This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

The Soft Side of Leadership: Principals’ Enactment of the Love Languages and Leadership Frames in Influencing School Culture




Baugh, Shay

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The culture of a school defines how the school works in regards to rules, relationships, and attitudes. The current research focuses primarily on the principal’s academic intelligence and how it impacts school culture. However, there is little research on the soft skills of principal leadership. The central question for this study was, “What are the ways in which school administrators exhibit their dominant Leadership Frame and primary Love Language, and what are their perceptions in regards to how that impacts school culture?” After taking a Love Language and Leadership Frame inventory, the researcher utilized a multiple case study approach with five principals in a southeastern state, each representing one of the five love languages. Face-to-face interviews were conducted and the principal took the researcher on a tour of his/her school. At each site the researcher discovered the similarities and differences of the principals and how their love language and leadership frame were evident throughout their school culture. The researcher identified four themes throughout the five cases. Each principal impacted school culture through the enactment of their Love Language and Leadership Frame by nurturing positive relationships with teachers, fostering positive relationships with students, cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs, and developing a safe and welcoming physical environment. This study’s findings have expanded our knowledge of the soft skills of leadership that principals are utilizing as tools to naturally influence their schools to accomplish their vision and mission. The varied ways in which the study principals enacted their Love Language and Leadership Frames re-emphasizes that there are multiple ways to enhance relationships with teachers, students, and the community, and that there is not a one-size-fits-all formula for an effective leader to follow.