My Concept of the Ideal Principal

author:  lindaween
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A principal is a leader within the school system whose job description covers most aspects in the running of school affairs ranging from curriculum designing to policy making among other things. This means that the principal is primarily the key figure in the school setting and that their characteristics and attributes have a great impact on how the school is run. The traits that they hold can be translated into the school policies that they draft and implement, thus in most cases schools are a representation of the principal in charge at that particular time. However, it does not mean that rules and regulations that protect the school systems from the principals are not in existence. The rules do exist, but they are mostly a framework that has dos and don’ts such that the processes used for the dos and against the don’ts are often up to the principal. The current paper discusses the ideal principal with respect to their major qualities in leadership.
The ideal school principal is one who can create and shape a vision that is not only clear but also relevant to the school as a whole. This requires understanding the long-term goals of the school, the needs of the students and their parents as well as the abilities of the teachers and school staff members and using these to come up with one focus for the entire school community. It is widely agreed that schools should be committed to high standards for the students and thus the ideal principal is one who emphasizes the concept of high expectations at all times and for all students.
The first expectation of a parent when looking for a school is a conducive learning environment not just in terms of the buildings but also with respect to the attitudes of the teachers and other students. The principal has a responsibility to shape the school into the best possible learning environment, implying that the ideal principal is one who can create such an environment. Creating a conducive environment implies that the principal has to set the tone for the teachers as well as the students with respect to how they interact with one another. This makes the ideal principal some sort of a mentor to the teachers and a disciplinarian to the students. To do the job effectively, good principles should be able to inspire trust so that they can be relied on for support by the teachers, students, and parents alike when needed.
Talent Developers
A good leader in any given field should be able to develop leadership qualities in others. In a school setting, the principal should be able to spot the students and teachers who could become good leaders and find a way of helping them to realize their potentials. Running a school is not an easy task and the ideal principal is one who recognizes this and sets out to groom a group of leaders who serve as a support system in running the school. In this way, they do not have to do everything in the school but can rather delegate the tasks as they see appropriate based on the capabilities of the leaders. This also applies to all the other talents, not just leadership. The ideal principal is always encouraging the students and teachers to exploit their talents and reach the full limits of their potential.
Change Manager
A good leader is a good change manager, preferably with an inclination towards incremental innovation. In the school setting, the ideal principal would be one who allows the teachers to explore new ways of improving the learning experience for the benefit of the students. While education is mostly an evidence-based discipline, there are times when innovation can yield positive results where the tried and tested mechanisms have failed. This means that the ideal principal must be able to encourage the teachers to experiment where they feel they can do better than the textbooks provided it does not endanger the students in any way. In addition, the education sector is constantly improving with the advancements in technology. This means that the school is likely to be in a consistent wave of change that must be managed adequately in order to ensure that all goes well.
People and Task Oriented
Like all good leaders, the ideal principal must be able to balance between managing people and tasks. This implies that they have to be both transactional and transformative considering that the school setting runs on schedules and deadlines. Without imposing on the teachers or the students, the ideal principal should be able to get things done and help the people growing in their respective positions as students or teachers. This means that the ideal principal is one who is able to understand when to use which leadership style, thus requiring an understanding of numerous leadership styles and a specifically impressive emotional intelligence so that they can be able to relate well with the teachers, students, and support staff members.
When it comes to leading a school, one must be able to understand and do a number of things. Rather than just being the typical leader or manager, the ideal principal must be a mentor as well as a disciplinarian. They must also be fully engaging in school activities for better understanding and management of the school environment.
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