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4 Top Essential Characteristics of a Successful Leader in Education

4 characteristics of a successful leader in education

Being an impressive educational leader will require you to reflect on your experience and adjust to fine-tune your educational leadership skills and expertise.

Would you like your name in bold print to be mentioned and recognized? There’s nothing wrong with being in the limelight; you don’t have to be a follower.

I’ve met many people with high ambitions and dreams of leadership that never came to fruition.

A vision and a plan to ensure success is vital to reaching your goals.

Why? Because they have not yet personally defined the leader in them or have never followed through with the necessary action. An excellent exercise is to write your statement of educational leadership and administration. 

Discover the four “Ps” of educational leadership excellence: Perspective, Progress, Priority, and Planning.

  1. Perspective

First of all, if you want to be a successful leader, you must respect the Law of Perspective. In a world that seems to place a high value on independence, realizing that you need others to learn and grow takes perspective. Ask anybody successful (and humble), and they will tell you that somebody came across their path who mentored or nurtured them, and this interaction helped them grow into the success they know today.

You don’t have it all; that’s why you must continually draw from others’ energy, experience, and intellect. If you seek the perspective of those you trust, you will find that many of your problems can be solved much faster and more efficiently. A good leader has an excellent network of mentors, advisors, colleagues, and friends who can share new perspectives, double-check big ideas, and ensure that the next steps are in the right direction.

  1. Progress

Secondly, you must respect the Law of Progress. I can’t stress enough the importance of strategic, forward-looking thinking when you are in a leadership role. The leader’s job is to stay on the cutting edge of what’s going on in their field. If you aren’t two steps ahead of everyone else, you might as well be behind. There is not enough room for second best these days.


Somebody will always be a threat to what you’re doing and what you are trying to accomplish. There will always be another individual thinking, planning, and making way for something grander while you’re sleeping. There will always be new, great ideas, and to set yourself apart as a leader in education, you must be sure that at least some of those new ideas are yours.

There is not enough room for being second best.

  1. Priority

Additionally, respect the Law of Priority. When you are responsible for a team, a department, or a campus, everyone expects you to treat their top priority as if it were your own. Conflicting pressures will demand your time, budget, attention, and mental energy, and you’ll often feel as though there is never enough of those things to satisfy all the people on your team.

The reality is that leaders, just like everybody else, have to take it one step at a time. Leaders need to have a balanced work agenda. This process requires getting priorities straight. It means deciding what needs to be done and in what order. Keep good records of your priorities using an organizational strategy that works for you.

Aspiring educational leaders need core leadership skills to become effective and valuable school administrators and leaders.

Nothing happens. Of course, it would be fabulous if we could assume that everything would work out in our favour, but that’s not how things happen in the real world. To accomplish what you value, you’ll need to make an effort, compromise, and effectively prioritize your time, resources, and energy.

  1. Planning

The first rule of the Law of Planning is that you must control your successes. What does that mean? This means that you need to pay a lot of attention to specifics and details to stay in line with what you want. Respect this law of planning by setting goals for what needs to happen and taking action to achieve your goals.

Yes, you’ll even have to make those dreaded deadlines. Keep your people, resources, and plans running at a high standard. Make your plans and keep them. Map out and write down your plans of action. They’re your blueprints for the house of success you’re building.

Being an educational leader is a multifaceted role that demands continuous growth and adaptation. By honing these essential characteristics, you can navigate the complexities of educational leadership with confidence and effectiveness, driving positive change and fostering success within your educational community.