The role of a school principal, to say the least, is like walking on a tight rope. They are the leaders who guide a school collectively on the right path. While the duties of a school principal are more or less similar worldwide, we’ve seen a drastic change in the same over the past decade. No longer are they mere supervisors of schools, but are thought leaders who build an effective team of teachers to mould and nurture able students for a better tomorrow. The question is – who makes an effective principal or what kind of qualities does an effective principal have?

Studies reveal that an effective school principal contributes significantly to student achievement by enabling better teacher performance and reduced absenteeism. The following traits make an effective principal:

  • Must be a visionary

Some of the world’s best institutions have been built by great visionaries. Similarly a principal must envision the future of a school by charting both long and short term strategies taking into account external and internal changes to its environment.

  • Must be a strong leader

A principal not only takes credit of the success of a school but also takes responsibility of any failures. To be effective as a principal, it is important to possess outstanding leadership skills. They have to be prepared to take charge of not just the success and failures but also the needs of teachers, staff and students.

  • Set high standards

The principal must set goals for both teachers and students. It must be clearly conveyed to them as to what and how much is expected from them to succeed.

  • Nurture a learning environment

The principal must always encourage an environment for continuous learning in the school. Teachers must be motivated to constantly try new ways of teaching and learning. Further the principal should create a culture of optimism, so that the learning environment becomes more welcoming and professional.

  • Are fair and just

It is common for a principal to have favorites among their staff, that’s ok. But giving anyone preferential treatment is an absolute no-no as you will end up loosing your credibility as a fair leader.

  • Liked by one and all

A good principal does not stay in his cabin all day long. He is a people person, who makes his presence felt in the school. He should be proactive in getting to know the teachers and students. Spending time in the hall, smiling and greeting staff and students, and attending events and classroom sessions, creates a sense of positivity among all and also makes the principal more approachable.

  • Works in collaboration

A good principal understands the significance of teamwork and develops a healthy team who can work together understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Empowers Staff

A principal can be effective when the staff feel empowered to make changes for improvement in instruction. A good principal always encourages its teachers to make suggestions to the overall development of the school.

  • Are good at Problem-solving

Principal are frequently viewed as the ultimate problem solver, by teachers and students alike.  While addressing a problem, an effective school principal does not take sides. Instead he should remain calm and proactive, in listening and understanding to everybody and come up with an optimal, unbiased solution which benefits all.

  • Good communicator and effective listener

Principals should communicate the vision and goals of the school to the staff and students. They must conduct periodic evaluations of staff performance and convey it in most effective and considerate manner. Also, a large part of a principal’s job is to listen – to teachers, staff, parents, and students. Good listening skills are at the core of becoming a good principal.