Investigating Leadership Styles, Personality Preferences, and Effective Teacher Consultation

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  • This article was downloaded by: [The University of Manchester Library]On: 01 November 2014, At: 17:51Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954Registered office: Mortimer House, 37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T3JH, UK

    Journal of Educational andPsychological ConsultationPublication details, including instructions forauthors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/hepc20

    Investigating LeadershipStyles, PersonalityPreferences, and EffectiveTeacher ConsultationMary Savelsbergh & Bonnie StaeblerPublished online: 08 Jun 2010.

    To cite this article: Mary Savelsbergh & Bonnie Staebler (1995) InvestigatingLeadership Styles, Personality Preferences, and Effective Teacher Consultation,Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 6:3, 277-286, DOI: 10.1207/s1532768xjepc0603_7

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  • JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL CONSULTATION, 6(3), 277-286 Copyright o 1995, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

    Investigating Leadership Styles, Personality Preferences, and Effective

    Teacher Consultation

    Mary Savelsbergh Department of Professional Studies in Education

    California State University, Chico

    Bonnie Staebler Division of Special Education Western Oregon State College

    We examined the relations among leadership styles (telling, selling, participating, and delegating), personality preferences (extravert- introvert, sensing-intuitive, feeling-thinking, and judging-perceiving), and effectiveness as a consultant teacher. The sample consisted of 31 consultant teachers. Three instruments were administered: The LEAD-Self (Hersey & Blanchard, 1973), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Briggs Myers, 1976), and the Survey of Effectiveness of Collaborative Consultants (West & Cannon, 1987). The raw scores indicated that selling and participating were the two leadership styles most often used by the consultant teachers. No significant relations were found between the consultant teachers' effectiveness scores and any of the leadership styles. The significant relation found was between personality index preference and effectiveness in consulting. Sensing was a significant variable when effectiveness was considered. Together, the extravert and the sensing scores were good predictors of effectiveness.

    Over the past 10 years, use of the consultant model as a service delivery option for students with mild disabilities has increased (Conoley & Conoley, 1982; Ysseldyke et al., 1984). This emphasis is based on the belief that consultation is beneficial to students with mild disabilities and

    Requests for reprints should be sent to Mary Savelsbergh, Department of Professional Studies in Education, California State University, Chico, Chico, CA 95929-0465.

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  • 278 SAVELSBERGH AND STAEBLER

    to their teachers. Indeed, several studies have shown that students benefit academically when their teachers share ideas and collaborate on activities (Little, 1982; Tye & Tye, 1984). Other studies have shown that underachieving students benefit most when lessons are closely coordi- nated by remedial and regular educators (Allington & Johnston, 1984; Johnston, Allington, & Afflerbach, 1985; Leinhardt & Pallay, 1982). More than a dozen models of consultation between special and regular educators have been discussed (West & Idol, 1987).

    The increased use of consultants evokes many questions about the efficacy of individuals performing the role. Friend and Cook (1992) suggested the need for research that examines the efficiency and effectiveness of training practices for special education teacher consult- ants. West and Idol (1987) pointed out that investigations to determine the knowledge, skills, attitude, and personality characteristics of suc- cessful versus unsuccessful educational consultants were needed. A Delphi panel of acknowledged experts in consultation added knowledge of leadership style to the list of necessary competencies for consultants (West & Cannon, 1987). Yet, very little research has been focused on the personalities or leadership styles of effective consultants. To address these issues, we examined the relations between (a) style of leadership and consultant effectiveness and (b) personality mode and consultant effectiveness.

    Specifically, we examined the relations among consultant teacher effectiveness, leadership styles (telling, selling, participating, and dele- gating), and personality preferences (extravert-introvert, sensing- intuitive, feeling-thinking, and judging-perceiving). The questions posed were: Is there a relation between leadership style and effective consultation, and is there a relation between personality preference and effective consultation?

    METHOD

    Subjects

    The sample consisted of 31 school personnel who worked as teacher consultants. Each consulted as part of his or her job or worked as a full-time educational consultant. Three had a regular classroom teaching background, 6 had a counseling background, 17 had both regular education and special education backgrounds, 20 worked in a large metropolitan school district, 5 worked in a suburban school district, and 6 worked at a county education service district. They were chosen by their building administrators prior to receiving training as consultants.

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  • EFFECTIVE CONSULTANTS 279

    The consultants averaged 9 years of teaching experience and 2 years of consulting experience. Five were men, and 26 were women. All pro- vided consultation for students with mild disabilities. District adminis- trators selected them to receive training in collaborative consultation in a series of six full-day workshops.

    Instruments

    Three instruments were used to measure relations among leadership styles, personality types, and effective consultation. The instruments were (a) the LEAD-Self Leadership Inventory (LEAD-Self; Hersey & Blanchard, 1973), (b) the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI; Briggs Myers, 1976), and (c) a survey of effectiveness of collaborative consult- ants (SECC) adapted from the Essential Collaborative Consultation Competence for Regular and Special Educators (West & Cannon, 1987).

    The LEAD-Self measures behaviors expected of consultants. It as- rsesses how often a consultant selects telling, selling, participating, or (delegating behaviors when these options are provided. The role of the consultant demands the ability to tell people information, sell ideas to others, participate in teams, and delegate authority.

    The LEAD-Self is a self-perception questionnaire that presents 12 'leadership situations and describes a leader's style in terms of telling, selling, participating, or delegating. Respondents answer multiple- (choice questions that describe actions that they would take in particular situations. The LEAD-Self has been judged to be an empirically sound instrument (Greene, 1980). Reliability and validity were reported to be moderately strong.

    The MBTI is widely accepted in education and has a strong empirical base. It measures personality types according to Jung's theory of types (Myers & Myers, 1983). Jung's theory is concerned with perception (information gathering) and judgment (decision making) behavior. The four personality index preferences, referred to as modes, are extravert-introvert (EI), sensing-intuition (SN), thinking-feeling (TF), and judging-perceiving (JP). The modes represent opposite ends of personality continua. For example, the extravert prefers the world of people, is outgoing, and is interested in many topics. The introvert prefers the inner world of ideas, is introspective, and is interested in fewer topics but at a greater depth. The sensing person bases decisions ion facts, whereas the intuitive person values personal hunches. The khinking person bases decisions on logic, whereas the feeling person bases decisions on feelings. The judging person makes plans and is organized when approaching problems. The perceiving person is more Likely to be spontaneous and creative. After taking the MBTI, the test

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  • 280 SAVELSBERGH AND STAEBLER

    taker is categorized by type (e.g., "sensor"), and the higher the scale scores, the greater the degree to which the consultant reflected that type. One may hypothesize that these differences in approach greatly impacted the process of consultation.

    The SECC is based on the research of West and Cannon (1987). It was designed specifically for this study and reflects those behaviors associ- ated with consultant effectiveness. The SECC consists of 10 items compiled to measure the effectiveness of consultants. It uses a Likert- type scale that ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 indicating a poor consultant performance, 2 a fair performance, 3 an average performance, 4 an above-average performance, and 5 an outstanding performance. The SECC was completed by each consultant's supervisor. Because a rating of 4 on the SECC indicated above-average performance and because there were 10 items, a score of 40 or higher indicated that the supervisor considered the consultant effective.

    The SECC is based on West and Cannon's (1987) Delphi study. On the consensus of 100 experts in the field of special education, school psychology, counseling, and organizational development, West and Cannon identified 47 consultant teacher competencies considered essen- tial to effective consultation. Because a survey of 47 competencies was considered too large to administer, an adapted form was developed. The 47 competencies were ranked, and the top 10 were selected for the SECC. The cutoff score for selection was a rating of 3.9 on the original scale of 1 to 4. The competencies selected clustered in three categories: interactive communication, collaborative problem solving, and personal characteristics. West and Cannon granted permission for the adapta- tion. A Spearman-Brown analysis reliability coefficient of .97 was obtained. Item validity was established by West and Cannon.

    Design

    We addressed two questions: Were there sigruficant relations between the four leadership styles from the LEAD-Self and the consultant teachers' effectiveness ratings, and were there significant relations between the four personality-index preferences of the MBTI and con- sultant teacher effectiveness? A simple linear regression was used to address the first question. The leadership score was the independent variable and the consultant teachers' effectiveness score was the depen- dent variable. To address the second question, a simple linear regression and a stepwise regression were used. The independent variables were the four personality-index preferences, and the dependent variable was the consultant teachers' effectiveness score.

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  • EFFECTIVE CONSULTANTS 281

    Procedure

    At the initiation of the study, the participating consultants attended monthly training sessions conducted by two special education profes- sors from a nearby college. Thus, they were trained in the same consultation model by the same trainers.

    The model taught was the collaborative-consultation model. In this model, people work together to solve problems and to enhance educa- tional outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The process involves equal relationships and the sharing of ideas, responsibilities, and resources. It requires teamwork, group decision making, and empow- ered participants. Those closest to enacting the decisions must be those most involved in making the decisions.

    Data were collected after the completion of training and the delivery of consultant services for 1 or more years. Before training began, participating consultant teachers completed the LEAD-Self and the MBTI. At the end of the school year, the consultants' supervisors rated the consultant teachers' effectiveness on the SECC. The supervisors regularly observed the consultants as they worked with teachers. The supervisors participated in the same training and were also certified by the state as supervisors.

    Training consisted of six full-day sessions, one per month. Training was designed and delivered by the two college professors, Drs. Bonnie Staebler and Bonnie Young. Session 1 was devoted to an overview of the model, the relationship between the consultee and the consultant, the research basis of the model, the major principles of adult learning theory, and the importance of leadership style to effective outcomes. Session 2 hiwghted the change process and the communication process that affects site-based consultation. The Concerns Based Adoption Model (Hall, 1978) was used to identlfy concerns of the consultee. Communi- cation strategies that best met the needs of the consultee were then proposed. Session 3 emphasized problem-solving approaches. Vignettes were designed, and participants identified concerns, communication styles, and the actions best designed to enhance position outcomes. Session 4 focused on team processes. Activities were presented that...

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