Successful leadership practices of
head teachers for school
Some evidence from Pakistan
Naseer Ahmad Salﬁ
Division of Education, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan
Purpose – The main purpose of this study is to identify the successful leadership practices of head
teachers for school improvement at secondary level in Pakistan.
Design/methodology/approach – The study was descriptive (survey type) in nature. It was
conducted on a sample of 351 secondary school head teachers, 702 elementary and secondary school
teachers working in the government secondary schools of Punjab province. Data were collected using
a mixed-methods research design that included: review of related literature, documents indicating
school achievements and student attainment, questionnaires and in-depth semi-structured interviews
with different stakeholders including the head teachers, teachers, parents and students. The validity
and reliability of the instruments was ensured through experts’ opinions and pilot testing in mid-2007;
the overall reliability was established at 0.923 alpha level.
Findings – The ﬁndings of the study revealed that the majority of the head teachers of successful
schools developed a common and shared school vision and promoted a culture of collaboration,
support and trust. They empowered others to lead and distributed leadership responsibilities
throughout the school; involved different stakeholders in the process of decision making; developed
and maintained good relationships among different personnel of school community. They emphasised
the professional development of teachers as well as themselves, and involved parents and community
in the process of school improvement.
Practical implications – The ﬁndings of this article may be useful for other countries of almost
similar socio-economic status, to improve quality of teaching and learning at secondary level.
Originality/value – The paper shows that policy makers, administrators, managers and head
teachers at secondary school level may improve school performance by adopting effective strategies
for school improvement in Pakistan.
Keywords Successful leadership, Leadership practices, Principals, School improvement,
Secondary schools, Empowerment, Pakistan
Paper type Research paper
The highest quality of education at all levels is, undoubtedly, a goal aspired to in all
countries. The achievement of such is dependent on many factors including numerous
personnel within each education system. In particular, leaders in educational
institutions assume essential roles in achieving the measure of quality to which all
aspire. Research on effective and successful schools, for example, has shown the
importance of effective leadership. Hughes and Ubben (1989) have emphasised
Edmonds’ observation that “there may be some bad schools here and there with good
head teachers but I have never seen an effective school that had a bad head teacher”.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Received March 2010
Revised May 2010
Accepted July 2010
Journal of Educational
Vol. 49 No. 4, 2011
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited