The Impact Of Leadership Skills On The Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students

Project and Seminar Material for Education

The Impact Of Leadership Skills On The Academic Performance Of Secondary School Students (A Case Study Of Schools In Lagos Mainland)


This study was designed to assess the impact of leadership skills on secondary school students academy performance in selected secondary schools of Lagos Mainland local government area, Lagos state. The project is divided into five chapters. The study targeted all the public secondary schools in Lagos Mainland local government area, Lagos state. The local government has a total number of 32 schools comprising of 32 principals and 275 teachers. 184 respondents were randomly selected out of the entire population using random sampling technique, the findings of the study revealed that transactional leadership style is the most used leadership style by the principals. The findings also revealed that there was high respect for transactional leadership style to teachers., It was therefore recommended that the principals of secondary schools in particular be encouraged to increase use this style of leadership in the management of secondary schools to improve their academic attainment.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

The success of any organization is highly rated upon the head, boss or the manager of such an enterprise, like business, school or any organization. The leadership impact is desirable in organization to aid easy and maximum success. Leadership is an instructional used in an organization for behavior modification. It determines the goals of organization and means of accomplishing them. Therefore, leadership in organization has been seen as motivator whereby one person who is the head motivates others towards, the achievement of specific goals of the organizations. However, fellowship is the essence of leadership, in other words it is willingness of the people to follow that makes a person a leader. Moreover, people follow those perceived to be providing means of achieving their own desires, wants and needs. In secondary school administration, the success of any school to achieve its stated goals or objectives depends on the ability of the chief administrator otherwise known as the principal and his leadership style. Effective leadership role provided by the principal will lead to the achievement of the school’s goals and objectives. There is on adage which says “Get the right man in the leadership and your problem will be solved”.

Education among other concern is an instrument for effecting national development. To achieve the stated aims and objectives of the national policy, all stakeholders in the educational sector have different roles to play. At the grass root level, the management available resources rest solely upon the schools principals inclusive in principals roles is the provision of effective administrative skills which cannot be separated from their leadership styles. With the close review of the setbacks being experienced in some secondary schools, pressure groups are agitating for effective leadership styles. It is glaring that some principals have not considered their styles of leadership as the determinants of students’ academic performance level. Hence, some principals seem to find it difficult to effectively administer their schools (Adeyemi 2004). Every school principal is in a unique position as the manager or administrator of the `resources in their schools. The school administrator is a leader of the staff and the students of the school. He is expected to be knowledgeable in the area of administration and should be in nature. He should be able to address difficult issues or problems of different point in time. Leadership is concerned with human experience and energy in an organized group and the concept is also of prime importance to administration. The leadership style of the principal is demonstrated in his abilities which make him to be recognized as leader of a group. Many people strongly believe even when there is an educational plan, good school programmers, adequate staff and facilities, what is more important is good administrative leadership to coordinate all these for the progress and success of the school. In case, where the leadership style of the principal is ineffective, even the best school programme, the most adequate resources and the most motivational staff and students will be rendered unproductive. Therefore, the importance of good leadership style in an organization cannot be overemphasized.

Students too not left out of the reason for the blame as most of them are not ready to face their studies as required. students level of productivity in school determine how the principals’ administrative role and leadership style are rated. The key for an effective leader is the ability to lead effectively, coordinate a complex situation and show concern through the effective leadership style for students performance. Therefore, among the administrative functions of the principal is to persuade students and use his leadership style to coordinate all activities to ensure they contribute willingly for students performance. It worth knowing that the improvement of students performance in any secondary schools depends on quality of its principal leadership styles. are therefore expected to be committed to facilitate the teaching process. To ensure the possibility, principals too must provide conductive atmosphere in the school. The type of leadership style being operated in the school will make students to achieve their objectives. Homan et al (2005) stated that belief of people that the efficiency with which any school organization can be operated depends to a large extent on the effective leadership style, both individually and collectively. The issues of students’ performance in the classroom, based on principals leadership style is a concern of this project.

Moreover, it will be erroneous to conclude that all school principals in this country fail to acknowledge the significance of good human relation. It is evident that leadership approach vary from one principal to other as a result of prevailing situation. “What can be said to be true about one situational environment may not be true about another. What may be wise action in one situation may be wise action in one situation may be unwise in another.

The understanding of the existence of a great variety of patterns, conditions and responses in the beginning of wisdom of approaching the problem of leadership style.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The relationship between principals’ leadership style and students performance has been a subject of controversy by many researchers. The controversy was centered on whether or not the style of leadership of principals influences the level of performance among students. Common observation in the school system shows that the style of leadership of a principal could perhaps have serious impact on students performance. Lack of performance of some students is secondary schools Lagos Mainland local government areaLagos state because of the leadership styles operated by some principals. minimal attainment of students’ academic performance in Lagos Municipal Local Government, Lagos State, lack of knowing the relationship between the principals’ leadership style on the students’ academic performance, and lack of school principals’ model to follow the suits. Fundamentally less has been targeted to the relationship between principal leadership behaviour and academic performance of students.

Moreover, there need is to explore the perceptions of principals’ about their own leadership behaviour towards its effect on students’ academic performance. Accordingly the perceptions of teachers’ about their principals’ leadership behaviour and its effect on students’ performance is necessary to be investigated. There is a need to evaluate, explore, understand, and describe the principals’ leadership style on the students’ academic performance.

The quantitative design study explores and describes the leadership styles and types of principals by interviewing the principals and students in Lagos Mainland local government area secondary schools. Therefore, it is against this background that the researcher intends to examine the different leadership styles and types exhibited by principals, their effects on the students’ academic performance with an aim to suggest a model that will at least maintain or enhance students’ academic performance in Lagos Mainland local government area.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study include the following:-

  1. To find out the most commonly used leadership style among principals in Lagos Mainland local government area Area
  2. To identify if there is any significant relationship between principal and leadership style and students’ academic performance.
  3. To investigate the differences in students’ performance under principals using autocratic leadership style and those using democratic leadership style

1.4 Research Questions

Base on the above research objectives, the following research questions are suggested:

  1. Which leadership style is most commonly used by principals in secondary schools in Lagos Mainland local government area?
  2. Is there any significant relationship between principals’ leadership style and students’ academic performance?
  3. Is there any significant difference in students’ performance in schools having principals using autocratic leadership style and in schools having principals using democratic leadership styles?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant because the principal function that leads to students’ academic performance could be more appreciated. It could also help the ministries of education, to appreciate the extents of the school principals’ appropriateness. It could go a long way to assisting in timely decision making concerning the schools and the principals by the ministry of education and the other stakeholders. This study would be of great importance in diverse ways. This research on principal’s leadership styles that relates to the students’ academic performance will help the society in an insight of a unique model for leadership and that in turn boost the students’ academic performance. The model proposed in the research will, hopefully, facilitate and simplify the practitioner’s implementation process for the leadership not only in schools but also in the industry. The research findings will also help to enlighten and provide the insights for quality leadership styles and types as such; it is expected to benefit both researchers and practitioners.

Furthermore, this study would be of great importance to the research community, because when students are trained and educated, the production of right workforce will be achieved in the community and the society. Thus, this study will help some principals who for one reason or the other have not been effective in carrying out their responsibilities, and work with more effectiveness and efficiency using appropriate leadership style to improve students performances that in turn lead to the academic achievement of the students.

The findings of this study will be highly contributed to knowledge, which might justify stakeholders’ expectations of the Principals. The researcher believed that the starting point to improve the principals leadership styles as well as the improvement of the students’ academic performance is to have good leadership. The findings revealed ways the Lagos Mainland local government area principals could adjust their leadership style to create an environment conducive for learning and in turn high academic performance are expected to be achieved by the students.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The aim of this study was to examine the impact of leadership skills on student’s academic performance in some selected secondary schools. The target population of this study is Lagos Mainland local government area secondary schools. The scope of this research is that it measures the principal’s leadership styles using a questionnaire.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

Financial Constraint:

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, newspapers, magazines, journals etc.). More so, there is scarcity of relevant materials on the issuedue to its evolving and spontaneous nature.

Time Constraint:

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work. However despite these constraint, the researcher was able to overcome these challenges and made sure that the work was completed successfully.

1.9 Operation Definition of the Terms

1. Principal:

Principal is the chief or head or director of the school. He is an overall person in charge (boss) in the school setting.

2. Leadership Style:

Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. These are the ways principals handled subordinates to achieve their goals or targets in the secondary schools and these are seen / observable practically.

3. Student:

A student is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution.

4. Academic Performance:

Academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees.

5. Secondary School:

Secondary school is the next step up from primary school.

6. Impact:

The strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person

1.10 Organization of the Study

The chapter one consist of the introductory part of the study which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study objective and scope of the study.

The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives including the theoretical framework for the study. While the third chapter is methods of data collection, sampling and data analysis used in conducting the study. The fourth chapter centres around the research findings including an analysis of how it relates to previous findings. The fifth chapter consists of the summary of findings, conclusion and recommendations base on the study objectives.

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

Transactional leadership style is the most used leadership style by the principals. The findings revealed that there was high respect for transactional leadership style to teachers. This showed that there was pressure on teachers to produce results, demand to attain classes, insistence to complete the syllabus, close monitoring of teachers to attain results and much concentration to fulfillment of short term goals. These unfortunately compromised the quality of academic performance where little effort was made by the principals giving more attention to fulfillment of short-term goals. On accountability of teachers on their teaching, the results show that principals made their teachers accountable during the trainings and through the use of professional documents. Teachers felt that principals ensured that lessons have been attended to in making them accountable.

Democratic leadership style is the least used leadership style by principals. In this style, there is high consultation before making decisions. Giving teachers’ autonomy in decision making about improving academic performance was less used. Teachers were in agreement with the principals on consultation before making decisions.

5.2 Conclusion

The study concluded that transactional leadership style influenced students’ performance on a greater extent. For example teachers reported that the leadership style of their principal was fair. The researcher also concluded that teachers and principals ensured that the teachers observed punctuality in lesson attendance. They ensured they were roles model to display high levels of ethical and moral conduct while teachers indicated that their principal ensured that the syllabus was covered in time to ensure strategic improvement in students’ academic performance in the school.

The study rated the influences were rewarding teachers for job well done was rated high followed by ensure teachers and students do not deviate from academic performance pursuit, they do not frequently gauge performance against set targets and offer incentives and lastly giving more attention to fulfillment of short-term goals. Teachers on this aspect felt that much concentration to fulfillment of short term goals was given by the principals, ensuring improvement towards quality students’ academic performance and lastly was to monitor the performance to ensure value added progress.

On transformational leadership style, the study concluded that principals strived towards common goal of fulfilling the school vision and mission with motivating teachers to go beyond self-interest following. The study also concluded that the least was to ensure the personality influence the teachers, students and parents to do what the principal want them to do. The study concluded that teachers felt principals displayed high values and reinforced them symbolically. They also saw their principals as displaying an appealing personality that others can emulate.

They did not feel that their principals ensured they were part and parcel of the school team that sets common goals, mission and vision.

Democratic leadership was the least used leadership style by principals. In this style, the study concluded that principals consulted before making decisions, respect the rights of the various groups in the school institution.

Giving teachers autonomy in decision making about improving academic performance was least used. On the part of teachers, they felt that their principals consulted before making decisions and also accords them an opportunity to make contributions on improvement of students’ academic performance

5.3 Recommendations

The following were the recommendations for the study:

  1. Zonal educational office are advised to provide communication skills training for school principals on effects of communication and how to communicate with teaching staffs to enhance students’ academic performance.
  2. For the proper delegation of duties, by the secondary schools principals to teachers in Lagos Municipal , the zonal education office should set a criteria of delegating duties to teachers in the zone and providing further training, refresher course, seminar and workshop to both new skills and knowledge needed to perform the delegated school tasks.
  3. Considering the finding of this study, it was recommended that school principals should imbibe a mixture of autocratic and democratic styles of leadership in their school administration in order to enhance better students’ academic performance.
  4. The state ministry of education as well as teachers’ service board and K.E.R.D (Lagos Educational Resource Department) should organize regular inspection to schools to monitor the style of leadership used by principals that could enhance better students’ academic performance. This is necessary in order to achieve the objectives of secondary education as spelt out in the National Policy on Education.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does leadership and management affect academic performance in secondary schools?

The study on the impact of leadership and management on academic performance in secondary schools needs a model that can illustrate the important components on which the trend of data collection will be manifested.

Does school leadership affect student achievement?

We recognized in high – but not low performing schools –evidence of the mindfulness, a characteristic associated with high reliability organizations. In the final phase, we used responses from 281 schools. Our results indicated that school leadership had moderate but significant indirect effects on student achievement.

Do principals’ leadership and engagement affect mathematics performance in secondary schools?

Mathematics performance in Kenyan secondary schools. Our findings suggest principals’ leadership and engagement impacts mathematics performance. These results are similar leaders who assisted teachers in questioning and changing their instruction practices.

Do school leaders have a role to play in schools’ success?

The underlying assumption in this argument is that school leaders have a role to play in schools’ academic success – a role that cannot ignored. Wahlstrom & Louis, 2008).

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