Educational leadership sets the direction for most student-learning organizations. These roles are crucial in shaping every academic organization’s educational structure, but some school leaders engage them more effectively than others.
Efficient educational leaders are developed by the practices they implement in their roles. Although you can learn them on the job, it is important to acquire these practices before starting the job. You can also learn more about the various skills of educational leaders from Marymount University’s online Ed.D programs.
Here is a look at some of the top educational leadership practices to help school leaders transform their academic organization into a thriving hub of innovation, creativity and student success.
Top 10 educational leadership practices
Educational leadership practices help leaders monitor their actions and decisions so they can create a positive learning environment. Following these leadership practices can help build a successful academic organization.
Establish a shared vision
This involves setting a clear direction for the school and aligning the efforts of all stakeholders toward that goal. A shared vision and mission create a guiding light for the school community, giving each person a sense of purpose and direction.
It also creates a unified and purposed outlook among faculty, students, staff and parents. Sharing your vision with these people will help set values and beliefs that will shape the culture and identity of the educational organization.
However, the vision and mission a school leader proposes must reflect the needs and aspirations of the school community. You must avoid personalized tasks that do not benefit stakeholders in your educational community.
To achieve this, school leaders should involve and communicate with all stakeholders, including teachers and students, to identify common goals. These communications can range from holding focus groups and conducting surveys to having open forums for students and their parents and employing more tutors. This will help leaders understand their stakeholders’ stances and create a mission that considers them.
School leaders must also ensure that these visions and missions are woven tightly into the school’s fabric. You can achieve this by setting goals and objectives that align with the mission and incorporating them into daily educational activities and decision-making processes.
Consistently reinforcing the vision and mission can help school leaders create an educational culture that is focused on continuously improving the school community.
Improve student learning
Setting clear goals and objectives for student learning entails establishing specific and measurable targets for student achievement. As an educational leader, you must ensure the students in your learning community understand certain expectations and help them work toward them. For example, you can create extracurricular activities to help polish your students’ resumes for easy access to scholarships, but it is crucial to help them understand the importance of these activities.
Educational leaders must create goals and objectives that align with the school’s standard and national criteria. These goals must be realistic, specific and achievable so students have a reasonable amount of time to accomplish them. However, you need input from educational stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, and students, to create a compelling learning process for students.
School leaders must be able to incorporate these learning processes into the school’s curriculum and instructional practices. This way, leaders can set specific benchmarks to monitor students’ progress, track their progress, and provide resources and support to help students meet their goals.
Foster a positive and inclusive school culture
A thriving educational community involves creating a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for students, teachers and everyone else. You must create an academic environment where everyone feels valued and respected, including assistant teachers, administrators and janitors.
A positive school culture can impact student learning processes significantly. Knowing they are in a safe and accepting environment can help students create a sense of belonging and ownership, fostering a responsible approach to learning. This isn’t limited to the students, however. Faculty and staff can also enjoy a sense of community, creating a more positive and productive working environment.
However, school leaders must establish clear and concise expectations and behavior guidelines to foster a positive school culture. These guidelines ensure that everyone knows their responsibilities and is intent on carrying them out. You should also establish systems to address conflicts and listen to opinions and suggestions. These systems will help promote positive relationships between you and the community.
It is crucial to prioritize equality in an inclusive environment. This means that every student must feel welcomed, regardless of their background or abilities. For example, this can involve:
- Providing support and resources to students with special needs.
- Encouraging cultural competency among staff.
- Establishing an equality stance to help students treat themselves equally in all educational aspects.
Build strong relationships
You must build solid relationships with your community members to establish efficient educational leadership. This involves bonding and connecting with members of your school community. You can achieve this by creating a supportive learning environment that helps teachers and students carry out their responsibilities effectively. Strong relationships help foster collaboration among staff, parents and students.
However, you must be approachable and social to build these relationships. It is important to make an effort to personally know and relate with students, staff and other community members. A capable educational leader must be transparent and open to honest communication. They must also be willing to listen and respond to the school community’s concerns and take follow-up actions to solve them.
Besides fostering a personal relationship with each individual, school leaders must also build strong relationships among different groups within the community. For example, you need to establish a community where everyone communicates well with one another. This can involve building partnerships with local businesses in the area, organizations that impact your educational performance and community leaders who influence the system.
Encourage collaboration and teamwork among faculty and staff
The school’s faculty is not the only entity that keeps an educational organization going. Many other staff members play crucial roles in strengthening the learning process. Educational leaders must encourage collaboration and teamwork among faculty, such as professors and teachers, and teams, such as school nurses, administrators and paraprofessionals.
An efficient leader must create an environment that promotes cooperation and the sharing of ideas among faculty and staff. This can increase productivity and efficiency and create a positive and supportive work environment.
As a school leader, you should foster a culture of mutual respect between the two parties, allow open communication and provide opportunities for them to work together. This can involve providing professional development opportunities that encourage faculty and staff to discuss and share developmental ideas to promote the school’s success.
In addition to promoting collaboration within the school, you can also encourage partnerships with external entities, such as district offices, community organizations and other schools. Your educational organization can leverage the strength and resources of multiple stakeholders it works with to improve the quality of its services and meet the needs of its students.
Implement data in the decision-making process
Effective data use in decision-making involves collecting and analyzing data on various matters, such as student achievement, instructional practices and school operations. This information can serve as a guide to decision-making and support educational improvement.
Data-driven decision-making assists school leaders in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the school to aid decisions when setting goals and priorities for the school. It is also a way to access evidence-based changes and track the school’s progress over time.
Educational leaders must develop a system for collecting and analyzing relevant and reliable data to improve the school’s competency. For example, you can establish data teams or committees to oversee the compilation and sorting of data for inspection or provide learning opportunities for academic staff to build their data literacy skills.
Promote professional growth and development for all staff members
Supporting all staff members’ professional growth and development is crucial in building a literate, positive and successful educational system. Educational leaders should actively provide opportunities for their members to learn and grow in their roles, supporting their professional development.
Investing in professional growth and development can provide a range of benefits for the school. Some of the potential benefits include:
- Improved quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning: Opportunities for professional growth can help faculty and staff develop the knowledge and skills needed to deliver high-quality instruction. This can lead to improvements in student learning outcomes and a more positive educational environment.
- Increased job satisfaction and retention: Employees with the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in their roles may experience higher job satisfaction and be more likely to remain with the organization.
- Improved continuous learning: Schools prioritizing professional development can cultivate a constant learning and improvement culture, leading to a shared purpose and teamwork among faculty and staff.
However, school leaders should only establish opportunities that agree with the needs and goals of the school and individual staff members. This means that you must avoid conferences, courses and other educational structures that add no value to the members of your school community.
You can replace these opportunities with in-house professional development programs and support for those who wish to pursue external learning opportunities.
Moreover, school leaders should create a culture that values and supports ongoing professional development. This includes recognizing and rewarding your staff’s efforts to improve their roles and providing resources to help them succeed.
Use resources effectively
Educational leaders are responsible for overseeing the effective use of school resources. This involves using available resources, such as financial resources, staff time, and facilities, to maximize their impact on student learning and achievements.
Effective resource management can also help school leaders create an efficient and cost-effective school environment. This is possible through better allocation of resources to various departments to meet the needs of students and staff. It’s also a way to create a better and more sustainable system that can withstand financial challenges.
School leaders should also create a system for planning, budgeting, tracking and monitoring resource usage to ensure that members are not splurging or using them needlessly.
Effective communication with all stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, and community members, is essential to build leadership. There are several strategies to use when communicating with stakeholders.
- Be clear and concise: Stakeholders are different personalities that come together to achieve one goal. Because of their varying personalities, they might not be familiar with technical languages or jargon. Ensure you speak clearly and concisely so that everybody understands.
- Use multiple channels: Different stakeholders may prefer different modes of communication. For example, some parents prefer face-to-face meetings, while others prefer email or text messages. You should use multiple channels to help you reach a wider audience and ensure that all stakeholders receive your messages.
- Listen actively: Effective communication is a two-way process. It is crucial to listen to the concerns and ideas of stakeholders on matters concerning the school’s development. However, you shouldn’t only listen; you must find solutions to these problems in a way that suits everyone. This fosters trust and improves collaboration in the community.
- Be responsive: Don’t keep stakeholders waiting. No parent or teacher wants a delayed response regarding their children or students’ progress or any other concerns. Be sure to respond to them immediately and keep them informed of changes.
Be a model
Educational leaders set the tone for the entire organization through their actions and behaviors. Therefore, you must consistently demonstrate ethical conduct to create a positive and respectful culture. Some of the ways you can lead by example include:
- Be consistent: Consistency in your work shows other organization members a path to follow. You should ensure consistency in your expectations for others and how you treat your members. Nobody likes a “hot and cold” leader. Be consistent with good leadership traits and encourage others to do the same.
- Be transparent: Educational leaders must be exemplary in their dealings and decision-making processes to build trust and demonstrate ethical behavior among their staff.
- Be responsible: Many people look up to you as an education leader and follow your example. You should be accountable for your actions and decisions so you encourage others to do the same.
- Be respectful: Ethical leadership entails respecting others, including students, teachers, and other stakeholders. This can also encourage respect in the organization.
Educational leadership plays a crucial role in shaping the learning experiences of students. Therefore, educational leaders must inspire and guide others toward a shared vision of excellence to impact the students’ improvement.
It is crucial for educational leaders to constantly strive for improvement and remain active by seeking opportunities to learn and grow in their position. This prepares them for the challenges of their job and helps them support students in reaching their full potential.