How schools support the development of leadership capacity

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


Educational leadership research has established the potential of distributed and shared forms of leadership. This paper considers how senior leaders' shape organizational cultures or structures that develop middle and teacher leadership capacity to support effective leadership distributions. This focus is important given that middle and teacher leaders often lack formal leadership training. This research engaged 105 senior, middle and teacher leaders in individual and focus group interviews. Participants were members of four successful schools offering the International Baccalaureate. The findings show that principals described their leadership structures variously as: "inclusive", "devolved", "flat", and "shared". They had strong expectations of middle leadership that specifically delineated responsibilities for capacity building. Appraisal systems drove capacity building. Portfolio-based appraisal provided for a mentorship platform that cascaded in situ leadership training and professional learning from principals to curriculum coordinators to subject heads to teachers. Inquiry project approaches to appraisal permitted teacher leaders to develop micro-specialisms. Teaching teams consulted these specialists to enhance instructional planning and delivery or build the teams' pedagogical capacity. The findings show that deliberately designed organizational structures can serve to develop leadership capacity that enhances the impact of distributed leadership. Copyright © 2019 The Education University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


Bryant, D. (2019, March). How schools support the development of leadership capacity. Paper presented at the Asia Leadership Roundtable 2019: The First Decade of Asian Research on School Leadership in a Global Context, Grand Link Hotel, Guilin, China.


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