Effective School Leadership Tips for Administrators

9 min

As a school administrator, you need to manage many aspects of the school, including the parent and teacher relationships, the school’s assets, and the school itself. 

Some find this task difficult and think they need to change everything to succeed, but they fail in the end. You don’t have to take the same route!

This article will offer tips on how to be effective at your job and manage the school seamlessly.

Have a Clear Vision for Your School

Having a clear vision is a trait of a good leader.

Every school wants its students to thrive academically, but many fail because their leaders don’t set an achievable goal or lack a clear understanding of how to get there.

You have to have high standards when deciding on your school’s goal and the steps you need to take to get there.

Don’t assume you know it all—consult your team and consider their firsthand experience with the students when determining important milestones.

Maybe the key to improvement lies in fortifying your team.

Consider hiring more people, having more one-on-one meetings with the staff or the students, including students in the process, or offering them more options at your school. 

Either way, explore all options and agree on the ones that can directly benefit your school and the ultimate goal.

If you notice that a particular step or even a goal is no longer applicable to your school, don’t be afraid to replace it with a better one.

Great administrators understand what their school goal is and how to achieve it. 

Delegate Responsibilities to Staff

Including your staff in responsibilities empowers them, making you a good leader.

Great administrators know when it’s time to delegate some of their responsibilities or duties to other staff members. 

If you’re afraid that asking for help will make you seem irresponsible or incompetent—don’t be! 

Quite the opposite, delegating makes you a good leader as it shows to others you are not afraid to admit when you’re overwhelmed with work.

It also demonstrates that you know your team well and that you trust them to perform such tasks. 

All of this empowers your employees. 

When you show your team you believe in them by delegating tasks, they feel more confident. 

On top of that, such an attitude helps promote shared responsibility, as no one wants to let you down after you put your trust in them.

Finally, you will improve engagement if you involve the team in the decision-making process. 

Employees are more invested in school responsibilities when they know you could delegate some of them in the future.

Therefore, delegating responsibilities makes you a better leader.

Don’t Expect to Be Super Popular

Don’t expect everyone to like you if you want to be a good leader.

It’s human nature to want to be liked, so school administrators are often torn between expectations and reality. 

When making decisions, some are swayed by the fear of being disliked, which doesn’t benefit the school.

You have to accept that your authority comes with a cost. 

People see you as someone in a position of power, so they are often reluctant to socialize with you as they do with other teachers.

However, you shouldn’t worry about being liked. Instead, focus on being fair and doing your job right.

People will grow to appreciate you for what you have done for them and the school over time. 

After all, it takes a long time to build a long-lasting relationship built on trust and mutual respect, which is your goal.

Great leaders understand that gaining the trust and respect of your team takes time.

Don’t Change Anything in Your First Year

Great school administrators don’t rush with decisions.

When you arrive at a school, you might feel like everyone expects you to make changes for the better and start right away.

However, that’s not exactly the best idea.

Not every school is the same, so you first have to understand what the school’s problems are.

Get to know the staff and the students and understand how the school functions before changing anything.

Otherwise, you might be trying to fix something that isn’t broken, thus wasting your time and disrupting regular activities.

Once you get to know the team and the school, you will not only be able to notice flaws and irregularities but also reveal how they feel about it. 

The feedback can be beneficial when you’re just getting started and need different perspectives.

A good leader takes the time to understand their school environment before changing it.

Organize Professional Development for Your Teachers

Investing in teachers’ professional development makes you a good leader.

Growth is the ultimate goal for your school, and it includes your personal and the teachers’ development. The better you and your team are and the more you know, the closer you will get to your goal. 

Since you want your team to develop professionally, you should offer them opportunities to do so whenever you can. 

Send your teachers to conferences, workshops, or courses that align with your school goals or organize such events yourself. 

For example, if you want to use technology in your classrooms, attend technology-related teacher conferences and ask your teachers to be there, too.

Promote teacher education as it will bring new ideas into your school. 

Conferences and classes are unique experiences for your employees that motivate them in their everyday work.

They will surely have new ideas, some of which they can implement in their classrooms, bringing the level of education provided at your school to a higher level.

Encouraging professional development is a trait of a great school leader. 

Setup School Events to Establish a Community

Bonding with your community helps you become an even better school administrator.

If you take your job seriously, you know that your school is a community of employees, students, and parents. 

Therefore, you have to foster good relationships with everyone involved to convince them you are there for them. 

When people think you are an approachable school administrator, they are more likely to include you in conversations related to school problems.

This improves your effectiveness and work performance.

School events like games, conferences, bake sales, or plays can be suitable for the community to get together and have fun. 

Such events bring people together and make them feel like you care about them since they can tell you’ve invested time and energy into the organization of a fun event.

When teachers feel that you are investing in their well-being and organizing events for them, you will lower the turnover rates.

Great school leaders invest in school events to develop a relationship with the community.

Make Sure Your School Is Well-Organized

Great leaders organize their schools well.

Organization is key to effective leadership, whether it comes to schedules, meetings, inventory, or any other aspect of your school activities. 

When you arrange these activities effectively, you will devise plans and follow through with them without worrying about forgotten tasks or unexpected issues. 

It saves you time and allows you to spend it on more important tasks.

To be more organized, you can go digital. Instead of relying on manual tasks, opt for technology and let it do most of the work for you. 

Nowadays, you can digitize almost anything, from asset and property management to classes. 

For example, if your school has valuable equipment that you can’t replace easily, you can invest in software that lets you track assets and their use

That way, you can eliminate the risk of theft or double booking, which leads to disrupted classes and negativity among teachers.

Understanding how to organize your school and inventory helps you become a better leader.

Provide Feedback to Teachers

The ability to give quality feedback is a trait of a great leader.

Receiving feedback helps your team get better at what they do, which is your overall purpose.

You are there to ensure the school reaches its goals, i.e., that students get the most out of their time at the school. 

Teachers are crucial in education, which is why feedback is essential for them. 

Feedback promotes a culture of transparency and accountability. 

While you can use it as a means to correct certain behaviors or give advice on how to improve, feedback is also a way to compliment your teachers on the things they’re doing right. 

Such compliments will boost their confidence and won’t make them dread constructive criticism from you.

Before explaining your observations to the employee, prepare what you’re going to say and ensure that your feedback is specific and attainable. 

You don’t want to set the person up for failure by discouraging them or setting impossible standards. 

Instead, point out something they can improve within a certain amount of time, after which you can discuss their progress and provide further pointers.

Effective school administrators know how and when to provide feedback to their staff.

Listen to Your Staff’s Input

In addition to giving it, great leaders know how to receive feedback and improve.

As explained before, feedback is vital if you want to grow and learn. 

However, this doesn’t apply solely to your staff—you need to know how to accept feedback and learn from it. 

When you promote reciprocity of insight in the workplace, you will improve your skills and get better at what you do. 

The ability to receive constructive criticism will make your team trust you more. They will understand that you see yourself as someone who can make mistakes and who is willing to learn from them. 

The willingness to hear out your staff will show them you value their insight.

Teachers will feel that their opinion matters if you take the time to listen to it, and make changes based on their remarks. 

It shows a willingness to see things from someone else’s perspective and make necessary adjustments.

If you want to be a good school administrator, you should consider your team’s feedback.

Put Your Students First

To become an effective school leader, make your students a priority.

The happier and more accomplished your students are, the better your school is, so your goals should tie directly to them and their success.

Always consider how your decisions will affect them. If you’re unsure, consult the teachers or, even better, the students themselves. 

If you’re making a decision that affects students, you can ask for their opinion via a survey. Such a survey will let you hear their views on the issue, so make sure you take them into account.

Of course, you have to make certain decisions even if the students don’t like them, but in the grand scheme of things, you should focus on creating a positive environment for them.

Your goal is to ensure they get the most out of their education.

When your students come first, you’re a great school administrator.

Network With Other Administrators

Networking with other school leaders helps you improve.

Communicating with other school leaders will let you hear about the challenges they face at their school, which can prepare you for similar experiences at yours. 

However, you can also hear about the positive aspects and changes. Such stories will encourage you to implement those same improvements in your own environment.

Networking with the people in the same position lets you solve issues together.

Other than hearing their stance on certain school matters, other school administrators can help you brainstorm and come to a solution to your problem. 

Of course, you should handle most school-related issues on school grounds with your team, but there are certain aspects of the job only other administrators can relate to and advise you on.

If you don’t know any other school leaders, attend conferences, workshops, or professional courses. The more you put yourself out there, the more professionals you will meet, which gives you more insight into the challenges they face and helps you build your network.

To be a better school administrator, you need to connect with other professionals in the same position.

Refer Parents to Speak to Teachers First

Influential leaders refer parents to teachers to handle class-related issues.

As a school administrator, you want to be approachable and maintain a good relationship with teachers, students, and parents. 

However, some parents might take advantage of this and come to you with every school-related issue, no matter how small. 

Referring parents to teachers allows teachers to handle their problems without your involvement and shows your staff you trust them. 

Micromanaging is not a good leadership trait, which is why you should avoid it at all costs. 

If parents have a minor complaint, refer them to the teacher. The teacher can provide more insight into the situation and offer more effective solutions.

After all, they have firsthand experience with the children and can explain their results. Also, they are more aware of what is going on in the classroom.

Of course, there will be some issues with the parents that you will need to address yourself, especially if it’s a complaint regarding a teacher. 

Before doing that, meet with the teacher so you can hear them out. That will prepare you for the meeting with the parents.

A great leader knows which issues to refer to teachers and which to handle themselves.

Conclusion

A good school administrator needs to get to know the school before changing anything to achieve the school vision.

Of course, you have to accept that you won’t be popular, but you can work on your relationship with your team, delegate tasks to them, and give them opportunities to grow professionally.

Don’t forget to network with other administrators and invest in school events to promote community spirit.

Most importantly, you need to put your students first in all situations to ensure the success of your school—and your own!

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