This study identifies the preferred leadership styles of students enrolled in principal preparation programs and compares the styles identified by traditional public school teachers and charter school teachers who seek principal certification. Participative leadership and Goal Oriented leadership were identified as the predominant styles. Seventy-five per cent of teachers of traditional public schools identified one of these styles and 81% of teachers from charter schools identified one of these styles indicating both groups have similar preferred styles. Surprisingly, few of the participants in either group of the study were aligned with Visionary Leadership or Change Leadership. Although people have a preferred leadership style based on personality traits, it is possible to learn the skills needed for other leadership styles. The results of this study indicate emphasis should be placed on developing visionary leadership skills and change leadership skills. Hoyle (2007) emphasized the importance of understanding why some of our educational leadership program graduates fail to be successful in the field. While it is important to realize that school leaders must have good managerial skills as well as good leadership skills this research indicates students come to leadership preparation programs with a predisposition to learn management skills. Based on this research, it may be that educational leadership programs are not recognizing the need to provide specific learning approaches that lead to the development of transformational leaders


This article is originally published in the Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences


Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences

Date of publication




Persistent identifier


Document Type


Publisher Citation

Gill, P., Linn, G.B. & Sherman, R. (2012). Personality, preferred leadership style and principal preparation. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences,3(10), 83-91.