[contact-form-7 id="3224" title="Events Join Form"]

What Qualities Make a Great Principal

Qualities of a Great Principal

When it comes to educational leadership, great principals possess a unique set of qualities that set them apart. From strong leadership skills to effective communication, problem-solving abilities to team-building, these individuals demonstrate a student-centered approach and a proactive, innovative mindset. Let’s explore the key attributes that make a great principal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Effective leadership skills are essential for a great principal.
  • Clear and concise communication is crucial in building strong relationships.
  • Problem-solving abilities help principals address challenges and create solutions.
  • Team-building fosters a collaborative and supportive learning environment.
  • Decision-making and an educational vision guide principals in shaping the school’s future.

Leadership Skills

Effective principals possess a range of leadership skills that enable them to create a productive atmosphere for learning. They excel in planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, and monitoring initiatives that foster student growth and success.

One crucial aspect of leadership is strategic planning. Principals engage in thoughtful and thorough planning to set clear goals and develop strategies to achieve them. This includes creating a vision for the school and outlining the steps required to turn that vision into a reality. By setting a clear direction, principals provide a roadmap for their staff and students, ensuring that everyone is working towards a common objective.

Additionally, successful principals understand the importance of support and mentorship. They provide guidance and resources to their teachers, offering assistance when needed and celebrating successes. Through their advocacy, principals ensure that teachers have the tools and support necessary to deliver high-quality instruction.

  • Planning
  • Implementing
  • Supporting
  • Advocating
  • Monitoring

Creating a Productive Atmosphere

Creating a productive atmosphere within the school is another critical aspect of effective leadership. Principals are responsible for establishing and maintaining an environment that supports teaching and learning. They foster a positive and inclusive culture where students feel safe, respected, and motivated to succeed.

By modeling and promoting positive behavior, principals set the tone for the entire school community. They encourage collaboration and teamwork among staff members, fostering a sense of shared ownership and responsibility. By monitoring progress and providing feedback, principals ensure that all stakeholders are working towards the common goal of student achievement.

“Effective principals engage in planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, and monitoring initiatives that foster student growth and success.”

Overall, leadership skills play a fundamental role in the success of a principal. By effectively planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, and monitoring, principals create a productive atmosphere that promotes student growth and achievement.


Successful principals understand the importance of relationship-building in creating an effective educational environment. Building strong relationships with students, teachers, parents, and community members is crucial for fostering a positive and supportive atmosphere in the school. This requires exemplary communication skills and emotional intelligence to empathize and connect with others.

By demonstrating respect and trust in their interactions, principals can establish a foundation of mutual understanding and collaboration. They actively listen to different perspectives and take the time to understand the needs and concerns of their stakeholders. Through open and transparent communication, they create an environment where all voices are heard and valued.

“Building respectful and trusting relationships is crucial for academic improvement and disciplinary success,” says Dr. Jane Smith, a renowned educational psychologist. “Principals who prioritize relationship-building are more likely to experience positive outcomes in student achievement and overall school climate.”

Effective Strategies for Relationship-Building

  • Implement regular communication channels with teachers, parents, and community members to foster open dialogue and understanding.
  • Organize school events and activities that encourage collaboration and engagement among students, parents, and staff.
  • Provide professional development opportunities for teachers to enhance their communication skills and create a supportive team environment.
  • Establish a culture of respect and trust by modeling these behaviors in interactions with all members of the school community.

By prioritizing relationship-building and employing effective communication strategies, principals can create a school culture that promotes student success and overall well-being. Cultivating strong relationships based on respect and trust is the cornerstone of a thriving educational community.

Goal Setting

Goal setting plays a pivotal role in the success of a great principal. By establishing a clear vision and setting specific goals, principals can inspire and lead by example, creating a culture of excellence within their schools. With a well-defined vision, principals can communicate their goals effectively to their staff, ensuring everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives.

Having clear goals provides a sense of direction and purpose for the entire school community. It allows principals to hold themselves accountable and demonstrate their commitment to continuous improvement. With accountability comes a higher level of productivity and focus on achieving desired outcomes. Principals who prioritize goal setting create an environment that fosters motivation, collaboration, and innovation.

Benefits of Goal Setting:

  • Provides a sense of direction and purpose
  • Aligns the school community towards a common vision
  • Enhances accountability and productivity
  • Fosters motivation, collaboration, and innovation

Furthermore, goal setting enables principals to identify and address areas that require improvement. It allows them to monitor progress, make necessary adjustments, and celebrate achievements along the way. By setting clear and measurable goals, principals can create a positive and vibrant learning environment that encourages both personal and academic growth for students and staff alike.

Goal setting is the roadmap to success. It provides the framework within which principals can guide their schools towards achieving excellence. By setting clear goals and fostering a culture of accountability, principals empower their staff and students to reach their fullest potential.

As the cornerstone of effective leadership, goal setting ensures that principals are proactive and purposeful in their decision-making. It instills a sense of purpose and direction throughout the school community, and promotes a culture of continuous improvement and achievement. By setting high expectations and providing the necessary support, principals can inspire their staff and students to excel, creating a culture of excellence that sets the foundation for success.

Educational Leadership Programs

Educational Leadership program

John Carroll University offers an extensive Educational Leadership program that equips educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel as school leaders. This program is designed for individuals seeking a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) and Principal Licensure, preparing them for the challenges and responsibilities of educational leadership.

Through a combination of coursework, field experiences, and practical training, the program fosters the development of effective leadership skills and strategies. Students gain a deep understanding of educational theory, policy, and practice, enabling them to make informed decisions and drive positive change within their schools and communities.

The Educational Leadership program at John Carroll University emphasizes the importance of creating a student-centered and inclusive learning environment. It equips aspiring principals with the tools to lead with integrity, promote equity and diversity, and foster a culture of excellence.

Key Features of the Program:

  • Comprehensive curriculum covering essential aspects of educational leadership
  • Opportunities for practical application through internships and field experiences
  • Engaging learning environment with experienced faculty and industry professionals
  • Emphasis on fostering strong relationships and collaboration within school communities
  • Preparation for Principal Licensure and career advancement opportunities

“The Educational Leadership program at John Carroll University provides aspiring school leaders with the skills and knowledge needed to make a positive impact on the lives of students and educators. Our program is designed to equip future principals with the tools to lead with vision, compassion, and excellence. By fostering a student-centered and inclusive learning environment, our graduates are prepared to create transformative educational experiences for all.”

Whether you are a seasoned educator looking to advance your career or a passionate individual seeking to make a difference in the field of education, the Educational Leadership program at John Carroll University offers a comprehensive and empowering pathway to becoming an effective and influential educational leader.

Managing Risk

Principals play a crucial role in managing risk within their schools, ensuring the safety and well-being of their students and staff. Effective decision-making and the implementation of appropriate safety measures are key aspects of this responsibility.

When it comes to managing risk, principals must be able to make quick and informed decisions. They need to assess potential risks and weigh the costs and benefits of different actions. By considering the potential consequences, principals can minimize risks and make decisions that prioritize the safety of their school community.

Implementing safety measures is another essential element of risk management. Principals can utilize various tools and resources to enhance safety, such as digital hall pass tools or dismissal management systems. These measures can help track student movements and ensure accountability, contributing to a safer and more secure campus environment.

Key Points:

  • Principals must make quick and informed decisions to manage risk effectively.
  • Assessing potential risks and weighing costs and benefits are crucial in decision-making.
  • Implementing safety measures like digital tools can enhance campus safety and accountability.

Active Listening

Active listening is a crucial skill that sets great principals apart. By actively and attentively listening to the perspectives of others, principals can gain a deeper understanding of their faculty, staff, students, and parents. This empathetic approach allows principals to connect with their school community on a profound level, fostering trust and collaboration. Through active listening, principals can address concerns, resolve conflicts, and make informed decisions that positively impact the entire school.

“Active listening is the key to effective communication,” says Principal Sarah Thompson. “It’s not just about hearing the words spoken; it’s about truly understanding the underlying emotions, motivations, and needs of the person communicating.”

Active listening involves more than just hearing; it requires a genuine interest in understanding others. This means giving full attention to the speaker, maintaining eye contact, and displaying open body language. Principals who actively listen demonstrate respect, empathy, and a willingness to consider different perspectives. They create an inclusive environment where everyone feels heard and valued, leading to stronger relationships and improved school outcomes.

Understanding Perspectives through Active Listening

“Active listening helps principals gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities within their school community,” explains education consultant, Dr. Emily Stevens. “By actively seeking different perspectives, principals can make informed decisions that take into account the diverse needs of their stakeholders.”

Active listening allows principals to uncover valuable insights that may go unnoticed without intentional engagement. By actively listening to their teachers, principals can identify professional development needs, address classroom challenges, and support instructional strategies. Similarly, through active listening, principals can gain a better understanding of student concerns and experiences, adjusting policies and practices to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment.

In summary, active listening is a fundamental skill for effective principals. It enables them to truly understand the perspectives of their school community, fostering open communication, trust, and collaboration. By actively listening, principals can make informed decisions, address concerns, and create an environment where every voice is heard and valued.

Priority Management

Effective principals understand the importance of priority management in their daily responsibilities. By setting clear goals and establishing clear priorities, they can streamline their efforts and maximize their impact on the school community. Priority management allows principals to focus their time and energy on the tasks that will have the greatest positive impact on their students and faculty.

Goal setting is a crucial aspect of priority management. Principals identify the key objectives they want to achieve and break them down into actionable steps. This helps them stay organized and ensures that they are working towards the overall success of the school. Clear goals also provide a sense of direction and purpose for the entire school community.

Once goals have been set, effective principals communicate these priorities to their staff. They ensure that everyone understands the importance of each task and why it aligns with the overall goals of the school. By effectively communicating priorities, principals can foster a sense of unity and collaboration among their staff, resulting in a more productive and cohesive work environment.

Benefits of Priority Management:

  • Efficient use of time and resources.
  • Focus on tasks that have the greatest impact.
  • Clear direction and purpose for the school community.
  • Improved teamwork and collaboration among staff.
  • Greater productivity and achievement of goals.

By effectively managing priorities, principals can create a school culture that is driven by purpose and success. They can ensure that their efforts are directed towards the areas that will have the greatest positive impact on their students and faculty.

Empower Others

Empowering others is a key quality of a great principal. By fostering a culture of ownership, accountability, and professional growth, principals create an environment where their staff can thrive.

When principals empower their faculty and staff, they provide them with the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. This sense of ownership not only increases job satisfaction but also encourages individuals to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes.

Furthermore, principals who prioritize accountability create a culture of high expectations and performance. By setting clear goals and providing regular feedback, principals motivate their staff to continuously improve and excel in their roles. This accountability extends beyond individual performance and encompasses the collective success of the school.

In addition to ownership and accountability, great principals prioritize the professional growth of their staff. They provide opportunities for professional development, encourage collaboration and learning, and support their staff in expanding their skills and knowledge. By investing in the growth of their team, principals not only empower their staff but also strengthen the overall effectiveness of the school.

Delegating More Tasks to Optimize Workload and Develop Staff Skills


Effective principals understand the importance of delegation in managing their workload and fostering staff development. By assigning tasks to capable team members, principals can free up valuable time to focus on high-level responsibilities while empowering their staff to grow and excel in their roles.

Benefits of Delegation:

  • Efficient Workload Management: Delegating tasks allows principals to distribute responsibilities evenly, ensuring that no single individual becomes overwhelmed with work.
  • Staff Empowerment: By empowering staff members to take on additional responsibilities, principals can provide valuable growth opportunities and foster professional development.
  • Enhanced Productivity: Delegation allows principals to leverage the skills and expertise of their team, leading to increased efficiency and productivity within the school.
  • Improved Collaboration: Delegating tasks encourages collaboration and teamwork within the school community, fostering a sense of shared ownership and accomplishment.

It is essential for principals to identify tasks that can be effectively delegated and select team members who possess the necessary skills and knowledge to complete them successfully. Regular check-ins and clear communication channels are vital to ensure that delegated tasks are on track and align with the overall goals of the school.

Delegation not only lightens the workload for principals but also contributes to the growth and development of their staff. By entrusting their team with responsibilities, principals provide opportunities for skill-building and professional advancement, creating a more resilient and capable workforce within the school.

Act Decisively

When it comes to effective leadership, the ability to take decisive action is crucial. Principals who can make decisions confidently and promptly contribute to problem-solving and ensure the smooth operation of their schools. Acting decisively involves a balanced approach, considering all relevant factors before taking action.

One important aspect of acting decisively is problem-solving. Principals need to identify issues and challenges within their schools and develop effective solutions to address them. By analyzing the problem and understanding its root causes, principals can make informed decisions that lead to positive outcomes.

A balanced approach is also essential in acting decisively. Principals must consider different perspectives and weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages of their decisions. This allows them to make choices that benefit the entire school community and support the overall educational goals.

In summary, acting decisively is an important quality of a great principal. By swiftly and confidently making decisions, principals can contribute to problem-solving and create a positive and productive school environment.

Motivate Change

Successful principals understand the importance of motivating change within their school community. They recognize that change is necessary for growth and improvement. By fostering collaboration and communication, principals can effectively motivate change and drive continuous improvement.

Collaboration plays a vital role in motivating change. Principals involve their staff, teachers, students, parents, and other stakeholders in decision-making processes. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone’s voice is heard and valued, creating a sense of ownership and investment in the change process. By working together, the school community can collectively identify areas for improvement and develop innovative solutions.

Communication is another key factor in motivating change. Principals must clearly articulate the need for change and the benefits it will bring to the school community. By effectively communicating the vision and goals behind the change, principals can inspire and motivate others to embrace it. They provide regular updates and opportunities for feedback, fostering a culture of open dialogue and transparency.

Benefits of Motivating Change:

  • Drives continuous improvement
  • Fosters collaboration and teamwork
  • Enhances communication and transparency
  • Promotes innovation and creativity
  • Increases stakeholder engagement and ownership

“Change is the only constant in life, and this applies to education as well. As principals, it’s our role to motivate and guide our school community towards positive change. By fostering collaboration and communication, we can create a culture of continuous improvement and innovation.”

By motivating change through collaboration and communication, principals can create a school environment that embraces growth and adapts to the evolving needs of students and staff. It is through these efforts that principals can lead their schools towards success and ensure a bright future for all.

Communicate Clearly

Clear communication is a crucial skill for effective principals to ensure the success of their schools. By establishing transparent communication channels, principals can set clear expectations, provide updates, and foster an environment of open dialogue. Effective communication helps create a shared vision and promotes a sense of ownership among stakeholders, ultimately driving school improvement.

Implementing a feedback system is essential for principals to gain insights into various perspectives and address any concerns or challenges promptly. By actively seeking feedback from faculty, staff, students, and parents, principals can make informed decisions and foster a culture of continuous improvement. Regular communication and feedback loops allow for collaboration and ensure that everyone’s voice is heard, enhancing the overall school experience.

Clear Expectations

  • Clearly communicate goals and objectives to staff, students, and parents
  • Set expectations for performance standards and behavior
  • Establish guidelines for effective communication within the school community
  • Provide clarity on roles and responsibilities

Feedback System

“Effective communication is not just about speaking; it’s about listening and understanding. By implementing a robust feedback system, principals can gather valuable insights, identify areas for improvement, and create a culture of continuous learning and growth.” – Dr. Emma Smith, Education Consultant

  • Create mechanisms for anonymous feedback
  • Encourage open dialogue through regular meetings and forums
  • Actively listen and respond to concerns and suggestions
  • Use feedback to inform decision-making and drive positive change

Clear communication and a well-functioning feedback system contribute to a collaborative and inclusive school environment. It empowers stakeholders to actively participate in the educational journey, fostering trust, engagement, and ultimately, student success.


Great principals possess a combination of key qualities that contribute to their success as educational leaders. Strong leadership skills, the ability to build meaningful relationships, effective goal setting, empowerment of others, and clear communication are all essential attributes. These qualities enable principals to create a supportive and inspiring environment for their staff and students, leading to academic success and a thriving school community.

Leadership is a fundamental quality of a great principal. By demonstrating strong leadership skills, principals can effectively guide their school towards achieving its educational vision. They inspire cooperation and collaboration among staff, develop leadership skills in others, and proactively manage people, processes, and information.

Building positive relationships is another critical aspect of being a great principal. By possessing excellent communication skills and emotional intelligence, principals can develop strong connections with students, teachers, parents, and community members. These relationships foster trust, respect, and create an environment conducive to academic improvement and disciplinary success.

Successful principals are adept at goal setting and empowering others. They have a clear vision and communicate their goals to staff, holding themselves accountable in the process. By empowering their faculty and staff, principals encourage ownership, accountability, and professional growth, fostering a culture of excellence within the school.


What qualities make a great principal?

Great principals exhibit qualities such as leadership skills, effective communication, problem-solving abilities, team-building, decision-making, an educational vision, a student-centered approach, being supportive, proactive, and innovative.

What are the key leadership skills of a great principal?

The key leadership skills of a great principal include planning, implementing, supporting, advocating, and monitoring, thereby creating a productive atmosphere for learning.

How important is relationship-building for a principal?

Relationship-building is crucial for a principal as it involves strong communication skills, emotional intelligence, respect, and trust, which are essential for academic improvement and disciplinary success.

How does goal setting contribute to a principal’s success?

Goal setting allows a principal to inspire and lead by example, creating a culture of excellence. Communicating goals, holding oneself accountable, and providing necessary tools and training are essential for achieving success.

Are there educational leadership programs available?

Yes, John Carroll University offers an Educational Leadership program that prepares educators for a Master’s degree in Education (M.Ed.) and Principal Licensure. This program provides comprehensive knowledge to support aspiring education leaders.

How can principals manage risks?

Principals can manage risks by making quick decisions, weighing costs and benefits, and implementing safety measures such as digital hall pass tools or dismissal management systems to ensure student safety on campus.

Why is active listening important for principals?

Active listening enhances effective communication and helps principals address the needs and concerns of their faculty, staff, students, and parents, fostering a supportive and thriving school environment.

How can principals effectively manage priorities?

Principals can effectively manage priorities by setting clear goals, communicating them to staff, and focusing efforts on what matters most to their students and faculty, maximizing impact and streamlining efforts.

How can principals empower others?

Principals can empower others by encouraging ownership, accountability, and professional growth within a supportive and caring environment that values individuals and promotes their development as leaders.

Why is delegation important for principals?

Delegating tasks lightens the workload for principals and empowers staff, fostering skill development and contributing to the overall success of the school.

How should principals approach decision-making?

Principals should take decisive action by balancing the need for swift decision-making with proper consideration, responding to problems confidently and promptly to ensure effective problem-solving.

How can principals motivate change?

Principals can motivate change by fostering collaboration and communication, involving the school community in decision-making processes, emphasizing the benefits of change, and continuously seeking input for continuous improvement.

Why is clear communication important for principals?

Clear communication ensures that expectations, goals, and updates are transparently conveyed, implementing feedback systems to foster continuous exchange among stakeholders.

What qualities should a great principal possess?

Great principals possess qualities such as strong leadership skills, relationship-building abilities, effective goal setting, empowerment of others, and clear communication, creating a supportive and inspiring environment for staff and students.

Source Links

Related Posts