The relationship between the professional wellbeing of teachers and principals' leadership styles
The teaching profession offers unique challenges and require teachers to function under high levels of stress, which has implications for their professional wellbeing. The principal, as the leader of the school, has an important role to play in the professional wellbeing of teachers. Literature indicates that the leadership style of the principal has an influence on the professional wellbeing of teachers. Therefore, in this study, the relationship between the leadership style of the principal and the professional wellbeing of teachers is explored. This was done by means of a literature review and an empirical investigation. The literature review aimed to determine aspects influencing professional wellbeing and to identify characteristics of three leadership styles, namely laissez-faire, transactional and transformational. The empirical investigation aimed to determine how the leadership style of the principal is perceived by teachers and how teachers' perceive their own professional wellbeing. Furthermore, the empirical investigation also determined the relationship between the leadership style of the principal and the professional wellbeing of teachers. This study utilised a non-experimental quantitative survey design from a post-positivistic paradigm. A non-probability convenient sampling method was used. The sample included 400 respondents from urban primary and secondary schools within the Kenneth Kaunda District of the North-West province of South Africa. Data was collected by administering two questionnaires. The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ-5x) was used to measure leadership styles and is based on the Full Range Leadership Theory (FRLT), whereas professional wellbeing was measured by means of the Institute of Work Psychology (IWP) Multi-Affect Indicator based on the Circumplex Model of Affect. The validity and reliability of both questionnaires were confirmed in this study. The data in the empirical investigation was analysed through descriptive and inferential statistical techniques. In order to determine the relationship between the principals' leadership style and the professional wellbeing of teachers, hierarchical linear models were used and correlations were determined by means of Spearman rank correlations. Statistical significant differences were determined by means of p-values and practical significant differences by means of Cohen's effect size (d-values). Regarding the findings of this study, the literature review revealed that contextual and individual factors influence professional wellbeing, but that aspects related to the individual need more focus and attention in research and practice. Job-related affective wellbeing forms part of these individual factors influencing professional wellbeing. The literature review also revealed the distinct characteristics of laissez-faire, transactional and transformational leadership styles. The empirical investigation showed that teachers from this sample perceived principals as mainly utilising a transformational leadership style, closely followed by a transactional leadership style. Furthermore, teachers in the sample self-reported professional wellbeing indicating that they generally experience positive affect at work. Finally, a positive relationship was found between transformational and transactional leadership styles and professional wellbeing (indicating positive affect at work) and a negative relationship between laissez-faire leadership style and professional wellbeing (indicating negative affect at work). From this study, it is clear that the combination of transformational and transactional leadership styles contributes to professional wellbeing. Therefore, it is recommended that short courses, workshops and other training opportunities be developed and implemented, as part of the continuous professional development of principals, to empower principals with the knowledge and skills regarding the characteristics of transformational and transactional leadership styles and the influence it has on teachers' professional wellbeing.
- Education 
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