1.1 Background of the study
Leadership is a complex task and requires knowledge, experience and good skills. There is no generic definition of school principal but it concerns practices and operations of educational management. The field of educational management relates varying approaches and established disciplines including economics, general management, psychology, sociology and political science. The national policy on education set up certain aims and objectives which were to facilitate educational development in the country. In fostering these aims and objectives, the school principal has important roles to play. Among these roles include providing effective leadership in secondary schools, thereby enhancing better job performance among teachers. How effective the principals are performing these roles has been a matter of concern to many educationists (Ozuruoke, Ordu, & 2 Abdulkarim, 2011). It is, therefore, not surprising that there is pressure mounted on effective leadership among principals of secondary schools in Nigeria (Ozuruoke et al., 2011). It seems however that many principals have not considered their styles and types of leadership as determinants of teachers’ job performance in their schools (Ozuruoke et al., 2011). Hence, they further pointed out that some of principals seem to find it difficult to effectively administer their schools. As such, leadership styles and types occupy an important position in school management in Nigeria, which was supported by Blanchard (1997) who found that the higher the situational control, the more effective a principal. The administrators provided the formal leadership and their behaviour, determined the extent to which both teachers’ and students’ view the school as a desirable place for teaching and learning. Ibukun (2008) had observed that secondary schools have derailed in the provision of qualitative education expected of them by achieving higher students’ academic achievement. Ibukun (2008) further explained that, a lot of problems seem to bedevil the system, thereby making it ineffective through experiencing low students’ academic achievement; hence School need to be provided with good leadership styles and types in order to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people by achieving higher students’ academic achievement. The principals’ leadership styles and types in secondary schools involves the application of management principles (leadership styles and types) towards achieving educational goals. Today, the demand for higher students’ academic achievment in schools is rapidly taking centre stage more than ever the world over (Okumber, 1999). It is in the school that educational objectives will be achieved (Orora, 1997). To achieve these objectives, school principals should apply appropriate managerial skills (leadership styles and types). Nigerian employees are said to have a poor attitude to work, resulting in low level productivity (in the case of school system, lower students’ academic achievment), and the Nigerian educational sector appears to be one of the hardest hit in this poor attitude to work (Umeh, 1997). That is why in recent years, secondary education has come under mounting criticisms from parents, opinion leaders, politicians, academia and other well- meaning people (Adu, Oshati, & Ifeoma, 2012).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Fundamentally less has been targeted to the relationship between principal leadership behaviour and academic achievement of students. Moreover, dire need is to explore the perceptions of principals’ about their own leadership behaviour towards its effect on students’ academic achievement. Accordingly the perceptions of teachers’ about their principals’ leadership behaviour and its effect on students’ achievement is necessary to be investigated. So there is a great mass failure in WASCE/NECO that leads to under students’ academic achievement scores in Nigeria. There is a need to evaluate, explore, understand, and describe the principals’ leadership variables on the school performance and students’ academic achievement. The quantitative design study explores and describes the leadership styles and types of principals by interviewing the principals and teachers in Nigerian secondary schools.