NATIONAL FORUM OF EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION AND SUPERVISION JOURNAL
VOLUME 21, NUMBER 4, 2004
PERSONAL BEST LEADERSHIP STORIES OF
EDUCATIONAL ADMINISTRATION STUDENTS
Margaret H. Dalton
Southeast Missouri State University
Using Kouzes and Posner’s 1987 book, The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary
Things Done in Organizations, as a conceptual framework, this qualitative study looked at the
personal best leadership experiences of one hundred beginning Educational Administration
students. With permission, the survey developed by Kouzes and Posner was used to analyze the
leadership experiences of neophyte leaders who wished to become school administrators. The
results found that the personal best examples of those studied were similar in theme to those
studied by Kouzes and Posner. The results are discussed in five categories: Seeking
Opportunities or Having Opportunities Thrust Upon You, Know Where You and the
Organization are Going, Leaders Help Others Be Leaders, Lead in the Trenches, and Laugh it
Off and Have Fun.
nderstanding why individuals perceive a particular leadership experience to be their
personal best leads to knowledge of how challenges are turned into accomplishments.
Analyzing the characteristics, qualities, and the actions displayed during an
outstanding leadership experience allows a greater appreciation of leadership. Instead of
quantifying the characteristics, qualities, or actions of leadership, this study analyzes
leadership through the telling of personal best leadership stories. The purpose of the
qualitative research study was to analyze the leadership experiences of beginning students in
an Educational Administration preparation program. An understanding of the leadership
experiences that students bring with them can be building blocks to developing a
comprehensive leadership program of studies.
The Leadership Challenge
A “personal best” experience is an event (or series of events)...