The Impact of Leadership Styles on Educator Burnout in a Girls' State Secondary School

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1281 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

Words: 1281|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Jan 31, 2024

“The topic of stress is one that has been ongoing for many years but the teaching profession has seen a great increase in this ailment over the past four decades” (Cosgrove, 2000). Stress is a condition that can present itself in either a positive (eustress) or negative (distress) form. However, it is the negative form of stress that poses the greatest problem for educators. When negative stress is not properly addressed, handled, and released, it can lead to depression, sickness, exhaustion, and ultimately, to burnout. When educators enter into the state of stress known as burnout, the ramifications can be numerous, observable, and detrimental both directly and indirectly. Therefore, it is vital to have an understanding of the factors that often serve as catalysts for teacher stress and burnout and manner in which school leadership styles correlate with this tempestuous condition.

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The condition of educator stress and burnout has been addressed throughout numerous discussions, debates, research articles, studies, and books. A number of those oral and written ideas have focused on the probable relationship between educator stress and burnout and leadership. However, the focus on educator stress and burnout and leadership styles from the secondary school perspective has been limited. As a result, educator burnout and the leadership styles of the Head of School in a girls’ state secondary school, is the foundational focus of this study.

Kyriacou (2001) described educator stress as “unpleasant and negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, tension, frustration or depression, that stem from some aspect of their work as an educator”. In the same line, Guglielmi and Tartrow (1998) defined the term burnout as “a state of emotional, physical and attitudinal exhaustion which may develop in educators who unsuccessfully deal with stress over a long period of time”.

According to Powell and Cheshire (2004), the National Union of Teachers reported that “stress is one of the biggest problems facing teachers today, and that it is the main health and safety concern in four out of five schools. Compared to other occupational groups (e.g. doctors, dentists, nurses), educators experience lower job satisfaction and poorer mental health”. O’Donnel, Lambert, and McCarthy (2008) highlighted teaching as a high stress job that has the potential to be very frustrating and emotionally draining. Additionally, as noted by Farber (1984), the high risk of stress and burnout that accompanies teaching can compromise and damage high quality educational practices that should be consistently applied in the schools of today if learning is to effectively occur. Still, Klassen, Usher, and Bong (2010) shared a description by Greenglass and Burke (1997), which described teaching as a stressful occupation that includes many demands from leaders, colleagues, parents and the community. Teaching is also described as an occupation that is “plagued by work overload, policy shifts, and lack of successes” (Klassen, Usher, & Bong (2010, p. 466). Similarly, Robins (2010) explained that educators often leave the teaching profession prematurely due to extreme anxiety, depression, and pressures caused by ever changing educational standards, evolving technological advances, and various external issues.

Cosgrove (2000) examined how stress plays a vital role in teacher breakdowns and the reasons that they are so common today’s schools. He also looked at the consequences of this condition and the ramifications for schools when they fail to get this issue under control. Additionally, Cosgrove (2000) identified what teachers, schools, and school leaders can do to turn this problem around through self-help strategies and practical support. Cockburn (1996) shared the importance of understanding and tackling stress, the challenges that accompany teaching, and invited educators to explore some practical tools that could be used in order to minimize stress factors that cause so many teachers to explode and ultimately, leave the profession of teaching. Lambert and McCarthy (2006) viewed the stresses that have become a normal aspect of the teaching profession for educators who educate in this age of accountability standards. Lambert and McCarthy (2006) also highlighted how such stress impacts educators along with other factors such as working with students with disabilities, multicultural differences, classroom instructional factors, and student-teacher relationships.

Swick and Hanley (1980) addressed the topic of stress and teaching by identifying internal and external stressors that influence teachers both positively and negatively. Also, they shared the importance of understanding stress and the incorporation of stress management techniques like organization of the classroom environment, using teaching teams, establishing priorities, being involved in self-renewal activities, and maintaining good health through proper eating and exercise activities. Hayes (2006) wrote about stress relief for educators by focusing on the nature of stress in classrooms and identified practical ways in which educators could help themselves to better cope with this issue, thereby, also giving their students what they needed in order to learn effectively. Leithwood and Beatty (2008), explained how school leaders influence the performance and emotional well-being of educators in the areas of stress, anxiety, and burnout, job satisfaction and morale, a sense of individual and collective self-efficacy, and through motivation and a willingness to improve their practices. Therefore, it is essential that leaders have a better understanding of productive leadership styles as doing so could be instrumental in meeting the needs of educators which could serve to minimize their stress and burnout levels.

Problem Statement

The teaching profession is becoming extremely demanding with the advent of a modern society and its attributions. School administrators are playing a paramount role in providing quality education and a conducive teaching- learning environment. Unfortunately Educators are facing many challenges in accomplishing their tasks due to inappropriate school leadership styles and eventually are prone to burnout.

Burnout is a serious psychological syndrome that affects an educator’s well-being, performance and ultimately the functioning of the whole organization i.e. ‘the school’. It consists of three basic stages: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment. Its consequences among Educators include intention to leave teaching or transfer requests, high rate of absenteeism, lesser effort at work, lower sense of achievement and no job satisfaction.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the leadership styles of the Head of School on Educators’ burnout in a girls’ state secondary school in Mauritius. Variables like years of experience in teaching, teachers’ gender and years in current school have been used to determine their effect on burnout among Educators.

It is rightly said that Educational leaders must be agents of change and reform if improvements are to be made in providing our nation’s youth with a firm educational foundation upon which their lives and ultimately our society will be built (Arth et al., 2004; Lucas & Valentine, 2002; Morris, 1999; Ogawa & Bossert, 1995).

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Identification of the gap

In current research, a variety of studies have been conducted that address stress, burnout, and leadership. However, few of them have examined these variables from the state secondary school perspective. Hence, a gap exists in the present research and it is for this reason that this study is justified and has been chosen for extended research and examination. The study extends the information concerning educator burnout and leadership styles by addressing the current gap. While a number of research studies have been conducted on the subject of burnout and leadership over the years, few of them have analyzed these variables from the viewpoint of the state secondary educator in a girls’ school in Mauritius. The information in this study shall emphasize the notion that the leadership styles of leaders can impact on their subordinates in either a positive or negative way due to their relationship to one another. This study shall add to the body of knowledge on educators’ burnout by viewing how burnout in a girls’ state secondary school correlated with autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire leadership styles. This information could be used to possibly help turn educators’ burnout around for the better. 

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The Impact of Leadership Styles on Educator Burnout in a Girls’ State Secondary School. (2024, January 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from
“The Impact of Leadership Styles on Educator Burnout in a Girls’ State Secondary School.” GradesFixer, 31 Jan. 2024,
The Impact of Leadership Styles on Educator Burnout in a Girls’ State Secondary School. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
The Impact of Leadership Styles on Educator Burnout in a Girls’ State Secondary School [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jan 31 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from:
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