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7 Tips for The Successful Principal

Successful School Principal Tips
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Successful School Principal TipsWhether you are in your first year as an administrator or you have decades of experience, it’s always a good idea to periodically take a few moments and reflect on the effectiveness of your performance. These 7 tips for the successful school principal will help you stay focused, set goals and create a manageable workload so you can serve your students, parents and faculty in the best way possible.

1. Delegate and Trust Your Staff.

Don’t be the go-to person every time a student is late for class or misses a homework assignment. Do be present and available when serious discipline and safety issues arise. Empower teachers to manage their relationships with parents and students, and to approach other support staff such as department chairs, the school psychologist and the vice principal(s) when they are in need of a consultation or assistance. Teachers need support and people to bounce ideas off of, but you don’t need to be the one they reach out to on a daily basis. 

2. Keep Open Communication

While you don’t want to know about every absence, you do need to make it clear to your faculty and staff that you are available to them when more serious issues arise. Sometimes they will be reluctant to tell you the truth for fear of appearing to be disloyal to colleagues or students. By surrounding yourself with confident and capable teacher leaders, you can ensure that important information gets to you, even if teachers and students themselves are reluctant to share directly. These leaders can help you keep a handle on the pulse of the faculty, as teachers often share things with each other and other faculty members that they may not be comfortable sharing with the principal first hand. If a teacher has a problem or a concern regarding a teacher leader or direct supervisor, it should be clear to them that you are available and open to discussions about such challenges. 

3. Be Confident and Consistent

Follow through on everything you say, including promises and punishments. Whether you are talking to teachers, parents or students, your word is worth more than you can imagine. When everyone knows that you stand by your promises, you will get a reputation for being consistent and reliable. Everyone appreciates and respects consistency. It creates trust. Students and teachers need to know what to expect in school, and being consistent in your decisions will go further than you would think. 

4. Keep a Balance Of Warmth and Distance

It might be nice to feel like you have a close personal relationship with teachers, but ultimately they will appreciate having someone to look up to more than another work buddy. You want to be approachable, so people will come to you when they need to, but no so much so that executive decisions become personal ones. Some principals will hang out in the teachers room during breaks to maintain a constant presence, while others consider this to be unprofessional. Every principal should make a conscious decision about this. The teachers’ room is your faculty’s safe space, and you may choose to be a part of that, but if you do make that choice, it could come at the expense of your professional distance or make teachers feel like you don’t trust them. 

5. Get Organized and Stay On Top Of Things

Keep a record of all meetings and communications whether they are with teachers, students, parents or  the school district. Make sure that any agreements you have are clear and in writing. Don’t allow anything to pile up on your desk. When you have a neat and organized office, everything will run more smoothly. People respect order and consistency. Organization makes you dependable and exudes professionalism. 

6. Keep To A Strict Schedule

Make sure that all of your meetings start and end on time. Everyone wants to feel like their time is valued, so you don’t want anyone waiting around because you are running late. In situations where you are not in control of timing, try to leave some open hours after a scheduled event or meeting in case it runs late. It’s always better to end up with a bit of extra time than to insult anyone by missing a meeting. 

7. Show Your Human Side

Principals are often expected to be superhuman, but let’s face it, they aren’t. Without compromising on your values, principles or position, you can still create real connections with students, teachers and parents. You can smile and make jokes when appropriate. You can share some carefully-chosen personal anecdotes or details. By showing that you are a real person in additional to being a principal, you make yourself relatable and like-able. You have to bring yourself to the job or you won’t get anywhere. 

By making deliberate choices about leadership style, goals and ideals, a principal can set him or herself up for success. No matter how experienced an administrator you are, take the time to evaluate your performance in each of these 7 areas and make note of both your strengths and the areas you need to work on. (it’s always good to try new things and work on your professional relationships. The more you put into doing your job in the best way possible,) The more you work on improving your professional relationships, the better chance you have of being a truly successful principal and the educational leader that your students and teachers need.

One Response to 7 Tips for The Successful Principal

  1. Kaaiser says:

    Every principal should follow these tips. thanks for your good post.

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