Date of Award

Summer 7-9-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Patricia Clark White, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Julia Hadden, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Jonathan Greenberg, Ed.D.


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study was to identify and explore how elementary principals of organizations who have achieved extraordinary results influence employees through personal motivation, personal ability, social motivation, social ability, structural motivation, and structural ability.

Methodology: This phenomenological study identified and explored 12 Southern California public elementary school principals and how they used the 6 sources of influence with their stakeholders to achieve extraordinary results. An interview protocol aligned with the study’s theoretical framework was developed with a thematic team. The respondents were purposefully chosen from principals who have led their schools to attain National Blue Ribbon School status. The researcher collected qualitative data, transcribed the data, coded and created themes from the data.

Findings: Exemplary elementary school principals use the following influence strategies to produce extraordinary results: create positive and meaningful connections; create a positive culture; provide formal and informal feedback; empower their employees; use a variety of modalities to influence their employees towards the vision and mission of the school; and create a safe and visually appealing environment in which employees can feel free to immerse themselves to be engaged and productive.

Conclusions: This study concluded that elementary principals who wish to influence their employees to achieve extraordinary results must create a positive culture and meaningful connections with their employees through involvement in the decision making process, genuinely caring for their employees, sharing personal experiences, and providing opportunities for engagement and planning lessons. They also provided formal and informal feedback and empowered their employees by talking about school goals, doing walk-throughs, practicing learned new skills from trainings, and recognizing the strengths of their employees. Finally, elementary principals achieved extraordinary results by modeling expectations and including community members and employees in deciding school colors and appearance.

Recommendations: Further research is recommended on influence strategies for leaders in different positions, in and outside of education, to achieve extraordinary results. Additionally, it is recommended to conduct a quantitative study to identify and rate strategies other leaders use to achieve extraordinary results.