The concept management has been described as a group of activities focused on the competent and successful utilisation of resources, whether it is human, physical or financial resources with the intention of reaching a goal or target. A definition suggested by Kukreja (2019:2) claims management within the educational environment is “an art of getting things done through and with people in formally organised groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals can co-operate towards attainment of group goals”, and Akpan (2016) expresses his idea of management as “a process of working with and through people to achieve group goals and objectives”. The theme found in all these definitions are than management is not an isolated task. A competent and reliable team working with a manager is compulsory in making management successful.
Defining effective educational management
Effective educational management requires managers ( the school principal and his team) who succeed in carrying out the organizational goals of their schools, employing the following leadership skills: planning (deciding how to accomplish the school’s pre-determined goals); organising and logistics (doing the necessary preparation); employment (filling positions with the right people); guidance (motivating staff so that goals are achieved); managing (guiding the school in the proper direction); and decision making (which underlies everything the principal accomplishes) (Kukreja, 2019). The competent principal decides on a time frame that fits the planning agenda, and develops strategies to monitor progress. Meetings should be well-planned, and time management strategies should be applied in order to achieve appropriate delegation of tasks (Akpan, 2016). A participative and democratic leadership is a basic part of management, and loyalty and respect are gained through merit compiling the group of people working with the educational manager to make a success of the school (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015).
To identify what the success factors are in effective educational management
The screening of students is an international trend and one of the factors referred to by Lynch (2015) that forms part of the 5-factor model in effective educational management. Some schools will screen students only once throughout their school career whereas others screen annually or even several times during a year (Lynch, 2015). The success of the screening process seems to lie in how often it is done and what is done with the results of those screenings (Lynch, 2015). The thought process behind the screening process is to determine where the student is from an academic and developmental point of view when compared with fellow students within the same grade and the same school, and if a problem is detected to address it sooner rather than later. Malnutrition is known to contribute to growth and mental development retardation and screening tests done at the start of a school career emphasises learners requiring additional help (Tzouriadou, et al., 2019). Screening test comparisons between schools focus on highlighting potential problem areas within the school itself that the principal and staff might not even be aware of at the time of the screening (Lynch, 2015).
Working towards a goal with direction “Goal setting is the process of establishing clear and usable targets for learning” (Beal, 2017:22). She elaborates on this statement saying that setting a specific goal has greater results than a generalised idea. The successful principal sets specific goals for his school to achieve and within specific timelines. Teaching and non-academic staff at the school knowing what is expected and by when results in greater commitment in reaching their targets. Goals that are self-set tend to earn greater commitment from participants and when those participants are students or the parents of the said students; it motivates them internally to commit to the set goal (Beal, 2017).
The principal that knows and trusts his staff might comment on what needs doing but he allows them decide for themselves how to achieve it. People having the opportunity to make decisions for themselves have greater commitment in achieving their goal. Lynch (2015) has identified working towards a goal with direction as one of the five success factors in effective educational management. He is of the opinion that a principal that sets goals for his school to work towards has a greater chance of being successful when the students, their parents and the community get involved, all working in unison striving to reach the collective goal.
Safe and secure environment
Learners spend a minimum of 6 hours a day at school. That is almost a third of their week that they spend with teachers and fellow students. Multiply that with the 12 odd years that they spend in school and the relevance of having a safe and secure environment becomes obvious (Robinson, Leeb, Merrick & Forbes, 2016). Learners need a safe environment to learn and to grow (Applebury, 2019) and this applies to student from Kindergarten all the way through to high school. Learners feeling safe and secure engage more with school academics making it an effective strategy for school management (Cote- Lussier & Fitzpatrick, 2016).
A safe and caring school environment is one where students and teachers feel positively connected and respected (Pipe, 2014). Not feeling safe is one of the greatest influences to destabilise respectful norms within a school (Anonymous, 2017). Cote-Lussier (2016), Pipe (2014), Robinson et al. (2016) and Appelbury (2019) are all in agreement that without respect a school and the school environment is not perceived and experienced as a safe and secure environment. The authors elaborate on this topic when they express that respect towards fellow leaners, their teachers and peers as well as respect towards school property nurtures safe and secure school environment. In discussing the 5 factor model for successful educational management, Lynch (2015) argued that a safe and secure environment contributes to the success of a school.
In 1988 Heresay and Blanchard defined leadership as the relationship between several factors (Smith, Minor, Brashen and Remaly, 2017). These factors include the chosen leadership style, the maturity of the supporter or employee, the expectation of the supporter or employee and the duty on hand. This definition evolved into four broad spectrum leadership styles namely autocratic or telling, democratic or selling, the encouraging and social leadership style or participative and finally the laissez-faire or delegating leadership style (Smith, et al., 2017).
A French phrase meaning to just “let it be” (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015). This leadership style can be either the best or the worst kind of leadership style situation dependant. When a manager has a reliable and experienced team where very little supervision is required, the Laissez Faire leadership style will promote efficiency and creativity but employees unable to set their own deadlines and performing only when under supervision will not benefit from this leadership style.
Autocratic Leadership styles- like most things – have extremes and the autocratic leadership style is the one extreme and on the opposite end of the leadership style spectrum when compared to the Laissez Faire leadership style. Managers make decision on their own without input from other whether it affects them or not. It is a very efficient leadership style if results is what is desired, and in a crisis situation an autocratic leadership style is imperative to make and implement decision quickly (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015). The disadvantage of this leadership style is that employees tend to dislike it and it cripples creativity in the workplace (Lynch, 2015).
Found in the middle of the leadership style spectrum is the democratic or participative leadership style. Favoured by many because it allows input from all before the manager makes a decision considering all the information given to him (Lynch, 2015). Employees feel valued and respected increasing their motivation. The downfall of the democratic leadership style is the time it takes to reach a conclusion and time is needed for every participant to voice his or her opinion. In a difficult situation where a solution is needed quickly this leadership style is not the best option to practice (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015).
Some literature refers to this leadership style as a coaching type leadership style (Akpan, 2016) or the charismatic leadership style (Lynch, 2015). Aptly named as this leadership style describes what is expected from the employer as well as the employee, a charismatic leader install eagerness and energy into the employee to move forward and achieve goal. Unfortunately, the transformational or charismatic leader’s energy is geared towards commitments towards the company and not the employee. The trust placed in a single individual is a risk of this leadership styles as the resignation of a transformational leader can result in the collapse of the department or even the company (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015).
The name of this leadership style accurately describes the management style. An employee agrees to certain terms and conditions and in return there is an incentive – normally in the form if financial reward (Amanchukwu, et al., 2015). Failure to deliver on the pre-determined terms and conditions will result in some form of punitive action. Other literature describes the transactional leadership style as a manager that invests in his employees in the sense that he coaches, trains and mentors in order to achieve certain goals that was set as part of the employee’s terms and conditions.
Staff and student expectations “People do better when more is expected of them. In education circles this is called the Pygmalion Effect” (Boser, Wilhelm & Hanna, 2014). The Pygmalion effect applies to students as well as teachers or academic staff, although the majority of literature seems to concentrate on students. The Golem Effect is the opposite of the Pygmalion Effect and has also been shown to be true too (Busch, 2017). Not having expectation results in apathy, no strive towards improvement and self-fulfilling prophecies (Busch, 2017). Fashioning expectations neither means aggressive behaviour towards an individual failing to achieve what has been set aside for him or her, nor creating a punitive environment for poor performance (Amaro, 2015).
What is does mean is having faith in a person to achieve the best he or she can be. Reaching this goal might not be achieved through mainstream channels but it comes to the conclusion that anyone can learn (Amaro, 2015). An individual investing time and effort in another – whether it is a learner or a teacher – motivates them to improve to their personal best and that is why Lynch (2015) says that it is one of the success factors for effective educational management.