Leading and managing schools have long been accredited to the role of the school principal. However, contemporary school leadership literature promotes the sharing of leadership and management of schools with individuals in the school community especially teachers (Jackson, 2010; Harris, 2009; Sheppard & Dibbon, 2010; Spillane, 2005). Teachers by the virtue of their professionalism are encouraged to be in leadership roles for school effectiveness (Bush & Glover, 2012). The practice of distributive leadership in schools curbs the burden of the school principal having to handle all of the challenges and solving of all problems in schools (Spillane et al., Spillane & Diamond, 2007). This study explored school principals use of distributive leadership in teacher motivation in secondary schools, establish how school principals and teachers understand the concept ‘distributive leadership’ and to investigate what school principals do as distributive leaders to motivate teachers. A qualitative case study within interpretivist paradigm was espoused McMillan and Schumacher (2010). In this study, the theoretical framework was Distributive Leadership Theory (Botha & Triegaardt, 2014; Botha (2014). Two secondary independent schools were purposively selected in Soshanguve North District, Gauteng Province. School principals and teachers were the participants in this research. Semi-structured telephone interviews were used to collect data which was then thematically analysed. The findings show that school principals and teachers understand distributive leadership as a leadership style whereby there is a re-distribution of power among all members of the school community. The distributive leadership practices of the school principals in this study included creating a climate and culture for distributive leadership, providing supportive structures to build self-confidence, self-esteem, trust and motivation for teachers to volunteer for leadership responsibilities. The principals motivated teachers through distributive leadership by involving them in decision-making, developing their leadership skills, using effective communication and feedback, sharing school mission and vision, creating positive interpersonal relationships and a culture that is based on trust.
Distributive leadership, motivation, teacher motivation