A plethora of principal development programs based on myriad leadership theories currently abounds in many educational jurisdictions globally. Today’s principals, consequently and fortuitously, often feel less isolated and better supported that has been indicated in school leadership research over the past two decades. The purpose of this paper is to discover, however, how principals, through well-designed postgraduate study, can effectively become the transformational leaders, schools regularly require of them.Design/methodology/approachAction research involving postgraduate leadership students at an Australian university over a two year period, involved three cycles: identification of leadership learning needs, introduction of innovations to their learning and identification of the transformative learning which contributed to their leadership development.FindingsTransformative learning impacts significantly on transformational leadership development. This happens when disorienting dilemmas challenge and open minds to possibilities, and paradigmatic assumptions are questioned. The ensuing awareness enables leaders to demonstrate characteristics of transformational leadership especially the dimension of individualised consideration.Originality/valueFew studies have aligned transformative learning with transformational leadership theory, but this paper found that school leaders benefit from transformative learning in their quest to become such a leader. The scariness of a metaphoric principal bungee-jump could ultimately lead to rocket launching of the most transformative kind.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2019
Keywords: Transformational leadership; Transformative learning; School principals; Educational leadership development