Leadership Development in Career and Technical
Education. ERIC Digest.
by Wonacott, Michael E.
Leadership development is an important and long-standing concern in
many fields; career and technical education (CTE) is no exception. Concerns
about leadership development in CTE today arise from two factors: not only
are large numbers of experienced leaders retiring but also the demands
placed on CTE leaders are different from those of the past. This Digest
reviews the literature on leadership development in CTE and in other areas
to describe how leadership development in CTE is evolving to prepare leaders
for the future.
TRADITIONAL CTE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
CTE's focus on leadership development has traditionally started in secondary
programs, where leadership skills are advocated as one part of total student
development (Cahill and Brady 1999). Vocational students organizations
(VSOs) are a familiar means of providing leadership experiences to students,
both inside and beyond the classroom; the 10 VSOs recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education served more than 1.5 million students in 1999 and
help draw many students to CTE programs (ibid.). Similarly, postsecondary
CTE programs continue a focus on developing students' potential, often
through postsecondary components of VSOs, as leaders in their chosen career
areas (Fitzhugh-Pemberton 1996; Litowitz 1995). Postsecondary CTE leadership
development has also provided formal credit courses or noncredit activities
for preservice or inservice CTE teachers or administrators, either on leadership
development per se or as part of administrator preparation (Bensen and
Paige 1996; Fritz and Brown 1998; Viegas et al. 1998), reflecting the prevailing
opinion that leadership, although a complex construct of characteristics
and behaviors, can be observed, learned, and taught.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT FOR THE FUTURE
For more than a decade, calls have been issued for the transformation
of CTE in light of changes in the nature of work, the ethnic/cultural composition
of the student body, and public demands on education. As a result, a new
model of transformational leadership is advocated to point CTE in new directions
and influence others to believe and follow, adjusting to change and shaping
the debate in education. The different demands placed on transformational
leaders are reflected in CTE leadership development programs and in recommendations
for their improvement. In addition, the different nature of transformational
leadership has led to a reexamination of leadership and gender in CTE.
In recent years, leadership development in general and in CTE specifically
has evolved away from a model of categorized task-oriented and human relations
behaviors toward a model of transformational leadership (Moss and Liang
1990)--"the process of perceiving when change is needed and influencing
the group by such non-coercive means as persuasion and example in its efforts
toward goal setting and goal achievement" (p. 5). In Bass's original transformational
leadership theory (Kuchinke 1999), four factors motivate employees to perform
beyond expectations by leaders who develop, intellectually stimulate, and
inspire them to work toward a collective purpose, mission, or vision. Charisma
earns leaders respect, trust, and confidence and transmits a strong sense
of mission and vision. Through intellectual stimulation, leaders actively
encourage employees to question the status quo and to examine critically
their own assumptions and beliefs and those of leaders and others. Leaders
show individual consideration in personalized attention to every employee's
needs, so that each feels valued; leaders treat employees differently but
equitably based on their needs. Finally, leaders' inspirational motivation
communicates a vision and the confident, optimistic, enthusiastic belief
that the vision is attainable.
Newer definitions of leadership for CTE reflect such a transformational
model. The National Center for Research in Vocational Education, for example,
conceptualized leadership development as "improving those attributes--characteristics,
knowledge, skills, and values--that predispose individuals to perceive
opportunities to behave as leaders, to grasp those opportunities, and to
succeed in influencing group behaviors in a wide variety of situations.
Success as a leader in vocational education is conceived primarily as facilitating
the group process and empowering group members" (Moss et al. 1994, p. 26).
Leadership Development Programs.
A review of 17 leadership development programs for vocational educators
(Moss et al. 1994) found high levels of participant satisfaction and positive
changes in two key leadership attributes: "adaptable, open to change" and
"visionary." Leadership attributes were more likely to improve when programs
were more structured and participant involvement was more active. Improving
leadership attributes depended on participants' readiness for change, which
could be improved by providing experiences for team building and for reflective,
goal-setting self-assessment. In programs for graduate students (compared
to those for inservice personnel), the number of leadership attributes
significantly increased was in direct proportion to the number of hours
of directly supervised instruction. There was no significant relationship
between cost per student and the number of leadership attributes that significantly
Five types of on-the-job experiences for developing leadership capabilities
were identified by successful CTE administrators as helpful to their development
as leaders (Lambrecht et al. 1997): new positions with new/increased responsibilities;
special start-up work assignments; handling personnel problems (e.g., conflicts,
firings); being mentored, counseled, and supported; and working with a
supervisor. Participants reported that those experiences helped develop
communication, team-building, interpersonal, and administrative/management
skills and helped increase their sensitivity, respect for others, self-confidence
and self-acceptance, and broader perspective about the organization. The
most effective on-the-job experiences included (1) a variety of challenging
situations, providing both the motivation and opportunity to learn and
apply new skills and knowledge, and (2) a supportive environment with supervisors
as positive role models and mentors as counselors.
Recommendations for improving leadership development efforts include
(Bensen and Paige 1996; Fritz and Brown 1998; Lambrecht et al. 1998; Moss
et al. 1994) careful course structure and direction by instructors and
participant input into planning the specifics of instruction( e.g., coverage
of individual leadership attributes). Participants should construct a cognitive
leadership model as a basis for activities; reflection and goal-setting
should follow self-assessment using a variety of instruments. Programs
should provide team-building and on-the job experiences and time for guided
practice in applying attributes to be changed and reflection on the experience.
Leadership development efforts should involve other academic areas (e.g.,
business management, psychology, sociology, and educational leadership)
in a multidisciplinary approach, and university faculty should have academic
grounding in scholarship and research in the behavioral foundations of
Leadership and Gender.
The relationship between leadership and gender in CTE has received renewed
attention in the evolution toward transformational leadership, which values
stereotypically female traits like communication, inclusion, and nurturing
(Thorp et al. 1998). In one study, Moss and Jensrud (1995) found that a
sample of female vocational administrators, department heads, and vocational
teacher leaders was rated slightly more effective as leaders than males
by subordinates and peers. There were no apparent gender biases in the
ratings; male and female instructors had the same concept of leadership.
On the other hand, Daughtry and Finch (1997) found no correlation between
gender of local vocational administrators and teachers' ratings of their
effectiveness. However, females rated themselves as more effective than
males, and females were rated higher (both by themselves and by teachers)
than males on four of five factors constituting transformational leadership.
Two interesting findings: female family and consumer sciences undergraduates
who used an experimental transformational leadership curriculum were more
likely to change career plans and seriously consider leadership positions
than female students using a traditional curriculum (Viegas et al. 1998);
female students enrolled in an all-female section of an agricultural education
leadership development course rated their own abilities to lead, work with
groups, make decisions, communicate, and understand themselves higher than
did women in a coeducational section (Thorp et al. 1998).
LESSONS FROM OTHER AREAS
Although CTE is in line with other fields in its evolution toward transformational
leadership, there are some approaches to leadership development in other
fields that could be productive in CTE as well. One emphasis in leadership
development for business has an intuitive appeal: the first step in developing
leaders is to define clearly and specifically the business result to be
achieved--e.g., produce measurable productivity gains among certain workers
or solve a given management problem (Zenger et al. 2000).
In other examples, community leadership programs are advocated not only
to develop leadership for the sake of the community but also to bring positive
and permanent change in leadership behavior in the workplace (Galloway
1997). An interdisciplinary, team-based approach to leadership development
is seen as invaluable in the promotion of common principles and core values
among actors from different fields who must cooperate and collaborate for
a common good (Flexer et al. 1997).
Some programs turn to the past for generalize lessons in leadership--to
fiction and nonfiction classics of Western literature to enhance practicality
with vision (Brunner 1999) or to the Christian Bible for values immutable
across time and cultures that can contribute to attainment of business
excellence (Dahlgaard et al. 1998). Reverse appraisal, in which employees
rate their manager's effectiveness, was found highly useful by a major
petrochemical company in developing managers' leadership skills (Taylor
and Morgan 1995). The centerpiece of a cooperative extension leadership
development program was a video-driven, competency-based, computer-stored
simulation to assess participants' proficiency in competencies, leadership
styles, and values/drives (Ladewig and Rohs 1999).
Changes in the environment in which CTE operates have led to a new model
of transformational leaders, empowering and engaging others as active participants
in the process of change; a transformational leader is the facilitator,
rather than the director, of change. CTE leadership development programs
and practices have mirrored the change to transformational leadership and
have reemphasized the potential of women as CTE leaders.
Bensen, T. M., and Paige, W. D. "Leadership Attributes Addressed in
Industrial Technology/Technology Education Doctoral Programs." JOURNAL
OF TECHNOLOGY STUDIES 22, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 1996): 15-27.
Brunner, R. S. "When Realtors Read Plato." ASSOCIATION MANAGEMENT 51,
no. 2 (February 1999): 28-35.
Cahill, J., and Brady K. "Sweetening the Deal." TECHNIQUES 74, no. 3
(March 1999): 26-28.
Dahlgaard, S. M. P.; Dahlgaard, J. J.; and Edgeman, R. L. "Core Values:
The Precondition for Business Excellence." TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT 9,
nos. 4-5 (July 1998): S51-S55.
Daughtry. L. H., and Finch, C. R. "Effective Leadership of Vocational
Administrators as a Function of Gender and Leadership Style." JOURNAL OF
VOCATIONAL EDUCATION RESEARCH 22, no. 3 (1997): 173-186.
Fitzhugh-Pemberton, G. "Why FBLA-PBL? The Importance of Student Organizations."
BUSINESS EDUCATION FORUM 51, no. 2 (December 1996): 19-21.
Flexer, R. W.; Baer, R. M.; Simmons, T. J.; and Shell, D. "Translating
Research, Innovation, and Policy into Practice: Interdisciplinary Transition
Leadership Training." CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUALS 20,
no. 1 (Spring 1997): 55-68.
Fritz, S. M., and Brown F. W. "Leadership Education Courses and Programs
in Departments of Agricultural Education." JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION
39, no. 3 (1998): 57-62.
Galloway, R. F. "Community Leadership Programs: New Implications for
Local Leadership Enhancement, Economic Development, and Benefits for Regional
Industries." ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REVIEW 15, no. 2 (Summer 1997): 6-9.
Kuchinke, K. P. "Workforce Education Faculty as Leaders: Do Graduate-Level
University Instructors Exhibit Transformational Leadership Behaviors?"
JOURNAL OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION RESEARCH 24, no. 4 (1999): 209-225.
Ladewig, H., and Rohs, F. R. "Southern Extension Leadership Development:
Leadership Development through a Virtual Organization." Paper presented
at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Leadership Educators, San Diego,
CA, July 10, 1999. (ED 440 462)
Lambrecht, J. J.; Hopkins, C. R.; Moss, Jerome, J., Jr.: and Finch,
C. R. IMPORTANCE OF ON-THE-JOB EXPERIENCES IN DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES.
Berkeley: National Center for Research in Vocational Education, University
of California, 1997. (ED 413 462)
Litowitz, L. S. "Technology Student Organizations: The Benefits." TECHNOLOGY
TEACHER 55, no. 1 (September 1995): 24-27.
Moss, J., Jr., and Jensrud, Q. "Gender, Leadership, and Vocational Education."
JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL TEACHER EDUCATION 33, no. 1 (Fall 1995): 6-23.
Moss, J., Jr., and Liang, T. LEADERSHIP, LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT, AND
THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR RESEARCH IN VOCATIONAL EDUCATION. Berkeley: National
Center for Research in Vocational Education, University of California,
1990. (ED 325 645)
Moss, J., Jr.; Leske, G. W.; Jensrud, Q.; and Berkas, T. H. "An Evaluation
of Seventeen Leadership Development Programs for Vocational Educators."
JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL TEACHER EDUCATION 32, no. 1 (Fall 1994): 26-48.
Taylor, G. L., and Morgan, M. N. "The Reverse Appraisal: A Tool for
Leadership Development." QUALITY PROGRESS 28, no. 12 (December 1995): 81-87.
Thorp, L.; Cummins, R.; and Townsend, C. "Women's Self-Perceived Leadership
Skills in a Collegiate Agricultural Education Course." JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL
EDUCATION 39, no. 1 (1998): 55-62.
Viegas, S.; Brun, J. K.; and Hausafus, C. O. "Leadership Development
in Family and Consumer Sciences College Graduates." JOURNAL OF FAMILY AND
CONSUMER SCIENCES 90, no. 3 (Fall 1998): 47-52.
Williamson, R. D., and Hudson, M B. "Democracy Is Hard Work: The Struggle
to Define One Leadership Preparation Program." Paper presented at the annual
meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans,
LA, April 24-28, 2000. (ED 443 327)
Zenger, J.; Ulrich, D.; and Smallwood, N. "The New Leadership Development."
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT 54, no. 3 (March 2000): 22-27.