Aug. 16, 2021

Qualities of An Effective Administrator

Qualities of An Effective Administrator

There are many different types of skills you need to lead an organization as large as a school.

School administrators must be able to think critically, creatively, and strategically in order to be successful. But what are the qualities that make up an excellent leader?

The system of effective leadership boils down into two main parts: the ability to motivate people and the habit of paying attention. And these two qualities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being an exceptional leader!

So, let’s explore these leadership skills and how they define your success as a school administrator.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Ability to motivate and Inspire

As the leader of an organization, like a school, you must motivate your staff. An excellent way to do this is by setting clear expectations and making them feel autonomous. You also want them to feel that they are part of a team and that their contributions make a difference. Staff should be encouraged to share their ideas with you because this will help them be engaged in the future of the organization. If you instead come in and tell people what to do, they will most likely feel disengaged which can potentially lead to high staff turnover.

Paying Attention

This may seem like it goes without saying but paying attention to your teachers and staff is one of the most vital skills for an administrator. You can do many things to maintain a good relationship with your staff, such as communicating goals and expectations, listening to their feedback, and providing regular ongoing feedback. You should also take time to have a collaborative dialogue about how the organization is doing in relation to the original goals.

Empathy and Compassion

When people focus on leadership, many overlook empathy and compassion. For some reason, empathy and compassion from a strong leader are recognized as weaknesses. In our society, this can’t be the case anymore. From your first interaction with your staff, you must find ways to help and support your followers, and by doing so, they come to you feeling appreciated every day. By showing empathy and compassion to those who follow you, you are showing the human side of leadership. You are showing that you have genuine care for those who follow you, and you are gaining trust with those followers as well. Empathy and compassion are no longer a weakness, it is now a strength and one of the most important leadership traits necessary.

Strong Communication Skills

It goes without saying that communication is extremely important for all leaders. If communication is not taking place within an organization, then the message that is being put out there, whether real or perceived, will be the message that is believed by everyone who hears it. In order to send the appropriate message to your followers, make sure that you are present, and that you take time to communicate with everyone around you. Embrace the conversations that come up, whether you are sharing information, coaching, or making small talk. Make sure that you are taking the time to listen to those around you and ask deeper questions when you are having meaningful conversations. Effective leadership and effective communication go hand in hand.

Lead by Example

You are the leader and with that, all eyes are on you each and every day. Your people are observing your actions closely and noting how you are handling a variety of situations as they arise. You are being judged on how you treat others, as well as how you talk to colleagues, and of course, you are being watched as you solve problems throughout the day. As a leader, this is where you shine, and it is up to you during these moments to show who you are and what you want to be remembered as. Make sure that during these times, your style of leadership is apparent, and your vision is clear. Remember, how you set the tone in your organization will benefit everyone involved.

Your journey as a leader will not happen right away, and it is possible that you won’t be successful right off the bat. Remember, leadership is not something that can be learned overnight but it’s never too late to start practicing these qualities in order to become an effective leader. Determine what your leadership philosophy is and start with one quality at a time — make sure you are leading by example which will naturally lead into other areas of leadership. Every quality you practice will help you become a better leader and your organization will begin to flourish.


Alfonso Mendoza Jr., M.Ed. is an Instructional Technologist, Instructional Designer, Doctoral Student, Podcaster, and Google Innovator that is passionate about education. Visit to listen or watch our episodes.

A.J. Bianco is an Assistant Principal, Dedicated Educator, Podcaster. Listen to the ReflectED Podcast hosted by A.J.