Exploring leadership competencies amongst senior management personnel in the schools under Phoenix and City of Durban districts.
During the past few decades the role and functions of the principal have undergone a radical change. Traditionally, the principal was merely the head of the school and her/his role and functions at the school were to implement policies set out by the education authorities. The principal was required to have professional training and experience to manage the school. The traditional view was that a competent educator with a certain number of years of experience, and the right personality, was well equipped for the task and the demands of principalship. This makes the assumption that the ability needed by an educational leader to perform certain administrative and managerial tasks could be developed through experience. The present study attempted to interrogate this assumption. It was hypothesized that there is a need for induction programmes and professional development programmes for newly promoted management personnel. This research was undertaken to determine the degree of managerial competence amongst principals and other senior management personnel in primary and secondary schools. The quantitative method of research was adopted. Based on the assumption that there was a serious lack of leadership competencies among senior management teams at schools and there was a need to address this problem, a questionnaire was drawn to obtain responses from both senior management teams and educators at six South African public schools, and to compare the responses of both groups to the same questions. Results of the present investigation reveal that the underlying problem of the lack of leadership competencies amongst senior management personnel lies in the fact that they have not been properly inducted into their roles as well as the lack of professional development courses. Findings from the present research emphasize the increasing importance for management training of the educational leader. This should comprise two aspects, viz., basic management training (the academic-professional component) followed by a management development programme (in-service training). Managers should be given courses in, inter alia, school management, curriculum and programme development, school law, supervision of instruction, human relations, school finance and budgeting, personnel administration, leadership, community relations, internship and field experience, child and adolescence development, psychology of learning, counselling and guidance theory and practice.