Personality Traits Associated with Transformational Leadership Styles of Secondary Principals in Christian Schools

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

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TITLE: Personality Traits Associated with Transformational Leadership Styles of Secondary Principals in Christian Schools
RESEARCHER: Craig David Koehler
Kent State University
Graduate School of Education
Doctoral Dissertation: December 1992

To investigate what personality traits are associated with transformational leadership styles of secondary principals in Christian schools.

The Association of Christian Schools International Membership Directory (1991) was used to compile a convenient random sample of 30 private Christian secondary schools in the Mid-America Region. Principals completed the LPI-Self, the California Psychological Inventory (CPI-R; Gough, 1986), and provided demographic information. Nine of their teachers were randomly selected to complete the LPI-Other by the researcher and all responses were returned directly to him.

Eighty-three percent of the principals participated; eighty-seven percent of the faculty responded (average of seven per principal). The typical principal had 4-10 years of administrative experience (60%), was between 31-50 years of age (88%), had a master's degree (64%), and was a man (96%). Most of their schools had between 201-400 students (66%).

Four CPI-R measures were associated with a total score on the LPI-Other (R2 = .61, p < .0005). Empathy entered the stepwise forward regression equation first and Psychological Mindedness entered second (both positive). Capacity for Status entered third and Socialization fourth (both negative). "Principals scoring high on the leadership instrument tend to be perceived by others as understanding, sensitive, and intuitive in their dealing with (others)...possessing a broad range of interests and seem to be more altruistically motivated than most others...(and) seen by others as sincere, honest, and dependable individuals who are inclined to take risks and share their strong views on issues" (149-50).

Four CPI-R measures were associated with a total LPI-Self score (R2 = .64, p < .0002): The order of entry was Empathy (positive), Good Impression (positive), Achievement via Conformance (negative), and Tolerance (negative). "Principals...perceive themselves as exhibiting sensitivity, discernment, and caring in their association with (others) response to others while valuing rapport, affiliation, and personal contact...less likely to rely on conformity and compliance in seeking leadership and success...(and) perceive themselves as somewhat trusting and tolerant of other people" (152-53).

Personality typing, as proposed by Gough, resulted in 72 percent of the sample being classified as "alpha" (leaders). The remainder were classified as "beta" (saints: 20%), "gamma" (innovators: 8%), or "delta" (artists:0%).

LPI-Other, but not LPI-Self, scores were all significantly correlated (negatively) with the principal's age. There were no correlation’s with either instrument for administrative experience in the current school and few (5/30) significant correlation’s with level of education, total years of administrative experience, or school enrollment.