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Summary of Artifacts

The leadership artifacts from the school districts involved in the research study were reviewed for content that related to leaders’social and political acumen. This included information that related to an application for leadership development programs, the content of leadership development programs, an application for school administration, and the criteria for the profile of the school principal.

From the analysis a commonality identified in all of the districts’artifacts was a focus on the need for the educational leader to be an instructional leader. These artifacts did not refer specifically to social and political acumen, nor did they identify the need for leaders to possess social and political acumen. They did, however, refer to some of the skills and attributes that this study has identified as elements of social and political acumen.

The artifacts indicated that the principal competencies needed to include more than instructional leadership. The competencies outlined in these school districts’artifacts recognized the need for principals as leaders to:

Foster learning,

Engage people,

Resolve issues,

Manage conflict,

Organize work,

Possess critical inquiry,

Communicate effectively,

Promote cooperation between school and community,

Build vision and shared commitments,

Optimize resources,

Facilitate change,

Optimize systemic thinking.

All of these elements reflected the definitions in this study for leaders’exercise of social and political acumen. That is, leaders must have the ability to function with effective interpersonal and communication skills, as well as the ability to know how to function within the micro and macro structures within which they exist. There were also specific references in the artifacts to systems thinking and operating within the district’s governance model. There was not, however, a significant focus on the leader’s development of political acumen.

It is interesting to note that a review of the districts’artifacts had a more direct focus on the need for leaders’personal attributes to reflect social acumen and a lesser focus on the attributes that this study connects with political acumen. Some of the attributes included:

  • professional knowledge,
  • critical thinking,
  • team orientation,
  • community orientation,
  • personal qualities (integrity, respect for others, collaboration, courage, intuition, creativeness, risk taking),
  • responsibility for personal learning,
  • problem-solving abilities,
  • conflict-management abilities,
  • system orientation.

Summary of Survey Results

Although the study was in general a qualitative study, the use of quantitative data supported the overall findings of the research. the quantitative element of the research involved analysis of a survey that included a number of multiple-choice sections involving a likert scale. the data from these questions were analyzed through use of open office and r‑Language, version 1.7.1. quantitative analysis was also used to identify these principals’Opinions about the role of leadership development in their exercise of social and political acumen. pearson chi-square test was used to determine whether there was a relationship between the success of a group of identified dynamic principals and their exercise of social and political acumen. the pearson chi-square test was used because it determines whether there was a relationship other than chance. in fact, this test tells the strength of the association between two variables, as well as the probability of any association being due to chance factors (neuman, 2000).

The results from the survey did indicate that there was a connection beyond that of chance in the principals’responses regarding the connection between their exercise of their skills involving social and political acumen and their belief that effective leaders needed to possess these skills.

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Source:  OpenStax, Mentorship for teacher leaders. OpenStax CNX. Dec 22, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10622/1.3
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