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1.1       Background to the Study

The success of any enterprise, such as a business, a school, or any organization, is greatly valued by the leader, boss, or management of such an enterprise. A leadership influence is aimed to allow smooth and optimum performance in an organization (Ezeuwa, 2005). Leadership is a behavior change technique used in businesses. It establishes the goals of an organization as well as the means to achieve them. As a result, leadership in an organization has been considered as a motivator in which the head motivates others to achieve certain organizational goals (Ezenne, 2010). Fellowship, on the other hand, is the core of leadership. In other words, it is the willingness of people to follow that makes a person a leader (Ezenne, 2010). Furthermore, people will follow those who are perceived to provide a means of accomplishing their own objectives, wants, and needs. In secondary school administration, the ability of the main administrator, sometimes known as the principal, and his leadership style are critical to a school’s success in accomplishing its stated goals or objectives (Huber and West 1990). Effective leadership role provided by the principal will lead to the achievement of the school’s goals and objectives as affirmed in the adage which says “Get the right man in the leadership and your problem will be solved”.

Among other things, education is an instrument for attaining national development. All stakeholders in the educational sector have different roles to play in order to achieve the stated aims and objectives of the national policy. The administration of available resources is primarily the responsibility of school principals at the grassroots level, who must provide strong administrative skills that are closely tied to their leadership styles (Mbiti, 2007). Following a detailed examination of the setbacks faced in some secondary schools, pressure groups are pushing for successful leadership styles. Some administrators have clearly neglected to examine their leadership styles as predictors of pupils’ academic success levels. As a result, some principals appear to struggle to successfully manage their schools (Adeyemi 2004). As the manager or administrator of the resources in their schools, each school principle is in a unique situation. The school administrator is the school’s leader, both for the staff and the pupils. He is expected to be informed about administration and nature (Adeyemi 2004). He must be able to deal with challenging concerns or problems at various periods in life. Leadership is concerned with human experience and energy in a structured organization, and the idea is equally critical to administration (Asunda, R. 1983). The principal’s leadership style is evident in his abilities, which establishes him as a group leader. Many people believe that even if there is an educational plan, solid school programming, appropriate staff, and facilities, what is more necessary is good administrative leadership to coordinate all of this for the school’s advancement and success. Even the strongest educational programs, the most ample resources, and the most motivated staff and pupils will be rendered ineffective if the principal’s leadership style is unsuccessful. As a result, the significance of a good leadership style at a school cannot be overstated.

Students are not immune from the blame, as the majority of them are not prepared to confront their academics as required. The amount of productivity among pupils in school impacts how the principal’s administrative job and leadership style are assessed (Nwadian 1998). The ability to manage effectively, coordinate a complex issue, and show concern for students’ performance is essential for an effective leader. As a result, one of the principal’s administrative functions is to encourage students and use his leadership style to manage all activities so that they contribute willingly to students’ performance (Nwadian 1998). It is critical to recognize that the quality of a secondary school’s principal’s leadership style impacts how well students do. They are also required to be dedicated to making the teaching process easier. The type of leadership style used in the school will motivate students to attain their goals. According to Hallinger (2005), people believe that the efficiency with which any educational organization can be conducted is heavily reliant on an effective leadership style, both personally and collectively. As a result, the primary concern of this study is students’ performance  as a result of the principal’s leadership style.

Moreover, it would be erroneous to conclude that all school principals in Nigeria have failed to acknowledge the significance of good human relations. It is evident that the leadership approach varies from one principal to the other as a result of the prevailing situation. “What can be said to be true about one situational environment may not be true about another. What may be a wise action in one situation may be unwise in another. The understanding of the existence of a great variety of patterns, conditions and responses is the beginning of the wisdom of approaching the problem of leadership style.

1.2 Statement Of The Problem

The relationship between principals’ leadership style and students’ performance has been a subject of controversy among many researchers. The controversy was centered on whether or not the style of leadership of principals influences the level of performance among students. Common observation in the school system shows that the style of leadership of a principal could perhaps have a serious impact on students’ performance (Huber and West 1990). Fundamentally less has been targeted to the relationship between principal leadership style and academic performance of students. hence, there is a need to explore the perceptions of principals’ about their own leadership styles towards its effect on students’ academic performance. And also, the perceptions of teachers’ about their principals’ leadership styles and their effect on students’ performance are necessary to be investigated (Hallinger, P. 2005). The quantitative design study explores and describes the leadership styles and types of principals by interviewing the principals and students in Government secondary schools. Therefore, against this background that the researcher intends to examine the different leadership styles and types exhibited by principals, their effects on the students’ academic performance with an aim to suggest a model that will at least maintain or enhance students’ academic performance in Rivers State.

1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The objectives of this study include the following:-

1. To find out the most commonly used leadership style among principals in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

2. To identify if principal leadership style has impact on students’ academic performance.

3. To make possible recommendation on the best leadership style Principals should adopt to enhance performance of students

1.4 Research Questions

1.     What is the commonly used leadership style among principals in Port Harcourt, Rivers State?

2.     Does principal leadership style have any impact on students’ academic performance.

3.     What is the best leadership style Principals should adopt to enhance performance of students?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study is significant because the principal function that leads to students’ academic performance could be more appreciated. It could also help the ministry of education to appreciate the extent of the school principals’ appropriateness. It could go a long way to assisting in timely decision making concerning the schools and the principals by the ministry of education and the other stakeholders. This study will be of great importance in diverse ways. This research on principal’s leadership styles that relates to the students’ academic performance will help the society in an insight of a unique model for leadership and that in turn boost the students’ academic performance. The model proposed in the research will, hopefully, facilitate and simplify the practitioner’s implementation process for the leadership not only in schools but also in the industry. The research findings will also help to enlighten and provide insights into quality leadership styles and types. As such, it is expected to benefit both researchers and practitioners.

Furthermore, this study would be of great importance to the research community and will help some principals who for one reason or the other have not been effective in carrying out their responsibilities, and work with more effectiveness and efficiency using appropriate leadership style to improve students performances that in turn lead to the academic achievement of the students.

1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study is focused on examining the impact of principals’ leadership styles on students’ academic performance, under which the most commonly used leadership style among principals in Port Harcourt, Rivers State will be identified. The relationship between the principal’s leadership style and students’ academic performance will be examined, as well as the differences in students’ performance under principals using an autocratic leadership style and those using a democratic leadership style. Therefore this study will be delimited to Government secondary schools in Port-Harcourt Rivers State.

1.7 Limitation Of The Study

During this research exercise, the researcher encountered some constrain which among them include;

a) Availability Of Research Material: The research material available to the researcher were insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) Time: The time frame allocated to the study did not permit wider coverage as the researcher had to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance: The finance available for the research work did not allow for wider coverage as resources were very limited and the researchers had other academic bills to cover.

1.8 Definition Of The Terms

Principal: The principal is the chief or head or director of the school. He is the overall person in charge (boss) in the school setting.

Leadership Style: The leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people. These are the methods used by secondary school principals to manage subordinates in order to achieve their goals or targets, and they can be seen/observed in action.

Student: A student is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution.

Academic Performance: Academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has achieved their short or long-term educational goals. Cumulative GPA and completion of educational degrees.

Secondary School: Secondary school is the next step up from primary school.

Impact: the strong effect or influence that something has on a situation or person.


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