We all have that one teacher we’ll never forget, who helped us through a tough time or made an impact with their kindness and understanding. It takes some special qualities to be an educator, but even more so to be a leader in the educational field. Some people dedicate years of their time to school leadership training or gaining extra degrees, but without the right personality and attitude they may never achieve the same heights as others. To be a leader, you need to be willing to take the extra step for students and faculty alike, which requires certain skills beyond what you learn in the classroom.
Some of the best leaders are people who are willing to sit and listen to their constituency, whoever that may be. By understanding their problems, the leader can then address and solve issues to create a better environment for everyone involved. Educators are no different. They need to understand the learning outcomes students must meet, the difficulties teachers may have getting there, and the steps that need to be taken to solve the gap in between. These leaders will also need to be able to identify when changes upset their staff or students and find ways to mediate between needed upgrades and disgruntled users.
Educating is a tough job, so to be a leader you have to be more passionate than anyone else about providing a quality education. This passion can drive your ability to implement large-scale change, adjust school culture, and offer professional development. Passion combined with ability is the strongest tool in a leader’s belt, and when one can combine the two toward positive change, great things are sure to happen.
Leaders need to be ethical in everything they do. This means always keeping a strong moral compass and acting in the best interest of students and teachers. If test scores have dropped, you have to report the accurate numbers and find effective ways to improve them. If a student is caught cheating, they have to be upheld to the same moral standards as a teacher. The best way to foster an ethical environment is for leaders to be ethical themselves. Students and faculty will see how you act and feel empowered to follow suit.
Being a leader in education is more than just holding a prestigious title, it’s being understanding, passionate, and ethical in your job and duties.