the no exception rule. Sadly, this means discipline can occur for bad behavior and no action taken for good behavior. That is why the influential leader is also the one who can educate. In this incidence, students are more apt to learn and less likely to engage in unruly conduct. ?
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Education leadership articles: Educational leadership career outlook. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from website: http://education-portal. com/eduation_leadership_articles. html Hendel, T. , Fish, M. , & Galon, V. (2005, March). Leadership style and choice of strategy in conflict management among Israeli nurse managers in general hospitals. Journal of Nursing Management, 13(2), 137-146. Retrieved December 11, 2008, from NCBI website: http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pubmed/15720483 Kutz, M. R. (2004, April). Necessity of leadership development in allied health education programs.
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