Why Strong Leadership Skills are Needed for a Master’s in Educational Leadership

Misty Hance
Misty Hance
Assistant School Principal; Ed.D. in School Leadership, Carson-Newman University, TN

If you are considering graduate school in order to obtain your master’s degree in educational leadership, you may want to first assess your own leadership skills and qualities. In the following article, you will find questions you may want to ask yourself to see if school leadership is right for you.

Are You a School Advocate?

To be an educational leader of a school, you need to be able to speak up for what you believe is right. This may mean speaking in front of a school board or commission meeting. It may mean sharing your ideas and needs with community members or school stakeholders. It may also mean sharing your vision for school success with the teachers under your charge. If you are comfortable with the idea of communicating your thoughts, then you’ll be able to advocate for your school.

Are You Knowledgeable of Educational Topics?

While no principal claims to know everything about every educational trend, in order to be a good leader, you at least need to be interested in educational topics. As a part of a master’s program, you’ll learn ways to research effective instructional practices, management strategies, and educational trends. If you are already in tune with current movements in education, then this type of research will be of interest and come easy to you as well.

Are You Capable of Making Quick Decisions?

Administrators are faced with a variety of decisions, some needing immediate attention simultaneously. A school leader must often be able to think quickly and solve problems wisely. Leading a school means you are in charge of making decisions about instructional strategies as well as safety issues. Some days you will feel as if you are pulled in many directions. It is at times like these that you must remain calm and feel competent to solve the issues at hand.

 Are You Self-Motivated?

Many graduate-level programs are moving toward online instruction. In order to be successful, you will need to be self-motivated and able to stay on schedule. This skill is also beneficial to a school administrator. As the leader, no one is standing beside you, keeping you on task. This is something you will need to regulate yourself. Much like triage in medical settings, school administrators need to prioritize tasks and ensure they’re completed in an efficient manner.

Not all educators are meant to become administrators. If you love your role as an instructional facilitator, but get queasy thinking about speaking to groups of adults or making quick decisions, then you might better benefit from a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction rather than educational leadership. However, if the thought of leading a school and making multiple split-second decisions on a daily basis excites you, then education leadership might be worth pursuing. Once you begin an educational leadership program, you’ll start to clearly define the type of leader you aim to become. Having some of these leadership skills prior to starting a graduate program will benefit your experience.

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