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Relationship between Heads' Team Leadership Style and Teachers' Motivation

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The purpose of the study is to explore the relationship of the team leadership style of headteachers with the motivation of teachers in Government high schools of Punjab. Distributed leadership is a style in which the leadership responsibilities are shared with those who have related skills and expertise. The sequential explanatory mixed methods design was used in this study. The team leadership style of heads and motivation level of teachers was identified by a questionnaire. Five hundred and thirty-eight male teachers were selected from Government boys’ high schools of four districts of Punjab through a multi-stage proportionate sampling technique. The interview guide was developed to collect qualitative data from headteachers of the respective selected schools for a deep understanding of the situation. Both the questionnaire and interview guide were validated by the experts and pilot tested. Findings of the study displayed that the head was using team leadership style, the teachers especially those who are newly inducted, had a high level of motivation.


Key Words

Distributed Leadership, Team Leadership, Motivation, High School Teachers



In a global scenario, the distributed leadership works very effectively for schools’ improvement. Therefore, this concept is well known throughout the world for the participation of stakeholders in the teaching-learning process. The distributed leadership style has the potential to generate new knowledge about school leadership and management (Gronn, 2000; MacBeath et al., 2004; Spillane et al., 2001, 2004).

Distributed leadership style is used to frame studies for school leadership and management in different countries with different theoretical and methodological approaches (Camburn et al., 2003; Harris, 2005; Timperley, 2005). Studies have examined the relationship between distributed leadership, management and school outcomes in schools (Silins & Mulford, 2002).

The distributed leadership style is of different types like; Team leadership, leadership support and participation in decision-making. These can considerably strengthen teachers’ efficacy; leadership style can exert a positive effect on teachers, and teachers feel more potential to work for their schools. (Hulpia & Devos, 2009a; 2009b). In this study, the team leadership style of distributed leadership is discussed.

Shields (2010) said that educational leadership and education must be connected with the broader social setting where it is embedded. She contended her research that to make the learning environment more inclusive and social, the theory of transformative leadership can be used.  From the study of shields, this study tried to understand the impact of team leadership on teachers’ internal abilities; because teachers are the ones who participate in team leadership.  This association between heads and the teachers is very important to build the situation for better achievements of students in schools. The leadership role of teachers for the transformative environment in schools is vital to influence the learning of students.

This study tried to find out the relationship between the team leadership style of heads and the motivation of teachers. Extensive empirical studies present findings that related factors matter for teachers’ decisions about staying at and leaving schools. Teachers left the teaching profession when they are lacking support and are overcome by the duties they are supposed to do in schools (Owens, 2014). The distributed leadership had minimized these threats in the profession as displayed by different researches (Angelle & Hart, 2011; Spillane, 2006; & Woods, 2005). These studies indicated that through distributed leadership, teachers are provided with more control and authority in duties, especially in teaching and dealing with students (Angelle & Hart, 2011). In the Pakistani context, little research has been conducted to see the influence of distributive leadership, especially team leadership, on the motivation of teachers. Therefore a remarkable impact might be observed in the teaching profession through the relationship of team leadership and teacher’s motivation through this study.


Research Objectives

The objectives of the research were to:

1.        Explore the team leadership style of heads in high schools

2.        Explore the level of teachers’ motivation in high schools.

3.        Investigate the relationship between team leadership style of heads and teachers’ motivation in high schools.

4.        Explore the team leadership style of heads and its relationship with teachers’ motivation in the opinion of heads.


Research Questions

To fulfil the objectives of the study, the following research questions were developed regarding heads’ perceived team leadership style and its relationship with teachers’ motivation.

1.        To what extent head is using team leadership style in high schools?

2.        What is the level of motivation of teachers in high schools?

3.        Is there a relationship between the team leadership style of heads and teachers’ motivation?

4.        To what extent the team leadership style is related to teachers’ motivation in the opinion of heads?


Research Hypothesis

The null hypothesis of the study was;

H01: There is no significant relationship between the team leadership style of heads and                 teachers’ motivation


Delimitations and Limitations of the Study

The team leadership might affect other aspects of the teachers, but this study was delimited to the motivation of teachers for specific findings and results. The study was delimited to the government boys’ high schools because of ethical considerations in government girls’ high schools. Female headteachers of girls’ high schools do not allow males from outside to collect data from female teachers. Only four districts of Punjab were selected on the basis of performance for data collection.


Ethical Considerations

Ethical matters are needed to be treated carefully during research in education (Du, 2012) as these problems may take place at any step of the research studies (Strike, 2006; Cohen et al., 2007). Therefore, before collecting the data, formal consent and permission were taken from the concerned teachers and heads.


Methods and Procedures

Research Design

This study followed the pattern of interpretive approach using both the ground realities and the subjective meanings of the concepts and practices. This is an explanatory research design and sequential approach because qualitative data was collected after quantitative data. The qualitative analysis was used to elaborate and clarify quantitative findings (Creswell, 2006). Mixed-methods research fits the pragmatic idea because it makes practical use of both induction and deduction to attain understanding and explanation (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).


Sampling Technique

Government boys’ high schools and their teachers selected through proportionate stratified sampling from four selected districts (four strata) of Punjab, which were; Gujranwala (Among first nine with high performance), Lahore (at middle performance), Mandi Bahauddin (at middle performance) Sheikhupura (at low performance) at time of the study. Twenty percent of the government boys’ high schools and male teachers were selected from each stratum. The teachers were further selected through a proportionate sampling technique from the different categories of teachers (SSE, SESE, and ESE). The sample of the study consisted of 538 high school teachers from four districts. The headteachers were selected from each of the four districts for qualitative data through stratified sampling. The eight heads were selected for interview on the basis of data collected quantitatively for validation and a better understanding of the situation.



The instruments for data collection were a questionnaire on five points Likert scale for teachers and an interview guide for the headteachers. The questionnaire was developed with the help of distributed leadership inventory (Hulpia & Devos, 2009a; 2009b) in schools for team leadership and a Questionnaire Measure of Individual Differences in Achieving Tendency (QMAT) was developed by Wahab (2013) to measure the motivation level of teachers in schools.  The first section was related to team leadership, and the second section was related to the relationship of team leadership with motivation.


Validation of Instruments

The instruments were adapted and developed through validation and pilot testing. The experts were provided with the questionnaire and interview guide for validation, along with the objectives and research questions of the study. The researcher translated the questionnaire into Urdu before data collection. The questionnaire was piloted from 130 high school teachers. The semi-structured interview guide for headteachers was developed by the researcher after experts’ opinion. The interview guide was also piloted by the head teacher in the high school, who was not the part of the sample, to check the validity.


Data Collection

Data were collected from the male teachers of boys’ high schools in Punjab, Pakistan. The boys’ high schools from four districts (Lahore, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura and Mandi Bhauddin) were personally visited by the researcher and collected data from 538 male teachers. The research instruments which were used for data collection were a questionnaire for the teachers and an interview guide for the headteachers. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was applied, and for the questionnaire, the value was 0.93.


Table 1. Reliability Value


Cronbach's Alpha

N of Items




The privacy of the data was ensured. The covering letter included the brief purpose of the study and assurance of confidentiality of the responses. The researcher personally visited the schools to increase the response rate of teachers.

After the data collected from the questionnaire, the pandemic COVID-19 occurred throughout the world, and the lockdown situation has prevailed throughout our country also. Therefore, the researcher tried to approach the headteachers telephonically for an interview. Firstly consent was taken from the headteachers. Then they were introduced to the purpose of the study. The interview of almost 40 minutes was also recorded from each respondent.  They were informed about the recording of the interview. Eight interviews of the headteachers were conducted from the four districts for triangulation and validation of the data.


Data Analysis and Interpretation

The descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used for the analysis of the data and to find out relevant results.


Research Question 1

Which is the Team leadership style head using in high schools?

Findings of the study show that 28.4% of leadership team members were usually and 16.9% rarely clear about school goals.  24.7% of teachers usually and 20.4% rarely contact their colleagues for help when they had faced a problem in teaching. 23.6% of teachers said usually, and 23.0% rarely said duties were assigned to team members keeping in mind their competencies. 25.3% of teachers said rarely, and 23.8% usually said leadership team members were willing to implement their worthy ideas. 28.3% of teachers said usually, and 19.7% rarely said the leadership team was functioning well in our school. 38.5% of teachers said usually, and 20.8% rarely said all of our leadership team members were working according to the school objectives. As findings show, and mean score about the statement “Leadership team members are clear about school goals” (3.00) was higher, which indicates that the leadership team members were clear about the school goals. It is concluded that leadership team members of the school have a clear vision of the school at the high school level.         

Research Question 2

What is the level of motivation of the teachers in secondary schools?

The findings of the study show that 3.9% of teachers agreed, and 35.3% disagreed that they normally complete their assigned task within the given time. 11.5% of teachers agreed, and 33.5% disagreed that they were hopeful of completing their work successfully. 29.1% of teachers agreed, and 30.0% disagreed that they were not certain to make an important decision at work. The 3.0% of teachers agreed, and 59.1% disagreed that they were motivated to take responsibility. 29.2% of teachers agreed, and 21.0% disagreed that they get disturbed when they think about new work.  22.9% of teachers agreed, and 39.2% disagreed that they were unable to work properly when they were under pressure. 2.8% of teachers agreed, and 46.14% strongly disagreed that they had believed if they would work hard, they will achieve the goals of their life. 27.7% of teachers strongly agreed, and 31.5% strongly disagreed that they were reluctant to learn new skills.  The 10.2% of teachers strongly agreed, and 50.2% disagreed that they work hard according to the expectations of their head. 6.7% of teachers agreed, and 50.6% disagreed that they were keen to fix difficult goals for themselves.  The 4.1% of teachers agreed, and 48.9% disagreed that working in this school was highly encouraging for them. 11.9% of teachers agreed, and 53.3% disagreed that they focus on short term daily goals instead of long term goals. 8.4% of teachers agreed, and 25.3% disagreed that they welcome those opportunities which enable them to know about their weaknesses and strengths. 8.6% of teachers agreed, and 41.3% disagreed that they got satisfied when they work hard.  15.6% of teachers agreed, and 29.6% disagreed that they preferred the work that requires their own thinking. 2.8% of teachers agreed, and 45.7% strongly disagreed that they worked because this was their duty.  3.9% of teachers agreed, and 37.2% disagreed that a competitive environment encouraged them to do a good job. 7.6% of teachers agreed, and 45.5% disagreed that they kept on working on the task till it reached an excellent level. 14.7% of teachers agreed, and 32.9% disagreed that they always welcome challenging tasks. 15.4% of teachers agreed, and 30.1% disagreed that they always performed at the highest level of quality without considering that how the others do it. 22.5% of teachers strongly agreed, and 29.0% disagreed that they preferred easy tasks too tough ones. 

As findings show, and mean score about the statement “I keep on working on the task till it reaches an excellent level.” (4.32) were higher, which indicates that the teachers make efforts to work on the tasks excellently. It is concluded that the teachers were hardworking for the tasks they were allocated.


Null Hypothesis

H0: There is no significant relationship among team leadership style of heads and Teachers’

Results showed a correlation between the heads’ team leadership style and the motivation of the teachers at the high school level. This was displayed that there was a significant weak correlation (r=0.341) present between team leadership style of head and motivation of teachers at p≤0.05 significance level.

Linear regression was applied to find out the effect of the team leadership style of heads (R2 = 0.116) at a p≤ 0.05 significance level. The findings of the effect of the team leadership style of heads on teachers’ motivation were not significantly predicting the dependent variable (β =0.341, F=70.47, p=0.000). The findings of these variables show that the team leadership style of heads does not have an effect on teachers’ motivation.


Research Question 3

Is there any relationship between the team leadership style of heads and teachers’ motivation in the opinion of heads?


Interviews of Heads of High Schools

Relationship between team Leadership Style of Head and Teachers’ Motivation

Following were the responses of the heads for interview questions related to team leadership and teachers’ motivation.

Team Leadership Style of Head

Following findings were drawn from the interviews about the team leadership style of heads;

From the views of headteachers, it was found that the headteachers usually consult their teachers in assigning duties and observe their interests, experiences and qualifications. The heads also separately discuss with the teachers and then just call the meeting for the satisfaction of others. Some heads said that the teachers were bound to perform jobs.


Relationship between team Leadership Style of Head and Teachers’ Self-efficacy

Following findings were drawn from the heads’ views about teachers’ motivation; Head 1 said that three to four specific teachers give better response on challenging tasks others do not respond. They said that the new untrained teachers were more ambitious and welcomed challenging tasks, but with the passage of time, they were more occupied with duties; therefore, their motivation level becomes less. Head 3 said that this was not a private school, so there was no challenging task. There were very few challenging conditions. One to two senior teachers participate in these conditions. Mostly avoid from such conditions. Head 4 said that teachers feel difficulty in accepting tasks. Some teachers feel irrelevant to participate in school activities other than teaching. This was a tough task, but he convinced all teachers. Head 5 said that some teachers do not give a response, some hesitate, and some take it as their duty. They were the assets of the school. Some were social to the people. Heads said that they share the tasks equally; they divide the work and complete the tasks even in hours and minutes. Head 7 said that teachers do not perform livelily. They only work in a boring way, not by their interest. Head 8 said that some teachers gave a response to these tasks. Others feel fear. But, when he said that he was with them, they start working. So, they become motivated.

The following are the encouraging ways of heads to motivate teachers in the opinion of heads; Head 1 said that certificates and functions were arranged in October after the 9th and 10th result to appreciate the relevant teachers. All people stand in respect of those teachers who work hard, and shields were awarded to them. Head 2 said that they had printed certificates for teachers to encourage them. Further, they have shields for them and clapping for them in morning prayers. Head 4 appreciate each and every person, even class four people. They were recognized for their works. Head said that he shares the achievements of my staff with others. He gave certificates for distinction in results. The head also encourages the teachers in meetings.  Head 4 said that in meetings, he appreciated and gave good remarks. Certificates were also given to the teachers. Head 5 said that for good results and discipline, the head appreciates the teachers. Values were important; even head offer tea for wearing a good shirt. The teachers who give more than ninety percent result head appreciate in monthly meetings—Head deal teachers with love. Head 6 said that according to the nature of the teacher, he appreciates. Sometimes head offer cup of tea. Sometimes head distributes certificates from the high authorities at the end of the year. Head 7 said that we appreciated the teachers with certificates, awards and gifts (pens). The selection of teachers was like students on merit. Heads also give shields to the teachers in the ceremony. Head 8 said that his method to encourage teachers was to invite the personalities like MPAs, CEO and other authorities in the annual ceremony and present shields, prizes for discipline, co-curricular activities even for well dressing. Their one teacher with having Master degree in math teaches in primary classes. They make flax of his picture with good remarks and display out of the school at the main gate due to nursery class teaching style and welcoming the school tasks.



Following were the conclusions of the study;

1.        Teachers’ perceptions about team leadership style showed that leadership team members of the school had a clear vision of school at the high school level. So, heads were also using team leadership style by consulting and working as a team, but they cannot work for their creative ideas in the school.

2.        Teachers’ perceptions about motivations showed that they were motivated to take responsibility. The teachers make efforts to work on the tasks excellently. It is concluded that the teachers are hardworking for the tasks they are allocated. They have a higher level of motivation.

3.        There was a significant weak correlation existed between team leadership style of head and motivation of teachers. Linear regression analyses showed that the team leadership style of heads does not have a strong effect on teachers’ motivation.



Distributes leadership is more than dividing tasks among different members in a school. There are four important styles of distributed leadership: team, supervision, participative and decision making. Here only team leadership style is discussed in relation to the motivation of teachers. Distributive leadership styles display ways for teachers for implementing transformative leadership in schools. Muijs and Harriis (2006) said that when teachers when playing the role of leaders, it affects the improvement process in schools and also effect students’ achievements and results. In this study, this is the same situation that the teachers care for the learning and results of the students in schools. Helterbran (2010) stated that the teachers having experience of leadership roles also could make decisions for a better classroom, which enhances the students’ results. This study did not coincide with the previous researches that team

leadership affects the motivation of the teachers in a positive way. Yusuf (2004) found a significant relationship between heads’ leadership styles and the motivation of subordinates in his research. There was also a significant relationship between distributed leadership and the level of motivation in teachers in national primary schools of the Port Klang Zone, which is not verified in this study. There was a weak significant relationship between distributed leadership and the motivation of teachers in this study. These findings are in line with Najib (2004), who stated that the leadership styles of principals in eight schools in the District of Kota Star, Kedah Darul Aman, has a weak relationship with teachers’ motivation. The teachers felt more confident and valued in the duties they are performing and confidently can build a better environment for students learning in classrooms. But they are not free to take a decision in the administrative type of decisions in schools.


Recommendations for Further Study

The study may be expanded beyond the urban to rural areas of Punjab districts. An investigation of the relationship between team leadership and self-discipline of teachers in rural areas or throughout Punjab would be a valuable contribution to the literature. Expanding the study beyond four districts would gather data from a larger population of teachers. There were also limitations due to COVID-19; it may be further expanded after this pandemic in a qualitative way.





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