What Qualities Make A Great School Principal?

by | May 8, 2017 | K-12, School Administrator

What makes a great principal? It shouldn’t just stop at your love of education or your desire to improve the lives of the young people around you. There’s more to being a principal than meets the eye. You should have qualities that cover a vast array of talents and abilities. After all, a principal is just like a president. Lead them well!

1. Be An Outstanding Leader

You are in charge of the staff, faculty, and students. If you want your role to be effective, you need to have strong leadership skills. You will be the one to get the praise for anything wonderful at your school, but this also means that anything negative will see you taking the heat. You should be ready to put everyone else’s needs above your own and strive to make positive changes should they be needed.

2. Be A People Person

A principal doesn’t run a school by sitting behind a desk all day. A principal is constantly making his presence known. The more time spent getting to know your students and staff, the greater your impact will become. Your day doesn’t end at the final bell. Going to school events and even offering a friendly smile to passing students will have a positive impact on your entire school. Let them know that you stand behind them.

3. Be Reasonable & Fair

It’s natural to have favorites. We all tend to lean toward one person over others quite often. However, as a principal, you can’t give anyone preferential or special treatment. If you do you will lose the respect of being seen as a fair individual. If two students end up in a fight, they should both receive the same punishment, whether it’s detention or suspension. Whether one is on the honor role and the other isn’t. Fair is fair. This also goes for your staff. Never grant anyone special treatment.

4. The Problem Solver

Staff, teachers, faculty, students, and teachers will all look to you if there is a problem that needs solving. True, you can’t be expected to fix or resolve every issue, you will still be expected to get involved in helping find a solution to a problem. You will be expected to remain calm and consider all of the options available while using an unbiased opinion to settle matters. You should also encourage your teachers to do their own problem solving rather than relying only on you.

5. Be A Listener

On any given day you will never know who will end up walking into your office. There will be many times when the person that has just walked in is less than happy about something. Afford them the respect of listening to what it is that they have to say. A great many times you will be able to diffuse a situation by simply letting the parent, teacher, or student vent out their frustration or anger. The simple act of listening lets the other person know that what they have to say does matter and so do they.

These are just a few of the qualities that make a great principal and educational leader. You’re the cornerstone that holds everything together. It’s not an easy job and some days you’ll be pulling at your own hair, but overall, your school and everyone within its walls should fill you with a sense of pride and a feeling of a job well done.


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