Following is a list of the 15 leadership qualities included in the informal Education World survey. We asked respondents to identify the ten traits they felt were the most essential traits of a strong school leader and to rank them in order of importance from 1 (most important) to 10 (least important of the ten).
- Has a stated vision of what the school can be and a plan to achieve that vision.
- Helps develop the leadership skills of others.
- Does not tolerate bad teachers.
- Offers kindnesses and kudos that make a difference to staff and students.
- Is visible -- gets out of the office and is seen all over the school.
- Knows students' names and talks with students on a regular basis.
- Has a sense of humor.
- Shows that he or she is in charge when that needs to be done.
- Shows that he or she is not in charge alone by getting others involved in meaningful ways.
- Is trustworthy and straight with students and staff.
- Is good at "politics," a diplomat.
- Clearly states goals, expectations, and standards -- for students, staff, and parents.
- Develops strong teachers; helps cultivate good teaching practice.
- Is a role model for students and staff.
- Is an insulator -- protects staff from distractions that get in the way of teaching kids.
The list of qualities was derived from the following three resources:
- Challenges for Educational Leadership in the 21st Century Michael Barber, an education adviser to Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom, compiled this list of qualities, reported on the Web site of the International Confederation of Principals (ICP).
- Good Principals Need a Mix of Traits Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff writer Alan J. Borsuk compiled this February 1999 article from interviews with principals.
- Principal Matters For this November 1998 Education Week on the Web article, Bess Keller gathered recent research that identified important qualities of school principals.
© 2000 by Education World®. Education World grants teachers permission to reproduce this work sheet for educational purposes only.