THE TRAITS OF EFFECTIVE SCHOOL LEADERS
NARCISO I. AMBROCIO, JR.
In the modern day context of educational management, school heads mainly referring to principals, officers-in-charge, and department heads are put under the microscope of carefully-crafted rubrics of measuring effectiveness. Gone were the days wherein the criteria of arriving to a conclusion as to effectiveness of school management were generally confined to improvement of physical surroundings, enrollment rate, and passing scholastic marks. Challenged by the growing demands of the educational institutions, school heads must take head on new policies, pedagogical shifts, and institutional measuring mechanisms. These challenges require the school heads to seriously scrutinize their capacity to both survive and thrive on this new and dynamic academic environment and the first stop to this selfcheck is a good look into the most important traits school leaders must possess.
According to Hackman and Johnson (2000), there are 3 most evident traits acquired, developed and practiced constantly by effective school leaders; the first of these traits is excellent interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills refer to the ability of a person to relate and communicate to people with relative ease and recognition of their unique perspective and situation. The propensity to relate to people’s situation makes a leader step on to the shoe of the other party with empathy and understanding. With a more personal approach to people management, the school leader is inclined to inquire more and understand the situation better and eventually dispense authority fairly. Effective communication, on the other hand, enables the school leader to navigate through this empathic relationship with people in clear, supportive, but firm and respectful manner. Communication methods mainly provide the tangible evidence of a leader’s effective interpersonal skills. Sensitivity, emotional stability and self-confidence are some of the given factors in this trait.
The second trait is the school head’s good cognitive level. Knowledge is a foundation from which a leader springs into authority. Like a teacher to many teachers, the expertise on various policies and general information should be part of the school head’s multiple talents. The school leader is expected to be always one step ahead in terms of educational trends, pedagogical revolution, and knowledge on related current events. The school head needs not to be perceived by the subordinates as intelligent but needs to be always seen as informed and in the zone.
Finally, administrative acumen is a requirement for effective school leadership. This is the trait that enables a school head deliver the benefits of excellent interpersonal relationships between and among the school’s stakeholders, as well as the knowledge and expertise on many areas to the advantage of the school and the learners. This is where the highest outward challenge for school heads intricately and delicately resides because this is the area wherein personal relations, policies, and professional concerns merge into one important identity into which the image and influence of the school head may be related to in long term. The school head’s method on planning, organizing, staffing, and implementing projects and programs, resolving conflicts, and decision-making are some of the challenges administrative expertise should be effectively applied.— oOo—
The author is Teacher III (Science) at Dapdap High School, Bamban, Tarlac, Division Of Tarlac Province