School Leadership: The 8 Critical Areas


There is enough research on leadership to fill oceans. Indeed, we can easily find ourselves swimming in the leadership data and wondering where to focus our energies.

Since most leadership research doesn’t focus on school leadership, how do we know what’s most important for school leaders? After all, schools are unique institutions. It stands to reason that they require a unique kind of leadership.

Thankfully, Independent School Management conducted research on school leadership and found that effective school leaders do the following exceptionally well:

  • Vigorously seek to develop a faculty culture focused on professional development
  • Give public, positive reinforcement to deserving employees and students
  • Promote an ongoing faculty conversation regarding high expectations and support for students
  • Establish a faculty-wide conversation regarding professional development
  • Place great emphasis on having high expectations tailored to each student
  • Demonstrate an inspired and inspirational commitment to the school’s mission
  • Sustain high levels of self-awareness and self-management
  • Exhibit determined pursuit of their own professional growth programs

It’s great to know where to focus to be an exceptional leader. It’s quite another thing to focus on those areas with all the competing demands of school leadership. Even if you can focus on one or more of the areas in which you need to improve, developing and implementing a plan successfully can be very elusive.

How does one develop a faculty culture that is focused on professional growth and development? Sometimes the complaining and bickering seems to drown out the voices of those devoted to learning, sharing and supporting each other. It would be fabulous to have an ongoing conversation among teachers about ways to improve teaching – one that would dominate the discussions in the faculty lounge and infuse teachers with the same passion for learning that we want our students to demonstrate. The question is, how does one create that awesome reality?

The same questions and challenges apply to the other areas that exceptional school leaders focus on. Knowing what makes a school leader exceptional is one thing. Knowing how, when and where to get to the what is quite another.

It’s easier said than done. The urgent constantly gets in the way of the important.

That’s why it’s important to have a leadership coach. Do you know any successful athletes without a coach? A school leader coach will help you address one, some or all of the critical areas above and become an exceptional leader. School leadership coaching is like a personalized leadership development program. The only agenda of your leadership coach is to help you in whatever way you need assistance. Whether you need to develop your skills as an inspirational school leader, develop self-awareness or develop in any other way as a leader, the most effective and cost-efficient way to go is with a school leader coach.

Contact us to get started with your leadership coaching and a personalized leadership development program.

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