Purpose – This paper argues that because leadership is a relational practice and leaders are gendered and racialised, in socially diverse schools and societies, leader preparation around difference is potentially emotionally confronting to leaders' professional and personal identities.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on critical race and feminist theoretical perspectives to undertake a review and analysis of current approaches to professional development.
Findings – The paper concludes that because there is significant agreement now that leadership is considered to be emotional management work, then leadership learning, if it seeks to change practice, is also emotionally laden. The paper concludes that to develop more reflexive leaders, professional learning should begin with scrutiny of the self as gendered and racialised to consider what that means for “the Other” in terms of leadership in culturally diverse communities and schools.
Research limitations/implications – The paper is context specific, largely drawing on Australian data with reference to indigeneity. This is consistent with its theoretical position that leadership is relational and situated.
Practical implications – The paper identifies possible strategies that could be undertaken in professional learning forums that address issues of difference.
Originality/value – While there are significant issues around professional learning to develop pedagogical practices that address student diversity, there is less theorising around leadership diversity and what that might mean in terms of professional development of leaders.
Field of Research
130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership