5 Interpersonal Skills Principals Need

School principals set the tone and standards for interactions with staff, faculty, students and the community. They’re an important link between the education system, students, teachers and parents. Principals play a significant role in defining the school’s atmosphere and culture while influencing the faculty’s attitude towards their students. With a successful principal, a school can be a welcoming place where students not only learn but are also challenged, encouraged and supported. School principals must have strong interpersonal skills to lead effectively.

An online Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Principal Preparation from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) provides students with real-world skills in data-driven school improvement and accountability, instructional and curriculum leadership, school law, sociocultural foundations of education and more. Students will develop strong interpersonal skills to work with diverse communities and build strong partnerships.

Leadership Skills Principals Need

What makes a successful school administrator? There isn’t one simple answer, but there are several traits, skills and strategies that comprise the best school leaders. Having strong interpersonal leadership skills is crucial for school principals since they are related to inspiring, encouraging and empowering faculty, staff and students to do their best. Those with compelling interpersonal skills typically make good leaders because of their ability to inspire and effectively communicate with others.

Here are five interpersonal skills principals need to be successful in their role as school leader:

  1. Effective communication. One of the most important skills a school principal can have is excellent communication via speaking, writing, listening and body language. Principals are in contact with students, staff, faculty, parents and community members, and having the ability to communicate and share information appropriately is the key to success. Communicating the goals for the school and building a shared vision can assist in making a school strong and reliable.
  2. Ability to build strong relationships. A school principal needs to be a people person. Finding common ground, building connections, actively listening and earning trust are actions that a principal needs every day. Building and managing respectful relationships with others through social awareness and empathy will help a principal interact with whoever walks through their office door.
  3. Conflict resolution. Being a good listener is the first part of conflict resolution. Principals often have students, teachers and parents come to them to complain or vent about a frustrating situation where they feel wronged. Listening carefully to both sides and using creative problem-solving skills can solve the issue by arriving at a solution that works for everyone.
  4. The ability to put yourself in someone else’s situation to understand how they are feeling is a key skill for a school administrator. Principals who show empathy motivate students, staff and faculty, and create a positive learning and working environment. When students view their principal as empathetic and kind, they are more likely to approach the principal for advice.
  5. Capacity to delegate. An effective leader has the knowledge that they’re not able to do everything on their own. Knowing when to delegate by recognizing that some faculty or staff members might handle certain tasks better is a sign of a successful leader.

What’s Next

If you’re an education professional looking to take the next step as a school principal, SIUE’s online MSEd. in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Principal Preparation could be right for you. This fully accredited master’s program allows students to develop a professional knowledge base that integrates practical and research knowledge with theory and inquiry. Graduates are qualified to pursue career opportunities as a principal, dean of students, department head and more.

Learn more about Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s online Master of Science in Education in Educational Administration with a Specialization in Principal Preparation program.

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