The elements of effective school leadership combines a variety of attributes. Although all these attributes are important, four are critical and essential in the success of a school leader. The first essential attribute is that a leader must model character by being principle-centered. The second essential attribute is that the main role of the school leader is to be an instructional leader. The third essential attribute is to align people. Finally, the fourth essential attribute is to establish direction for the school.
These four attributes work in conjunction to promote the goal of the effective school deader: student achievement. Principle-centered An effective school leader models character by being principle-centered. Principles are guidelines for conduct that have demonstrated lasting value (Covey, 2004). Specifically, an effective leader exhibits integrity, fairness, and acts in an ethical manner. Knuth and Banks (2006) assert in their Essential Leadership Model that first and foremost, effective leadership is character dependent.
They go on to explain that to be able to effectively lead schools, authentic leaders with strong character display fairness, integrity, and ethical behavior. A highly effective leader builds the character of their staff by being a role model (Mclean, 2003). A leader must develop their own voice and then be clear about their own guiding principles to effectively model the behavior they expect of others (Souses and Poster, 2008). Covey (2004) describes integrity as an interdependent reality, that each individual is treated by the same set of principles.
A leaders fulfills expectations and creates a foundation of trust. Integrity encompasses fairness and ethics. Effective leaders who have integrity function fairly and in an ethical manner. Leaders committing to these virtuous principles maintain n enduring responsibility to student success, teacher growth, and quality school environments. Ethical behavior by effective leaders includes a commitment to all students regardless of which race, gender, religious, or socioeconomic category they fall in.
Leaders value ethnic diversity by taking action to ensure a quality education for every child. This commitment represents an uncompromising pursuit to do what is fair (Robbins and Alva, 2004). Instructional Leader Effective school leaders are instructional leaders. Highly effective principals have a passion for learning (Mclean, 2003). According to Chairman (2013), the educational leader is the overall leader of instruction. Administrators must be actively engaged in the professional growth and learning of the school staff.
Effective leaders understand that they are directly responsible for learning and influence student achievement outcomes by their actions (Robbins and Alva, 2004). Fallen (2014) conveyed that the role of an effective principal is to lead teachers in learning to improve their instruction, while working alongside them understanding what works and what does not. Learning leaders model the pursuit of knowledge regarding effective reactive, inspiring staff members to create an environment where risk taking and experimentation are valued and mistakes are the prelude to new knowledge and understanding (Robbins and Alva, 2004).
Instructional leaders recognize that trying and failing is more beneficial than never trying at all. An effective instructional leader ensures that every student has the opportunity to learn. Proclaiming the statement “all can learn” is too easy. Effective leaders develop programs differentiated to meet the needs of small groups of students in their schools because they know that one size rarely fits all. This rage to step out of the box and broaden their knowledge base is a characteristic of highly effective administrators.
Instructional leaders are continually thinking, planning, and developing ways to improve instruction and engage more students (Mclean, 2003). Effective school leaders are frequently presenting research-based strategies to increase their staffs’ capacity to instruct with the goal of student achievement. Aligning People An effective school leader aligns people by creating a culture of communication and collaboration, and by developing relationships among staff, students, families and communities. The actions off single person are unlikely to produce impacting changes; instead a team effort is required.
Solid trust, strong relationships, deep competence, core confidence, group collaboration, and individual accountability are required to effect change; to get exceptional things done, effective school leaders have to enable others to act (Souses and Poster, 2008). Effective school leaders demonstrate the skills and temperaments to foster a sense of belonging throughout the staff; they address the needs of others, share their time and knowledge, communicate clearly and concisely, and develop supportive relationships characterized by rust and respect (Knuth and Banks, 2006). A highly effective leader is a communicator.
Whether it be listening, writing, speaking, or reading, successful principals are communicating nearly 100% of the time. Shaping organizational behavior and practice relies on the fundamental leadership skill of communicating with clarity and precision (Robbins and Alva, 2004). Fostering a culture of professional collaboration is a trait of effective principals (Knuth and Banks, 2006). Effective school leaders make it possible for others to do quality work (Souses and Poster, 2008). Student learning is examined when principals directly influence how teachers learn together (Fallen, 2014).
Leaders, working collaboratively as professionals who believe in continuous growth, produce teachers that will succeed. Collaboration emerges as relationships shift between staff members, progressing from congeniality to cooperation to collegiality. Professional Learning Communities are a result of this shift, culminating with a focus of helping all students achieve and learn (Robbins and Alva, 2004). Human relations are the base of leadership. Effective school leaders actively engage staff, families, ND community to share the responsibility of student achievement. Forging these relationships creates tremendous power (Robbins and Alva, 2004).
The success of a leader is dependent on the ability to build and sustain human relationships. The quality of these relationships matters most when completion off goal is the objective. A relationship characterized by mutual respect and confidence will overcome the greatest challenges (Souses and Poster, 2008). Highly effective principals will bring out the best in their staff members (Mclean, 2003). Establishing Direction Effective school leaders establish direction for their staff and school. Leaders are expected to have a sense of direction and a concern for the future of their school; this ability is vision (Souses and Poster, 2008).
Leaders develop a vision of the future, while implementing strategies for the changes needed to accomplish that vision. Effective school leaders keep people moving in the right direction by motivating and inspiring each step of the process (Cotter, 1990). Clarity of vision, compared to other leadership qualities, is what separates leaders from other credible people (Souses and Poster, 2008). Leaders inspire and enlist others in a shared vision. Effective school leaders eave a desire to never settle for status quo; they push change, even when it is uncomfortable for others.
Highly effective leaders are change masters. They are flexible, futuristic, and realistic leaders who motivate and manage change that endures. These leaders are able to envision what low-performing or even failing schools will look like after their mission has been achieved (Mclean, 2003). They then create and implement a plan to increase student achievement. By establishing the direction of their school, effective leaders are able to challenge the process and venture out in search of opportunities o innovate, grow, and improve (Souses and Poster, 2008).
Conclusion Souses and Poster (2008) stated that leadership is an identifiable set of skills and abilities that are available to us all. A school leader must be effective to gain student achievement as its primary outcome. There are four attributes that are critical and essential in the success of an effective school leader. First, a school leader must model character by being principle-centered. Second, a school leader is to be an instructional leader. Next, the school leader must have the capacity to align people through communication, collaboration, and developing relationships.
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