Instructional Leadership Theory

How often have you heard someone say that it is important for a leader to “walk their talk?” The ability to do what you say you can do is at the core of the instructional leadership theory that we see today. If you want change to happen, then you need to be the force for change so that it can occur. You need to set the example for everyone to follow. In doing so, you’ll be laying down a set of instructions that can be followed so that others can find success as well.

Instructional Leadership Isn’t Just In the Classroom

The classic example of the instructional leadership theory is a classroom setting. A new employee orientation class allows an organization to provide instructional leadership. The same is true for a high school classroom. Whenever there is a task that needs to be completed, the instructional leader will be standing by, reading to provide specific instructions and learning opportunities that will build up everyone involved.

In order to be successful with this theory of leadership, certain key elements must be present in some form at all times.

1. Prioritization.
There must be a schedule of learning and teaching that must be followed at all times. Leaders will be able to balance how to manage the approach to the overall vision through the completion of daily and sometimes mundane tasks. Through prioritized instruction, a leader can develop specific skill sets that are tailored to specific needs.

2. Reading Research.
People learn new skills in specific ways. Some might say that you “can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but that isn’t true. By following an order of implementation with a selection of specifically tailored training opportunities, even the most resistant worker will see positive benefits in the instructions that are being received.

3. Alignment.
Without alignment of instructions, people will be moving in different directions toward the same vision. Results can be achieved without alignment, but they won’t be consistent results. A leader will remove the disconnect that may be present and this theory of leadership will create high standards.

Most importantly, there must be a culture of continual learning for the instructional leadership theory to find success. As soon as someone feels like they have reached the pinnacle of their skills, they won’t be influenced by this theory of leadership any more.

What Are the Expectations?

The biggest downfall of leaders who are using this theory of leadership is that they have unreasonable expectations of those involved. A brand new employee isn’t going to be able to do every element of their job on their own on Day 1. On the other hand, an employee that isn’t held to a high standard will only meet the lower standards that have been set for them. Reasonable expectations and accountability are necessary for success.

The influential leadership theory offers an explanation as to why some leaders are able to succeed more often. It isn’t because they are lucky or highly experienced. It is because they know how to properly influence a situation to their advantage so that everyone can succeed instead of a few.

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