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Needs & Barriers In Inclusive Leadership In Primary Schools: An Experience From The Field

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A key concern today is the question about the Inclusive leadership in our nation’s primary schools as it increasingly relies on diverse learners, multidisciplinary teachers, and a community of different cultural heritage, and teachers. But simply throwing a mix of key elements of good schools together doesn’t guarantee qualitative cum productive performance of schools for society as well as country; it requires inclusive leadership — leadership that assures that all members feel they are treated respectfully and fairly, are valued and sense that they belong, and are confident and inspired.

In this study, an investigation was conducted for the needs and barriers of Inclusive leadership in primary schools. This study determined that why we need Inclusive leadership in primary schools? and what are the key barriers to instrument these approaches in schools? An interpretive approach to a case study was in place, where experience has been gathered from an experienced head of schools. Apart from this exercise, some primary schools have been visited to get hand-on experiences regarding the requirement of Inclusive leadership and to validate the field experience for its barriers.

This case study considered advocacy exercises for the establishment of Inclusive leadership in primary schools of India. This study found that the establishment of Inclusive leadership in primary schools may play a vital role in quality education for learners and make a school democratic in manner.

To conclude, this study sought the needs and barriers to inclusive leadership that influence the school environment in becoming a democratic school. Finally, this study proposes that Inclusive leadership ought to be in place in primary school to help the learner in many aspects of their future life as a responsible citizen of the country.


The emergence of democratic schools and the dominance of inclusive leadership and are the most significant developments of the 21st century in democratic countries of this world. The new role that inclusive leadership might play, the new gates it might open and the unknown world it might bring to light are the wombs of the future for democratic primary schools.

Inclusive leadership in primary schools eradicates negativism and develops a positive attitude in thoughts, words, and deeds for students as well as teachers too. It develops self-esteem, respect for others, the strength of character, moral and human values. It helps us in contributing skills and energy towards creating a better society and builds a good personality.

Inclusive leadership in primary schools teaches the art of leading successful leadership and transforms value-based behavior among learners. It encourages creativity and positivity, the culture of sharing, collaboration for professional development, humility and visible commitment for schools.

Inclusive leadership in primary school can be utilized in several ways to bring academic excellence. Some of an important way maybe –

  • To motivate Teachers: – Whether your goal is to establish a good school, retain good teachers in school, bring learning environment in class or learn a new language, lessons from Inclusive leadership offer tips for getting motivated for teachers.
  • Improvement in social leadership skills among students: – It doesn’t matter if you’re a teacher, students, an activist, an office manager or a volunteer at a local youth group, having good social leadership skills will probably be essential at some point in your life. Not everyone is a born leader, but a few positive attitudes can help to improve social leadership and it may come from Inclusive leadership.
  • Learn better to understand diverse community: – Much like nonverbal communication, the ability to understand own emotions and the emotions of those around us play an important role in your relationships and professional life. Inclusive leadership may help a lot in this domain.

Literature Review

Numerous academic disciplines are interested in leadership studies as it is a critical underlying factor in achieving the goals and objectives of the democratic school. However, findings from an uncountable number of leadership-based research suggest an overt emphasis on leader behaviors much more than the effects of leader behaviors on their subordinates (Hollander, Park, Boyd, Elman, & Ignani, 2008). This supports the position of Burns (1978) who noted that leadership behaviors vis-à-vis the attendant characteristics should not be separated from the needs and goals of their follows. It is therefore important to take a close look at a leadership style in primary schools that is more focused on needs and in developing future leaders for society as well country too. Also, in the ever-changing school environment, calls for the type of leadership that can adjust, adapt, be flexible and see things from all-inclusive perspectives have become critical. This is so because organizations’ key success factors are not dependent on their practices and procedures, but by leaders who display characteristics of inclusion (Janakiraman, 2011).

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In development theory and attendant studies, the concept of inclusiveness is used to espouse the need to actively involve the poor and less privileged in developmental decision-making, implementation and execution processes (Wuffli, 2016). Specifically, inclusive leadership is used to depict leaders who encourage and value contributions from others, thereby shaping the belief system of their subordinates that they are genuinely appreciated (Nembhard & Edmundson, 2006). Inclusive leadership ascribes so much emphasis on ‘doing things with people, and not to people’ (Hollander et al., 2008). In essence, Carmeli, Reiter-Palmon & Ziv (2010) succinctly summarized inclusive leadership as a leadership style where leaders exhibit openness, accessibility, and availability in the course of interacting with their followers. Suffice to say that given the characteristics of the inclusive leadership style, subordinates are usually encouraged to speak up about situations in the workplace (Bowers, Robertson, & Parchman, 2012), knowing that their leaders are open to their suggestions, are accessible to discuss issues, and are readily available to work with them in achieving organizational goals and objectives. Interestingly, it is critical to note that some studies have examined how inclusive leadership

can exert organizational outcomes. These studies were done in educational (Ryan, 2006; Garrison-Wade, Sobel, & Fulmer, 2007; Rayner, 2009; Fierke, Lui, Lepp, & Baldwin, 2014) and religious (Echols, 2009) settings. Though very few studies have been done to find the needs and barriers regarding the Inclusive leadership in primary schools therefore it caught my attention to understand and connect these themes with field experiences.

Needs and barriers

Inclusive leadership seeks as a leadership style as exhibit openness, accessibility and availability in the course of interacting with their followers, encouraged to speak up about situations in the workplace, accessible to discuss issues, and readily available to work with the team to achieve organizational goals and objectives.

The leadership style is intended to complement, not to replace traditional leadership. It does not seek to deny the importance of studying how things go wrong, but rather to emphasize the importance of using the scientific method to determine how things go right. In primary school, inclusive leadership can be both an applied and a theoretical subject, it can be utilized in several ways in schools like value integration, bringing harmony among students as well as teachers and promote learning in class, etc.


In primary school, inclusive leadership may teach the art of leading a successful professional life and transforms valued behavior among students. It brings about harmony and national integration. It encourages creativity and positivity in a school environment, creating a culture of accumulation, possessiveness, selfishness, and greed. These ultimately stifle the inherent qualities of an inclusive leader that may promote collaborative learnings in primary school.

  • To Develop the Spirit of Leadership: In a democratic school, we need in all the sphere of school life such a member (Teachers and Students) who may have a sense of duty and an ability to make decisions. In the system of inclusive leadership, each member of the school is allowed to work and through practice, the capacity of leadership is also created in them.
  • Spirit of Co-operation: Practice of inclusive leadership in school may develop the spirit of cooperation among teachers as well as students. It will help them as a good citizen as well as a good society member for society or country.
  • Strengthening of Ties between Students and Teachers: Through inclusive leadership the teacher simply gives instructions and the students help in all the work. Hence, the students and the teachers become fully acquainted with the personality of each other. Here, Students may get an opportunity to inculcate in them the feeling of healthy relations between the teachers and the students.
  • Sense of Responsibility towards Government: Inclusive leadership develops in the child and teachers a spirit of self-control. By working freely, they may realize his responsibility. They may understand the scope of their rights and duties. Hence, they also may come to realize their responsibility towards the government and their system, that is the crying need of an hour.
  • Visible commitment for an ideal school: Inclusive leader articulates an authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold others accountable and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority.
  • Humility at the workplace: As Inclusive leaders are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute. They show awareness of personal blind spots as well as flaws in the system and work hard to ensure meritocracy. They demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others, listen without judgment, and seek with empathy to understand those around them. All these characteristics of an inclusive leader may help to stop humility at schools.

The above-given needs may be some important need behind the advocacy of inclusive leadership in primary schools.


During the listening, the experiences of experienced teachers in the field felt that there are some barriers to implement this inclusive leadership concept in primary schools. Some of the key barriers are hereunder –

  • No Specific policy for school head: During the field visit, it has been observed that there is no specific policy has been planned for school leadership. Without a proper policy and its efficient implementation mechanism, it will not be possible to implement inclusive leadership in primary schools.
  • Too much vacant post of Head Teachers: To implement inclusive leadership in schools, it needs full-fledged Head Teachers. In filed ground realities is that there are too many vacant posts are there for Head Teachers, without a visionary HT it would be difficult to implement such concept in schools.
  • Lack of enough staff in primary schools: Inclusive leadership may implement only if schools have enough staff. Nowadays due to some policies like RTE, there are some vacant positions in primary school due to the student-teacher ratio and some other factors. In such a situation this concept may not be positioned in primary school.
  • No reading culture in school: Reading culture may help to bring new and innovative practice inside the school. Most of the schools have no library and no enough books in the same. So, therefore, reading culture is missing and this practice creating the hurdle to bring such concepts in primary schools.
  • Lack of coordination among staff: Lack of coordination may be a reason being the successful implementation of inclusive leadership in schools. In most of the primary schools, there are very few staffs are there and there is a lack of coordination among them.
  • Overloaded Teachers in Schools: During field visits is has been found that teachers are overloaded with departmental work. These works affect their work pretty much during school time. Most of the time they make the DAK for their officials for different purposes. These practices hamper the spirits of reading among them and they become tired after school.

So, Inclusive leadership may teach the art of leading a successful professional life and transforms valued behavior among students and teachers too. It may bring about harmony and national integration. It may encourage creativity and positivity in a school environment, creating a culture of accumulation, possessiveness, selfishness, and greed. ·

Therefore, Inclusive leadership in primary school is a relatively nascent field to develop the mindset for national integration through good schooling. Its emphasis on what goes right with quality education and explores the factors that make the life of students and teachers worth living, such as happiness, leadership, positive emotions, positive character strengths, and positive institutions. Hence, Inclusive leadership has a vital role in national integration and it may create good citizens for a progressive country.


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