By Mrinalini Singh, Jan 07, 2022 09:00
A good leader always leads by example. A principal should be positive, enthusiastic, have his/her hand in the day-to-day activities of the school, and listen to what his constituents are saying.
An effective leader is available to teachers, staff members, parents, students, and community members. The role of the principal is to provide leadership, direction and co-ordination within the school.
The principal’s main focus should be to develop and maintain effective educational programs within his/her school and to promote the improvement of teaching and learning with his/her school.
School leaders should, among other things, be able to set clear direction, establish high expectations, and develop talent in their schools to fully support teaching and learning. The study finds that taken together, direct and indirect effects of school leadership account for about a quarter of total school effects.
Leaders can contribute to improving student outcomes by influencing the environment in which teaching and learning occur, and by building capacity for professional learning and change.
Successful school leadership can play a key role in supporting teaching and learning. With effective preparation, principals can positively affect student achievement. Effective leaders, like effective teachers, adjust and draw on a range of skills and approaches depending on the context. A typical school day requires leaders to move from authority figure to teammate, to coach, to therapist, navigating through a range of roles as each demand arises. An ability to shift and adjust leadership approaches based on what is needed is key to being effective as a leader.
Six key adaptive leadership practices are:
1. Get a clearer view: Broaden one’s perspective to better understand the bigger picture and accurately assess the situation.
2. Identify the challenge: Identify the underlying adaptive challenges facing the organisation.
3. Regulate stress: Develop a holding environment where stakeholders feel safe to express their opinions.
4. Maintain disciplined attention: Stay focused on the task at hand.
5. Give the work back to the people: Guide and empower teams to come up with creative and innovative solutions.
6. Protect leadership voices from below: Listen to all viewpoints, including those who might ordinarily be overshadowed in the process.
With successful school leadership, schools become effective incubators of learning, places where students are not only educated but challenged, nurtured and encouraged.
When schools lack a strong foundation and direction, learning is compromised, and students suffer.
“Leadership is second only to classroom instruction as an influence on student learning.”
Effective school leaders understand and respond appropriately to the different contextual demands that they face.
But what makes a successful school leader? How do you become truly effective as a principal or in a leadership position? While there is no one solution to successful school leadership, there are certain strategies, skills, traits and beliefs that many of the most effective school leaders share --
1. They understand the importance of building community.
2. They empower teachers and cultivate leadership skills.
3. They utilise data and resources.
Successful school leaders use data, including standardized and school-based assessments, to drive continuous improvement through site-based decision-making for the express purpose of promoting equitable and culturally responsive opportunities for all students.
4. They have a vision and a plan.
The very best leaders are also visionaries. They have a goal that they can unite a team around and a plan to help them get there. Not just that, they are able to clearly articulate their school vision and goals.
5. They create collaborative, inclusive learning environment.
6. They are passionate about their work.
7. They encourage risk-taking.
8. They lead by example.
9. They persevere – staying with a school for at least five years.
10. They are lifelong learners.
Mrinalini Singh, principal, Yadu Public School, Noida. Views expressed are personal.