Important Traits to Practice for a Successful School Leader

Leadership traits you need to practice to become a successful school leader

Home - School Leadership - Leadership traits you need to practice to become a successful school leader
school leader

In India, schools are the biggest learning institutions but their major responsibility is limited to imparting the predesigned syllabus without taking much effort into innovation of teaching aids. Efforts to shape most of these institutions that should develop further towards the well-being of all of its stakeholders ranging from students to non-teaching staff is quite limited.

Policymakers have already realized the importance of leadership skills for school leaders and institutional changes have been brought in the schools run by the Government of NCT Delhi. Along with Cell for School Leadership (CSL), SCERT conducts programs for Delhi Government Schools which impact students as well as teachers.

Several research studies emphasize that effective leadership of school leaders turns their schools into productive learning spaces through innovative means. The leaders at the school bring a special blend to the work and constantly review the day’s events to encourage lifelong learning (Precey, 2009).

What is a School Leader?

A school leader is responsible for guiding and managing a school’s operations, ensuring educational goals are met, and fostering a positive learning environment. This role often includes principals, vice-principals, and other administrative positions that involve decision-making, policy implementation, and community engagement. School leaders are critical in shaping the school’s culture, driving academic success, and supporting teachers and students.

What are Leadership Styles?

Transformational Leadership

Inspiration and Motivation: Transformational leaders inspire and motivate their staff to exceed expectations by fostering an enthusiastic and committed school culture.

Visionary Thinking: They focus on long-term goals and strategic vision, encouraging innovation and creative problem-solving among staff and students.

Transactional Leadership

Structured Environment: Transactional leaders emphasize structured policies and transparent, short-term goals, often using rewards and punishments to achieve compliance.

Performance Monitoring: They closely monitor performance and enforce rules, ensuring tasks are completed efficiently and on schedule.

Servant Leadership

Empathy and Support: Servant leaders prioritize the needs of their staff and students, fostering a supportive and nurturing environment.

Community Focus: They emphasize community building and personal growth, ensuring every member feels valued and heard.

Instructional Leadership

Educational Focus: Instructional leaders concentrate on improving teaching practices and student learning outcomes by providing professional development and support.

Data-Driven Decisions: They use data to inform instructional strategies and interventions to enhance academic performance.

How to Become a Successful School Leader in School? 

1. Develop a Clear Vision

  • Articulate Goals: Clearly define the school’s mission, vision, and goals to align staff and students toward common objectives.
  • Communicate Effectively: Ensure your vision is communicated consistently and transparently to all stakeholders.

2. Build Strong Relationships

  • Foster Trust: Develop trust and respect among staff, students, and parents through consistent, honest communication and being approachable.
  • Collaborate: Encourage teamwork and collaboration by involving others in decision-making and valuing their input.

3. Prioritize Professional Development

  • Continuous Learning: Stay updated with the latest educational trends, policies, and best practices through ongoing professional development.
  • Empower Staff: Provide opportunities for teachers and staff to grow professionally by offering training and development programs.

4. Lead by Example

  • Demonstrate Integrity: Model ethical behavior, hard work, and commitment, setting a standard for others to follow.
  • Be Visible: Be active in the school community, participating in events and regularly engaging with students and staff.

5. Focus on Student Success

  • Set High Expectations: Establish high academic and behavioral expectations for all students, ensuring they have the support needed to meet these standards.
  • Monitor Progress: Regularly assess student performance and implement strategies to address gaps or challenges.

What are the Qualities of a Good Leader?

  • Visionary: Able to see the big picture and plan for the future while inspiring others to work towards common goals.
  • Communicative: Skilled in clear and effective communication, ensuring that everyone is informed and understands their roles.
  • Empathetic: Understands and values the perspectives and needs of others, creating a supportive and inclusive environment.
  • Decisive: Capable of making informed decisions swiftly, even in challenging situations, and taking responsibility for the outcomes.
  • Ethical: Adheres to high moral standards, demonstrating honesty, Integrity, and fairness in all actions.
  • Resilient: Able to withstand and recover quickly from difficulties, maintaining a positive and proactive attitude.
  • Adaptable: Open to change and able to adjust strategies and approaches based on new information or circumstances.

6 Leadership Traits Every School Leader Needs to Practice

It is a significant indication of the question of how schools should be “led”. Through this article, an attempt has been made on the leadership traits school leaders should develop that can be useful to run a successful institution. Here we will look at six important traits a school leader should adopt to run a successful institution.

1.  Setting  Goal, Vision, and Direction

Goals for any organization serve as the standard principles. Through these goals, leaders can create clearly stated objectives to guarantee the academic success of all students (Mendels & Mitgang, 2013). Creating goals helps to be focused, to prioritize needs and avoid wastage of time and effort working in the wrong direction. In that case, two types of goals should be categorized i.e. long-term and short-term.

Long-term goals are associated with infrastructural/facility development that can pave the way for skill development while short-term goals include bringing out institutional changes for bettering the learning environment.

However, depending on the school’s situation short-term goals could be made part of the long-term goals and vice-versa. Through a participatory approach, each stakeholder should be involved to channel their energies into achieving the goals and a sense of belongingness must be nurtured.

On a timely basis deviations from the goals should be spotted by the leaders and s/he should work towards mitigating those deviations. This also helps in monitoring the progress and evaluating the growth of the school per se.

Also Read: From A Farmerworker’s Son To Becoming A Proud Edupreneur

2. Monitoring Student Progress and Teacher Growth

The school leader should develop various methods to evaluate the academic performance and social and emotional well-being of students and the teacher’s teaching style. Through evaluation, the area of strength and areas of improvement can be analyzed and prioritized.

Evaluation should be conducted on a regular basis and should focus on the different skills rather than bookish knowledge. School leaders can evaluate the teacher’s performance themselves or can take professional help. As resources are limited, schools need to spend it on the most important areas by careful evaluation (Barkman, 2015). 

3. Time Management

The growth of schools also depends on effective time management by the school leader. But mostly school leaders use their time on day-to-day administrative activities which have no impact on student learning outcomes.

They should use/manage their time effectively and efficiently. Tasks like setting a vision and goal, staff training, student progress analysis, arrangement of the fund and finalizing the educational programs require proper time and regular intervention throughout the year. School leaders can delegate some work to others so that they can focus on the most important work which is mentioned above. (Barkman, 2015)

4. Constructive Interpersonal

The most important leadership trait includes effective people engagement. School leaders should have effective interpersonal skills. On an everyday basis school leaders have to interact with students, teachers, parents, and the community as a whole.

Stakeholders are from diverse backgrounds and have different priorities. School leaders need a skill set to handle different families because working with communities/parents who have different mindsets requires people skills. School leaders should be honest, caring, empathetic, active listeners, respect others, supportive, motivate others, and focus on the child’s learning to build a rapport with the stakeholders.

Rapport can be built only when one person trusts the other. School leaders have to work on gaining the trust of the parents/community (Lasater, 2016).

5. Self-Reflection

Self-reflection should be important to understand whether the efforts translate into achieving the goal or not and it is a key to self-awareness. Regular self-reflection can help the school leader analyze the good and bad decisions.

School leaders should take a pause and reflect on each decision taken. Learning from experience helps the school grow further. School leaders should be open to criticism which could enlighten herself/himself and can lead to new ideas.

Each stakeholder should do the exercise of self-reflection but the school leader’s reflection highly impacts the school because major decisions are taken by them. The self-reflection environment will always create great success and work on the feedback for the growth of the school. (Barkman, 2015)

6. Establishing a Culture

Culture is intangible and can be created by the people of the organization. In schools, the school leader is the person who creates the foundation of culture. Each member should feel that a school is a safe place and they can seek support.

Staff should feel free to share their innovative ideas for improving student learning. Individuals who put lots of effort into school development should be properly recognised. There should be a strong relationship between student-teachers, school leader-teachers and school leader-parents. Every stakeholder should be able to share his/her views/opinions/ideas on the school development by setting up a strong school culture (Barkman, 2015). 

Wrap Up

Every school leader is unique in their way. They have their strengths and weaknesses. Everyone is working in a different context like location, community etc. Despite the individual differences, every school leader should embrace leadership traits to run a school successfully. The major traits highlighted in the article will help the school leaders to become successful leaders and lead by example. 

Read More – What makes an effective school leader?


1. What are the successful school leadership practices?

Successful school leadership practices include developing a clear vision, building strong relationships, and prioritizing professional development. Leaders articulate and communicate goals effectively, foster trust and collaboration among staff and students, and support continuous learning. They also lead by example, demonstrating integrity and commitment, and focus on student success by setting high expectations and monitoring progress.

2. What qualities do you have to make you a good student leader at school?

As a good student leader, I possess strong communication skills, empathy, and a commitment to integrity. I can clearly articulate ideas and listen to others, fostering a supportive environment. Additionally, I demonstrate responsibility and reliability, always striving to set a positive example and make fair, ethical decisions.

3. What is a good leadership style in school?

A good leadership style in school is transformational, focusing on inspiring and motivating staff and students to achieve their best. Transformational leaders foster a positive, inclusive school culture, encourage innovation, and support professional growth. They combine visionary thinking with empathy, ensuring everyone feels valued and engaged in the school’s mission.

4. How to become a good leader?

To become a good leader, develop a clear vision, communicate effectively, and build strong relationships based on trust and respect. Prioritize professional growth by staying updated with best practices and encouraging continuous learning. Lead by example, demonstrating integrity and resilience, and focus on fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone can thrive.

5. How to improve leadership qualities in students?

Improve leadership qualities in students by providing opportunities for them to take on responsibilities and lead projects. Encourage active participation in group activities and foster a culture of feedback and reflection. Offer mentorship and training programs that develop communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills, helping students build confidence and competence as leaders.

Leave A Comment

Latest Blogs

Most Viewed Blogs