Principals have difficult jobs. They are responsible for the education that each student under their care receives as the face and head of the school. They set the tone of the school. They decide on staffing decisions and student discipline issues week in and week out. There are many effective administrators at the helm of schools across the nation. Sadly, there are also many who do not exhibit the leadership qualities necessary to inspire and motivate their staff and students. So what qualities should a good principal exhibit? Following is a list of nine characteristics that effective school leaders should possess. Good teachers need to feel supported. They need to believe that when they have an issue in their classroom, they will get the help that they need. A third of the over 300 teachers who resigned in 1997-1998 did so due to lack of administrative support according to a survey of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. This situation has not changed that much in the past decade. This is not to say that principals should blindly back teachers without using their own judgement. Teachers are human beings who make mistakes too, obviously. Nonetheless, the overall feeling from the principal should be one of belief and support.

Qualities of a good principal

A good principal must be seen. He or she must be out in the hallways, interacting with students, participating in pep rallies and attending sports matches. Their presence must be such that students know who they are and also feel comfortable approaching and interacting with them. Much of what principal will have to do with their time is listen to others: assistant principals, teachers, students, parents, and staff. They need to learn, therefore, and also practice active listening skills every single day. They need to be present in each conversation despite the other hundred or so things that are calling for their attention. They also need to actually hear what is being said to them before coming up with their own response. The core of the principal's job is problem solving. In many cases, new principals come into a school particularly because of the issues it is facing. It might be that the school's test scores are really low, that it has a high number of discipline issues, or that it is facing financial issues due to poor leadership by the previous administrator. Any principal will be asked to help with quite of a number of difficult and challenging situations each day, established or new. They need to hone their problem solving skills by learning to prioritize and provide concrete steps to solve the issues at hand, therefore. A good principal should want to give their employees a sense of empowerment just like a good CEO or other executive. Many feel powerless to effect the ethos of the school while teachers are typically in charge of their own classrooms. Principals need to be open and responsive to teacher suggestions for school improvement. Often in college business management classes point to big companies who empower their employees to offer solutions to problems and even stop line production if a quality issue is noted.