Manaakitanga: Leading with moral purpose

Having a sense of moral purpose and a commitment to improved learning and social outcomes is not just about supporting and guiding students, it also involves a commitment to the professional growth and support of other school leaders and teachers.

Effective principals have a central belief system that is focussed on student learning and well-being. They set clear goals, and pursue them to ensure success for all. They focus on closing the gaps between the highest and lowest-achieving students in order to raise learning standards and outcomes for all. They create schools that welcome and include all members of the community.

Principals who were consulted in preparing this paper talked about their moral commitment to helping students achieve academic and personal fulfilment and make a contribution to the life of the school, the community, and beyond. They emphasised the importance of relationships built on trust, respect, and openness. In schools where there is trust and a strong sense of purpose, areas of conflict can be identified, worked on, and resolved. To do this effectively principals need to learn how to deal with ethical dilemmas, and how to progress complex issues when they arise.

Having a sense of moral purpose and a commitment to improved learning and social outcomes is not just about supporting and guiding students, it also involves a commitment to the professional growth and support of other school leaders and teachers. Effective school principals are committed to creating and encouraging trusting relationships built on mutual dialogue and respect.

From Kiwi Leadership for Principals – Qualities

Related links

Leadership roles

Whenu - key roles of leadership in Tū Rangatira (English)

Ngā whenu – ngā tūranga mātāmua o te kaitātaki in Tū Rangatira (Māori)

New Zealand stories

Hurae White  – Distributed leadership and manaakitanga

Mangere Central School – Leading learning

Articles

Moral purpose and shared leadership

This conference paper explores the role of shared moral purpose and shared leadership in achieving change.

Australian Council of Educational Research, 2007

Videos

Raising aspirations and moral purpose

Marie Clarie Bretherton, Mount Street Academy Executive Headteacher

QELi TV. (2016)

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