Leadership in Education: Eight Qualities that Good School Leaders Have

Leadership 3

Leadership in Education: Eight Qualities that Good School Leaders Have 

UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, printed an online article by author Jeremy Sutcliffe, who in 2012 and 2013 interviewed the UK’s top principals to find out what, in their view, makes a good leader. He came up with the following eight qualities:


Sometimes dismissed as a “woolly” concept, but vision is demonstrably important when we talk about having a leader with a clarity of purpose and a firm moral compass. When a leader has a powerful vision of a school’s direction, it is easier to determine how the community is doing as they progress toward their goals.

Leadership 2Courage

Determination, willpower and patience will always help an effective leader see things through to a successful completion. Not shying away from difficult decisions is also crucial. 


A real passion for education and children’s learning is very important, otherwise what is it all for? The best headteachers will always demonstrate their never-ending commitment to students’ success, happiness and well-being.

Emotional Intelligence

A good educational leader understands the importance of relationships, including those with faculty, parents and students. They show a strong streak of empathy, understanding the value in empowering staff and pupils to become the next generation of leaders in their field. 

Leadership 1Judgment

Wise leaders make the right calls, even when that means making a difficult decision or coming face to face with a dilemma. They do their best to involve the community in all the appropriate ways, but ultimately use all counsel to come to their own sound judgment.


In any school, crises can come up, and times can get hard for all kinds of reasons. The best leaders will remain optimistic, enduring, level-headed, energetic and positive. 


Successful school leaders need to embody the best traits of their respective schools. They need to be strong communicators, storytellers and persuaders, but also great listeners. In this way, they remain motivational and inspirational to all within the community.


Leaders who stay stuck in old ways tend not to succeed ultimately. They need to be outward-looking, maintaining a healthy curiosity about what is going on in their own field, trying to learn about and absorb new innovations and developments.



In the latest edition of “Xue Xi” magazine, we interviewed new BCIS Early Childhood Center Principal, Alan Cox, and the ECC’s Deputy Principal/PYP Coordinator, Kate Mancarella about their own thoughts on leadership in education. Important changes have happened at the school for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, and we look forward to knowing our community members even better in their new roles!

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