Education leaders guide the values of their organizations. They not only motivate students, but encourage teachers and staff to do their best. They nurture success through communication, collaboration, and dedication.
Leadership effectiveness is due to a combination of professional expertise and management skills applied to all stages of school administration—from planning to implementation to systemization.
Education leaders are also responsible for creating the structures that impact work and learning environments. There is a connection between school leadership and professional development and student learning outcomes, research shows. Education leaders set expectations for the school’s practices and results.
Developing a Vision
Education leaders need to be visionary—having a vision of what they want their school to become. They should also be skilled at crafting a strategic plan.
Leaders must have a clear vision that school members can connect to. The vision is the guiding star for making decisions and they communicate it through words and actions.
What Education Leaders Do
Education leaders balance several responsibilities. Here are some of the broad practices they do:
- Establish clear goals. When setting goals, leaders make sure they communicate them with staff in a way in which they understand their roles in accomplishing them.
- Lead by example. Leaders model the behavior they want to see in others.
- Provide constructive feedback. Leaders help colleagues, staff members, and students grow by giving regular feedback.
- Delegate. Delegating allows leaders to maximize their resources, ensuring that they are freeing up their time for priorities and developing their team members.
- Motivate. Successful school leaders understand the importance of motivation. They connect motivation to each individual’s goals and how they are personally motivated.
- Listen. Education leaders create a culture that values staff input and takes their concerns seriously. They listen to staff, as well as students and their families, and involve them in the process of supporting the school.
- Supporting community. Educational leaders typically participate in their surrounding communities, building positive relationships along the way. Examples of education leaders’ community responsibilities include: helping students and their families obtain the necessary school supplies; being a spokesperson for the school; meeting with the school board to create new policies.
Qualities of Effective Education Leaders
Exceptional educators possess qualities that make them effective and inspiring leaders. Here are traits of great educational leadership:
- Reflective—great leaders are internally reflective and honest about their own progress and those they lead. Being reflective can drive change.
- Authentic—a great leader has a strong sense of self and shows their genuine self to others. By building an organization based on authenticity, they open the way for people to confidently work according to their true values, interests, and strengths.
- Passion—a great leader deeply cares about their work and community. Their passion is evident in what they do and inspires others.
Become a Leader in Education
Education leaders should have in-depth knowledge of administrative best practices and a commitment to continuous development. Carlow University offers a Master’s of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership with Principal Certification Prep for educators seeking to advance in leadership roles. This master’s degree program includes coursework in curricular models, pedagogy, and leadership that will prepare them for principal’s certification and the licensure process.