Leadership is enacted through relationships. Relationships between leaders and followers entail building emotional connections. A successful leader facilitates and supports mutually beneficial relationships with teachers, students and other community members. They do this through displaying high levels of emotional competence, confidence and empathy. Using data collected from 101 primary school principals from six Chinese provinces, this paper explores how principals build reciprocal relationships with teachers via the display and enactment of paternalistic leadership. That is, the principals adopted a paternal leadership approach where they provided protection and care for teachers’ professional and personal lives while maintaining high expectations of quality teaching and cultivating a shared understanding of what teachers should and should not do. Many of the principals managed to win trust from teachers, which appeared to signify a strong personal bond founded on positive emotions. As such, the study provides an empirical basis to reflect and revisit the concept of paternalistic leadership and relationship between culture, leadership and emotional relationships. Copyright © 2021 De La Salle University.
CitationQian, H., & Walker, A. (2021). Building emotional principal–teacher relationships in Chinese schools: Reflecting on paternalistic leadership. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s40299-021-00563-z
- Paternalistic leadership