Doing Leadership: The Significance of Inter-personal Relationships?

  • Ciaran Sugrue
Part of the Studies in Educational Leadership book series (SIEL, volume 20)


There is general recognition among participants that staff relationships are critical to positive working environments, to everyday routines, and moving a school forward with a degree of collaboration, purpose and cohesion. However, in a system where teacher mobility is more static than stable, heavily circumscribed since teachers are employed by individual schools rather than districts, there is a tendency to privilege ‘good’ relationships. Principals are acutely aware that the interstices of these interpersonal dynamics as both conduit and constraint on their agency as leader and their professional (re-)formation. Consequently, personal agency through which leadership is enacted entails elements of exchange that are functionally transactional but, depending on their quality, regularity and density have potential to build trust in ways that sow the seeds of transformation. These exchanges become more pressured and intense as versions of NPM increasingly find their way into policy prescriptions; principals are obliged to deal with the tension between demands of performativity and the maintenance of positive professional relationships. How these interpersonal leadership (in-)tensions are ‘navi-gotiated’ over time is the focus of this chapter. They create what I describe as the Zone of Proximal Distance (ZPD) with significance for leadership preparation and CPD more generally.


Interpersonal Relation School Leader School Community Professional Relationship Emotional Labour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ciaran Sugrue
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity College DublinBelfield, DublinIreland

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