Higher Education: Styles of Leadership and Leadership Theory

Institutions of higher education are in need of leadership and management. In the article “Higher Education Leadership and Management” (2006), Taylor and Machado express the notion that these two concepts are different. While leadership is concerned about the overall conditioning of institutions, management looks at policy planning, structuring, and decision making within institutions (Taylor & Machado, 2006). These two concepts have to utilize a leadership model that best fits an organization’s needs. However, higher education institutions (HEIs) have been recording strategic policy failures rather than successful results. It can be blamed on individuals put in charge or the models utilized. Strategic planning is the key aspect of any leadership model. Leaders have to take into consideration all dynamics of institutions and make informed decisions about the future. Whichever model of strategic planning is used in an institution, it should ensure that the goal of success and improvement of performance is met. Management and leadership have to intertwine at some point so as to provide an optimal guidance for an institution.

There is some more clarity shed on the issues that were bringing controversy in the past. Most people cannot differentiate between leadership and management. According to the writers, both aspects are equally important for HEIs and should be nurtured for the sake of creating success in these institutions (Taylor & Machado, 2006). Overall, the current performance level can be blamed on failures in policy planning or strategic management. The paper also gives ways in which these can be corrected. Models of strategic planning outlined in the paper are useful and should be implemented in the education system.

Leadership is not a science but rather a relationship between people where one is leading and others are following (Vroom & Jago, 2007). Without this dimension, leadership cannot exist. An effective leader has an ability to influence followers. However, presence of influence alone does not mean that there is leadership. This influence has to be accompanied by effectiveness of an organization. One of the models of leadership, discussed in the article “The Role of the Situation in Leadership” (2007) by Vroom and Jago, is a heroic conception of leadership. Under this model, a leader is viewed as a great man who influences the course of events. It was a popular view in the eighteenth century. Other more modern models of leadership include Feidler’s contingency model which classifies leaders according to their driving forces. They can include interpersonal relationships between employees, achievement of goals by formulating tasks, or utilization of power. Normative and descriptive models outline how leaders and followers relate to each other on the issue of decision making. It is a rather detailed concept that accounts for the ways how leaders and followers are related.

Vroom’s and Jago’s (2007) article has compared old and new styles of leadership. It enables a person to make a comparison between different models. The views expressed about leadership and influences are applicable in modern HEIs. Since influence can be negative or positive, a leader should strive to motivate his followers and guide them towards achieving specific objectives that have been set through the process of strategic planning.

A leader can be defined by the frame of leadership that he chooses to exercise. The article “Leadership and Management Effectiveness: A Multi-Frame, Multi-Sector Analysis” lists four frames within which a leader can exercise his or her control (Bolman & Deal, 1991). The structural frame deals with setting of goals and maintaining efficiency in institutions. The human resource frame emphasizes human relations and needs in an organization. The political frame is concerned with resource allocation and networking. The symbolic frame deals with organizational and disaster control. According to the frame that a leader chooses, one can decipher the type of leader he is and the corresponding way of thinking. These frames are also used by managers and administrators.

Bolman’s and Deal’s (1991) article puts into perspective issues surrounding approaches to leadership. A leader can choose any style which to guide an organization with. One has to look at all influencing factors and choose the one that is a best fit to ensure success of institutions. The leadership frame chosen should reflect a leader’s personality and capability to ensure effectiveness of institutions. A story of General Motors’ serves as an example showing that a leader may be qualified but not necessarily effective in the style they choose to apply for managing an organization.


Bolman, L. G., & Deal T. E. (1991). Leadership and management effectiveness: A multi-frame, multi-sector analysis. Human Resource Management, 30(4), 509-534.

Taylor, J., & Machado, M, L. (2006). Higher education leadership and management: From conflict to interdependence through strategic planning. Tertiary Education and Management, 12, 137-160.

Vroom, H V., & Jago, G. A. (2007). The role of the situation in leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 17-24.