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Implications for School Leaders

2 March, 2015 - 10:41
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The basic tenets of spiritual and ethical leadership styles demand a change in the way principals are trained. The training that stresses the principal as the instructional leader and the manager of a school will have to have as its foundation the elements of community, meaning, and integrity. This has to come before the specific training needed in the job. The reason for this is because leaders have to be spiritual people who act with a sense of integrity before they can take on the training for a specific leadership position. While is may not be possible to create a spiritual person through a series of principal preparation programs, the program should teach the spiritual practices that will help the principal candidate move in that direction. Practices such as reflective journaling, meditation, reading, self examinations will be part of the curriculum.

School leaders make decisions quickly and often. All decisions must be grounded in the ethical system that the school leaders have adopted. These decisions must be consistent with the mission of the school, which speaks to the issue of integrity and meaning or purpose. Principals have to have a good understanding of their personal ethical systems and know how these systems can be put into action. The theme of community comes into play as well because decisions have ramifications that may help or hurt the school community, or the wider community.

The feeling of community needs to be created by the school leaders. School spirit is not a new concept for school leaders. The spiritual sense of community is a wider concept for spiritual leaders. The school spirit which includes things like cheering on one's team, and wearing school colors is only the beginning of community in the spiritual sense. School leaders will lead their followers, staff and students, into a realization that they are an integral part of the community of the school, the community of their region, the community of the environment, and even a part of the community of the universe. While this may seem bizarre, there is great need to see where one fits into the universe to understand the importance of one's actions and their ramifications.

The spiritual aspect of community points to the importance of relationships. Community is not only a concept; it is real and it involves people relating to other people. These relationships are healthy interactions that will lead to a building up of the other. Even a damaged relationship, if handled correctly by the leader, will lead to a stronger bond once resolved. The give and take, the comings and goings of members, the friendships in an organization are reflections of how the world works and how the environment works. The knowledge of the staff and students that the school community is in sync with the natural world is comforting and gives deeper understanding of the meaningfulness of the work.