Educational leaders are not limited to positions such as superintendents, principals, or college presidents. Instead, educational leaders exist anywhere that aims to influence and guide policymakers, teachers, parents, and students towards a common goal, based in education. These individuals have a unique and important role in their communities as they inspire, embrace, and commit to providing those around them with the best educational opportunities possible. Without a doubt, it is a tall order. So how does one accurately fulfill the role of educational leader?
There are three elements to educational leadership that serve as a foundation for success. The three parts, which may sound simple, are imperative to the success of any organization or program.
The first key element is the commitment to lifelong learning. In order to be the absolute best in the role as an educational leader, one must operate within a very vast ecosystem of experience. This means that a leader should practice flexibility in not only a plethora of environments, but also surrounded by a variety of people. One must be able to think critically, display empathy, collaborate with others, and remain engaging in order for their leadership to be truly effective.
The greater a leader’s experiential learning is the more likely they are to be self-aware, which is vital to offering understanding. The most successful educational leaders are those who have made a commitment to lifelong learning. Of course, learning is an ongoing process and new knowledge should be adapted and put into already existing approaches whenever appropriate.
The second key element is strong relationships. An educational leader has everyone’s best interests in mind. When relationships between staff and students are strong, students feel safer and become more engaged. The more engaged students are in the classroom the more susceptible they are to learning. Leaders must take the time to develop and maintain strong relationships with both their peers and their students.
This is accomplished by providing opportunities for sharing and promoting an open dialogue, where everyone feels safe and comfortable to express themselves. By creating meaningful connections, an educational leader is fostering a stimulating learning environment, which works towards equipping students with the knowledge and skills that they need to succeed.
The third, and possibly most important, foundational element of educational leadership is inclusivity. Inclusion is becoming more and more important and prominent in industries all around the world. Most leaders understand that inclusion is the right thing to do, however, more than that it also has a direct correlation with the success of organizations.
Educational institutions must work hard to make the appropriate advances and improvements to serve the entire population. The broader the better. This means proving diverse perspectives through hiring people from every walk of life, creating open, inclusive programs, and ensuring that everyone has access to the necessary resources.