Eight Traits of a Successful Educational Leader

Whether it be your favorite sports team, our valiant army, or just a group of students on a group assignment, the team leader plays a vital role in their success. Similarly, educational leaders, be it the principal, academic administrators, superintendents, etc., all form the supporting foundations of a successful educational institution.

Moreover, developing leadership skills can be crucial to propelling an educator’s career to new heights. Acquiring the position of a school leader is a natural progression for teachers who have already developed leadership skills on a small scale.

In this article, we have discussed eight traits of a successful educational leader:

Staying up to date


With the rise in popularity of Online classes on platforms such as zoom, Microsoft teams, etc., many institutes have switched to a hybrid model of education involving both online and physical courses. An aspiring leader must stay up to date with such technological advances and know how to smoothly incorporate these techniques into the curriculum. Discussing with the teachers before implementing any new changes is vital to gain their input. Doing so will improve the school’s teaching methods, help the students learn more effectively, and keep the school’s curriculum aligned with the rapidly advancing landscape of the educational system.

Advanced Degree

In order to take up administrative and managerial roles, an educator must have the relevant qualifications and experience. Supervisory positions can be very daunting for aspiring professionals, and it takes time and effort to cultivate the skills required to take on various challenges one faces during their career. One way to accelerate the process and stand apart from the competition is to enroll in an online master’s program in educational leadership. Not only will it vastly improve your knowledge and skills, but it will also significantly increase your chances of employment in this competitive field. Additionally enrolling in an online program will mean you don’t have to give up your current job or position since you can study according to your schedule.

Communication Skills


Being comfortable with uncomfortable conversations is an art that many professionals lack. It separates the true leader from someone merely acting as a figurehead. A leader has to be clear and consistent to get their message across while being considerate and helpful to those under their wing. A school administrator or principal must try their best to develop a nurturing environment for the students and inspire them to work hard and excel.

Engage the Local Community

Schools are not isolated pockets of education cut off from society but are an essential part of the community. They foster young minds and prepare them for the future challenges they’ll face. Thus, it is vital for educational leaders to engage with the local community, build a partnership with local businesses that can benefit the school, and develop trust between the parents, staff, students, and other community members. For example, setting up open houses is an excellent way to allow parents to explore the schools’ facilities, attract prospective students, and establish a channel for informal communication between the parents and teachers. In addition, engaging with the community will strengthen the bond between the school staff and parents and bring in additional funding.

Establish clear objectives


A true leader can look at the bigger picture and stay focused on what truly matters. When establishing goals, follow the SMART objectives criteria, i.e., specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Doing so will ensure you stay on track and avoid getting tangled in minor details. Moreover, assigning small, attainable tasks to teachers and students can keep productivity high and boost their morale. Finally, keeping the whole team engaged will help the institute prosper and make everyone feel like they are part of a team, keeping motivation levels high.

Inspire Inclusivity and Collaboration

A school leader has to interact with various people from different walks of life. They must strive to create an environment of inclusivity and equality where everyone feels welcome; this will help bring out the best in them. Leaders should treat their subordinates and students with respect and be willing to listen and learn from them. When teachers trust the school authorities, they will be motivated to try new strategies. At the same time, students will feel more connected to the school if their concerns are heard. Families will be more supportive because the principal has established a trusting relationship between their children and the teachers. When all is said and done, having a cooperative team is better than being in a group of competent individuals.

Utilize data and resources


Standardized and school-based tests provide an invaluable wealth of information that can be used to identify problematic topics for the students and eliminate any inequities that may exist in the assessment methodology. In addition, influential leaders utilize data to make strategic decisions to benefit students and generate collaborative inquiry among teachers. Data-driven decision-making can not only be used to find the solution to a problem but also to identify its cause, which can be used to prevent it from occurring again.

Leading by example

School leaders have the potential to become role models for those under their command. But in order to do so, one must become their most significant critic. Unfortunately, many school leaders consider themselves above the rules and tend to look down on their peers. Their actions reflect the saying, do as I say but not as I do, but this is not the mound of a leader. School leaders must be very cautious about their actions, as they are the representative of the school. Leaders who lead by example will always earn respect and admiration of those around them and can effectively steer their institution to success.



Successful school leaders have diverse skills cultivated over years of experience. They are willing to be the shining beacon that guides the new generation of students toward a prosperous future while inspiring the teachers and other staff members working under them. They lead academic institutions in an empowering manner while motivating everyone to better themselves. While all these responsibilities seem overwhelming at first, over time, determined individuals will improvise, adapt to and overcome all hurdles in their path, the hallmark of a great leader.