An educational leader works with students, teachers, and parents to improve the quality of education delivery. The continuous improvement of the educational sector is essential to uplift and update educational standards not just in the institution, but also in the community. A good educational leader helps achieve that.
Becoming an educational leader can open several opportunities to advance in your career. You can become the dean of a university and educational administrator in your county or even become a part of education policy-making at the state or federal level. If you want to become an educational leader, here’s what you need to know:
Acquire higher education
A master’s degree can prepare you for leadership and administrative roles crucial for coordinating and implementing curriculum development, career services, law and policy, program review, and strategic planning. You can enroll in a master of arts in higher education online and pursue your degree from anywhere and bring innovation to higher education while collaborating with community partners.
After completing your education, you can pursue administrative leadership roles in higher education institutions in student financial aid, career counseling, admissions, Alumni relations, or student enrollment. You can make as much as $96,910 per year, with an average hourly pay rate of $46.59, with a master’s degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 17,600 openings in educational leadership each year in the coming decade.
Lead by example
Your behaviors and actions as a leader should motivate and inspire students, staff members, or parents. Leading by example is much better than by rank or title, as it makes you approachable, eases communication with your team members, builds trust, and helps you earn their respect.
A good educational leader also keeps an open mind, listens to others, and understands their situation to identify problems. This allows them to adapt their leadership style to suit the organization and team.
Heading a department, for example, will flourish with good leadership by example. It means motivating and supporting the department members and demonstrating the excellence you wish to see in them. It boasts the overall team morale and work ethic.
Be a good planner
Planning is crucial to staying ahead of the curve as an educational leader. You will need to plan and achieve several short-term objectives and long-term goals. For example, as a curriculum developer, you must incorporate several factors, including current learning trends, to design an updated and relevant curriculum for the year.
Good planning comes with effective organizational skills. A leader must be able to allocate tasks equally and responsibly during the planning stage. Keep track of each task to ensure it is completed on time. Your planning will only be useful if you monitor the tasks and intervene if any problems arise.
An effective leader can also identify pitfalls in the planning stage and develop countermeasures or solutions to ensure smooth operations within educational systems.
Be passionate about your work
Passion and a genuine desire to uplift and improve educational standards will take you ahead in your career as an educational leader. You can take the initiative and build educational programs to bring real change in the institution or the community you work in.
Being passionate will also help you learn the ins and outs of the education sector, especially if you’re beginning your career. Designing financial aid programs or getting the required funding for the school, for example, out of a passion for making education more accessible, will make you a valuable asset to the school.
Similarly, as you advance in your career, being passionate about a particular cause will add more purpose to your work, and you’ll enjoy a challenging yet rewarding career.
Nurture the drive to help others
Being an educational leader is more about helping others than enforcing authority. Post-secondary education leadership roles focus more on inspiring students, teachers, and parents toward a common goal. It can be challenging yet fulfilling.
Your drive to help people can include helping staff members get the required training to achieve their goals and objectives while raising the bar for the quality of education. It can also involve helping struggling students get the required help or inspiring them to work on areas that need improvement. A good educational leader never stops helping others excel.
Encourage taking risks
Effective educational leaders are risk-takers and encourage others to do the same. They can only achieve long-term goals by taking certain risks. However, risk assessment is equally important, which may require thinking out of the box or brainstorming creative ways to tackle problems.
At the same time, encouraging others to take a risk when required shows competency and leadership traits. A typical manager might be risk-aversive and shortsighted to play it safe. However, leaders must maintain sight of the long-term goal, which may require taking a leap of faith and embracing risks.
Becoming an educational leader means becoming an educator and a perpetual learner. It requires good communication skills, empathy, passion, and a drive to help others. You can become an educational leader by acquiring a master’s in educational leadership, leading by example, and planning well-coordinated activities to improve educational quality and access.