Leadership practices in selected successful schools.
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The study sought to explore leadership practices in three successful schools each from rural, township and urban areas. Nine school managers reported their day-to-day leadership practices they believed enhanced their schools’ success in terms of consistent outstanding matriculation results. In the study I used three data generation methods: semi-structured interviews, observation and document analysis. The main research focus was to study what made these schools successful. The sub-areas of focus included the following: management practices, teaching practices, managing challenges, leadership styles, leadership skills and the school- community relationships. The findings revealed various ways in which success was achieved regardless of the schools significant differences in terms of socio-economic backgrounds. The most common leadership practices that brought successes in these three schools were the following: daily extra classes including weekends and public holidays; having visionary leadership that worked toward a common goals; having the right and committed staff who worked extra miles without expecting extra payment, ensuring quality tests, team leadership behaviours; effective planning and monitoring strategies to ensure curriculum coverage; having turnover strategies in place and using a mixture of tactical, strategic and democratic skills such as communication skills, performance management skills, analysis and judgment skills, coaching skills, empowerment skills; leading through vision and value; building trust; facilitating learning; building partnership; ability to lead participative meetings; listening skills; ability to handle conflict; group-centered decisionmaking skills, and team-building skills. However, the study showed that in all the schools leaders did not only use one leadership style, but a combination of these such as team leadership, transformational leadership, African leadership, reflective leadership, relational leadership and dictator leadership(sometimes) as well. I recommend that motivational workshops and seminars for both teacher and SMT; acknowledgements and reward system for well performing schools, and educating the community about their role in education could be useful strategies towards schools’ success.