Leadership evolves around the central role of providing problem solution in order to achieve set objectives. In this global experience, there is need for a simulation model which subsist the general concept of a leadership framework that offers a problem based experience engaging participants in addressing real world problems and situations in a learning environment. In this model, principals and school leaders are expected to employ a comprehensive critical, creative and strategic thinking in an environment that is collaborative.
Researchers argue that leadership simulation is a strategic pedestal that leaders use to influence and effect on the school success through creative analysis of strategic base within the precincts of policy formulation and solving organizational problems of a school. This paper seeks to address the concepts of leadership simulation as applied in the wider milieu of school and educational management.
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Over time the concept of leadership has changed. In the contemporary learning environment, leadership has demonstrated the need to overcome recurring challenges in the global society. Towards meeting all these, aspiring young leaders develop a new comprehensive and collaborative framework that improves their leadership practice. Within this context, leadership simulation has evolved to improve on the whole leadership structure and see many schools experiencing improvement as far as leadership is concerned.
The principles of leadership simulation continue to enhance leadership growth and development in the 21st century. The primary implication of leadership simulation builds on the principles of problem solving as well as critical thinking skills in a realistic world that is typical of collaboration, consultation and interactive simulation. Accordingly, school leaders must demonstrate experience and expertise in making decisions that may influence the success of the schools as soon as they assume leadership mantle.
Leadership Simulation in School
Simulation is a leadership plan that helps participants to understand the underlying challenges that they continue to face in their leadership practices. Ruderman (2006) underscores that simulation impacts on the thinking and behavior of school leaders who develop ideas that are useful in helping educationists adopt skills that are involved in school leadership. Given that leaders are often given mandates to execute certain tasks, they often encounter a number of challenges and towards overcoming them; they employ aspects of collaborative, problem solving and critical thinking approach.
It is observed that effective leaders in the 21st century are entitled to understand the need to have power in their leadership (Taswell, 2006). As such, they use this power and knowledge to achieve their goals but one thing remains evident that in the entire process of executing leadership, things do not appear easy and to cushion all these challenges that come with leadership, they create simulation model that would enhance their approach in leadership.
Simulation in school leadership is presented such that an interactive way of leadership experience is learnt through video clips to present problem scenarios which in the end are followed by critical decision making process as well as exploring opportunities for students (British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society, 2004). Therefore, leadership simulation is a principle that enables all leaders participating, to communicate effectively, resolve conflicts amicably, manage changes that are positive in the organization culture and solve problems effectively.
Accordingly, the entire leadership simulation framework reinforces the tenet that leaders should understand why their behavior, decisions and attitudes are often misunderstood and misconceived by their juniors in a school setting. To illustrate, the concept of leadership simulation empowers aspiring leaders to realize possible approaches that can be employed in the strategic management all in a bid to improve their efficiency and effectiveness in their leadership and thus help their subordinates, juniors and students to take part in the organizations leadership.
As a result, leaders who uses simulation model understand the primary concept of discipline throughout the execution of power. The power of leadership simulation has extensively brought context and reality factors in leadership. To illustrate, Foster and Lepard (2003) point out that leadership simulation is ideal for managers, supervisors and principals who ascend to leadership without apt managerial training, de-motivated managers and any other participant in an organization management who may think that leadership is all about being nice to juniors or working hard to achieve personal goals.
In such milieus, Velsor (2005) postulates that leaders who benefit from leadership simulation manages to work in environments that exhibit juniors who are jealously competing for scarce resources as well as those resisting changes that are structured to make the organization work more effectively. The working of a leadership simulation has historically evolved to teach leaders better approaches to enhance and influence organizational successes.
According to Leithwood (2001), leadership simulation came to the fore as a result of challenges that engulfed school organizations and some of which bordered some people not trusting school principals and Board of Governors with their powers to effects certain decisions within a school system. With regard to this, leadership simulation is conducted in a pattern of rounds governed by rules of nature.
Aldrich (2004) further asserts that at the end of every simulation round, the leaders who in this case are participants embody a change and capability to change the inherited organizational rules of leadership under the influence of the natural rule of simulations. To achieve the purposes of simulations, leaders must in collaboration with the managerial teams:
- Use power effectively,
- Resolve conflicts between organizational groups and individuals,
- Negotiate for resources on behalf of the organization,
- Develop trust under various dangerous circumstances,
- Establish organizational roles and goals
- Employ critical and strategic thinking in formulating policies that will work for the school as a system.
As a result of simulation, school principals, managers, proprietors and other school leaders have learnt how to:
- Extensively sue organizational goals to root out any conflict that may arise,
- Communicate the organization’s vision in order to make it possible for all employees in the organization to work as a team towards the goals of the school,
- Develop a collaborative as well as a participative leadership and management style
- Analysis the school system and what may work for it through critical thinking
- Improve the morale, and productivity of every member of the school through a collaborative style of leadership and management
- Understand the merits of perceiving the behaviors of the leader through the lens of stakeholders of the school.
The Performance Locus of leadership Simulation Research has shown that building on the principles of business leadership and learning, leaders definitely develops a schema that unbelievably fits in real project environment where the cultural, historical and sociological leadership experiences pictures their approaches to get immersed in a realistic as well as dynamic school management (British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society, 2004).
Similarly, current global educational society call for leadership that is composite of quality requirements, customer interactions and satisfactions, technological requirements and status reports to managements as well as other project problems that are typical. In light of this, Taswell (2006) argues that leadership simulations aims at solidifying team work because leaders are inspired to work on the pedestal of a thorough and defensible business plan that is based on the leadership techniques and practical methods.
In so doing, organizations experiences a leadership structure where projects are implemented amid challenges. Leithwood (2001) further details a number of project benefits that may come as a result of leaders employing the theory of simulation. These include the ability of leaders designing problems, dealing with morale and personal motivation issues overtime issues among others. In the simulation dynamics leaders obtain the ability and experience to build a learning behavior that leads to high performance.
A case in point is when a leader begins early in the training to perform in such a real life environment and thus exhibit an emergence of a certain behavior that offers a powerful opportunity to deal with interpersonal skills and issues in a leader. Significantly, leadership simulation model, which is woven in leadership practices, emphasizes correct and effective leadership styles that set up team developments as well as methods of team building, feedback mechanism and conflict resolution (Foster and Lepard, 2003).
In a dynamic global learning environment that simulation creates, leaders understand the underlying complex educational environment that underlies the human as well as managerial systems. Aldrich (2004) contends that leadership accountability is the inherent in the whole game of leadership. In a recent survey, Velsor (2005) observes that mangers who entirely understand their leadership accountabilities succeed in their own training to reflect the true and effective leadership approach.
With regard to this, the philosophy of leadership simulation lays the basis for a new mindset in leadership that encompasses a full range of management roles, behaviors and responsibilities. This dimension creates a scenario where leaders link competencies and capabilities to the performance of the organization. With leadership simulation, leaders get an opportunity to discover and rediscover key leadership accountabilities that they build on to succeed in the real life environment.
Simulation as a business and leadership training framework targets all leaders; from mangers to supervisors, to be customized to the needs of the school within the marketplace. School principals have maintained that through simulation, leadership is not only constricted to the project management but also touches on the wider environment that the school operates in. The underlying objective of leadership simulation is to equip the school leaders in the market place to edge their competitive advantage by successfully developing teams that are responsible for the success of the organization in all sphere of operation (Ruderman,2006 ).
Arguably, it is plausible to argue that all leaders who participate in a leadership simulation program ensure a high quality leadership application in their schools. Needless to say, competitive pressure, customer focus that continues to be intense as well as the constant shrinking budgets from the contemporary realities in the business world and thus there is a dire need to adopt a business model that is interactive, collaborative and with is guided by critical thinking. As such, managers and the general leadership must lead their various groups with vision, honesty and insight.
This new leadership reality takes the organization a notch higher addressing the continued shift in skills. Changing the traditional management and leadership style of the school to the contemporary style that forms accountable leadership; involves a greater sense of self direction, team work and concrete work experience. In view of this, Aldrich (2004) underscores that leadership simulation facilitates a process of integrative management typical of consultation and discovery approaches that makes this transition effective.
Leaders under the framework of simulation manage their organization by the understanding of a real world context through hands on experiences. As such, leaders are able to develop and reflect a profound understanding of their leadership accountabilities. Conclusion From the foregoing discussion, it is evident that the concept of leadership has changed and in the contemporary global learning environment, leadership has demonstrated the need to overcome recurring challenges in schools.
Towards meeting all these, aspiring young leaders develop a new comprehensive and collaborative framework that improves their leadership practice. Within this context, leadership simulation has evolved to improve on the whole leadership structure and see many school organizations experiencing improvement as far as leadership is concerned. Leadership evolves around the central role and objective of providing problem solution in order to achieve set objectives.
In this global experience, there is need for a simulation model which subsist the general concept of a leadership framework that offers a problem based experience that engages participants in addressing real world problems and situations will in a learning environment. In this model, leaders are expected to employ a comprehensive critical, creative and strategic thinking in an environment that is collaborative.
- Aldrich, C (2004). Simulation and Future of Learning. London: John Wiley and Sons
- British Educational Leadership, Management and Administration Society (2004). Understanding School Leadership. New York: Sage Books
- Foster, A and Lepard, D (2003). Powerful Leadership Development: Bridging Theory and Practice Using peers and Technology. London: Corwin Press
- Leithwood, K (2001). Developing Leaders for Schools: A Simulation Model. New York: Routledge
- Ruderman, M (2006). Creative Leadership: A Handbook of Leadership Development. Vol 122, No 14, pp 134-157
- Taswell, R (2006). Everyday Leaders: Promoting Attitude and Action. London: McGraw Hill
- Velsor, E (2005). Theory and Practice of Leadership Simulation. New York: Routledge
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