What is Leadership in Education? Understanding its Meaning and Impact

What is Leadership in Education? Understanding its Meaning and Impact | Leadership | Emeritus

In 2015, UNESCO, along with UNICEF, the World Bank, and other United Nations agencies, organized the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea. Accordingly, around 184 member countries adopted the “Incheon Declaration for Education 2030” to transform lives through education by 2030. Its vision was to ensure inclusive and quality education to all and also facilitate lifetime learning opportunities. However, achieving these goals is highly dependent on excellent educational leadership that drives better learning outcomes. Let’s understand what leadership education means, its importance, and how you can become an educational leader.

Leadership education

What is Transformational Leadership and Why is it Crucial in the Digital Era?

In this blog, we will discuss the following:

  • What is Educational Leadership?
  • Why Educational Leadership is Important
  • Leadership Education Qualities
  • Leadership Education Skills
  • How Can Educational Leadership be Developed and Nurtured?
  • Nurture Leadership Traits With Emeritus

What is Educational Leadership?

Leadership education Educational leadership is a type of transformational leadership style that focuses on growth and bringing positive changes. It involves transforming the educational system and institutions and guiding students and other stakeholders to achieve their full potential. Educational leadership applies to all levels of academia, including kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, and college. It facilitates access to quality education for all by improving curriculum content and teaching methods.

Principals, deans, education directors, and college or school superintendents lead leadership education by setting and following core values. They also set guiding principles and encourage students to adhere to those principles. Moreover, leadership education embraces and encourages diversity for the holistic development of students by creating a positive and nurturing learning environment through leadership development programs.

Leadership education stakeholders include teachers, parents, students, and policymakers. Even the common public plays a vital role in educational leadership as they assess educational policies and offer suggestions.

ALSO READ: Top 4 Benefits of Transformational Leadership Style in the Digital Era

Why Educational Leadership is Important

According to research by the United Nations, achieving the target of quality education is a distant dream for many countries. Based on the current scenario, lack of educational measures will result in 84 million students not having access to school by 2030. Moreover, 300 million students will be devoid of basic literacy skills. 

Therefore, world leaders have adopted the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

Leadership education is essential to achieve this goal. This is evident in UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report, which considers educational leadership the key to achieving this goal and ensuring quality education as it is who sets clear expectations and facilitates student growth. 

Simply put, leadership education is the foundation or pillar for improving the quality of global education. This is achievable by building a culture of trust and collaboration and offering quality training programs.

Let us now understand how different leadership styles can make education more accessible and inclusive:

1. Transformational and Instructional Leadership Styles

These leadership styles are beneficial in inspiring and motivating various stakeholders to take relevant action and achieve positive education results.

2. Distributed Leadership

It is a type of leadership style where leaders give autonomy to their members to perform tasks. Distributed leadership helps teachers learn and grow by enabling the development of professional learning communities.

3. Coaching Leadership 

In coaching leadership, the leader acts as a role model and guides teachers and students by empowering them to focus on their strengths.

To sum up, leadership education has the power to influence students, policymakers, teachers, and parents, thus bringing an overall positive impact that enhances education quality, inclusivity, and accessibility.

Leadership Education Qualities

Leadership refers to the power to influence others instead of controlling them. This becomes possible only when leaders are committed to their values and have the following characteristics.

1. Empowering Others 

Educational leaders inspire and motivate others to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

2. Focus on Community Building

Leadership-based education focuses on teamwork and community building, which includes teachers, parents, students, and policymakers. Moreover, leaders foster a culture of mutual trust and collaboration.

3. Data-Driven Decision-Making

The role of educational leaders involves analyzing data to identify areas of improvement in the education system and make effective decisions that can benefit students and other stakeholders.

4. Vision for the Future 

Educational leaders have a large and future-oriented vision. They have a clear sense of purpose of what they want to achieve and how.

5. Focus on Creativity and Innovation

Finally, another important quality of educational leaders is that they constantly find creative and innovative solutions to improve curriculums and make the learning experience more engaging for students.

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Leadership Education Skills

Leadership education The following are some of the key leadership skills that educational leaders must acquire:

1. Strategic Thinking, Planning, and Management 

This skill requires leaders to set a vision and plan SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals.

2. Communication

Educational leaders should have excellent communication skills so that they can actively listen to ideas, suggestions, and feedback from others. Moreover, they should also know how to convey their ideas, vision, and instructions clearly.

3. Mediation

Numerous challenges and conflicts arise between different stakeholders in education. Hence, leaders must have mediation skills to resolve conflicts and find amicable solutions.

4. Delegation

Educational leaders should be able to give clear instructions and delegate work to their teammates to enhance their skills.

5. IT Skills

Last but not the least, many educational institutions are integrating technology in education to offer personalized teaching and automated administrative work. So, educational leaders must have basic IT skills.

ALSO READ: Top Leadership Styles and Skills You Need to Become a Future-Proof Leader

How Can Educational Leadership be Developed and Nurtured?

Learning educational leadership styles,leadership skills, and leadership theories are essential for educational leaders to not only bring reforms to the education systems but also impart leadership training to teachers. Here are a few ways to develop and nurture educational leadership:

1. Building Relationships

The first step to leadership development is building positive relationships with teachers and understanding their personal and professional goals. It not only promotes the professors’ growth but also helps principals and institutional heads learn which ones have the ability to inspire students. They can accordingly mentor such teachers.

2. Creating Opportunities

Educational leaders should act as role models and collaborate with their colleagues on challenging opportunities. Such collaborations with team members helps them gain practical leadership experience and skills rather than just implicit knowledge.

3. Motivation and Empowerment

Leaders should also motivate and empower educators to take on challenging roles, such as mentoring a student team for a competition or taking new educational initiatives. It includes giving them the autonomy to make critical decisions. Consequently, this facilitates innovation and creativity and allows leaders to gain experiences that contribute to their leadership skills.

4. Teaching Management

Lastly, it is also essential to teach future educational leaders the principles of management and leadership. They should know how to give instructions, prepare strategies, and be adept at crisis, people, and organization management. This essentially allows them to work in a structured manner, give effective feedback, and find gaps in educational processes.

Nurture Leadership Traits With Emeritus

In the last few years, the leadership education approach has changed from a bureaucratic or administrative role to that of a guiding force. Moreover, educational leaders now have to build a culture of trust and collaboration, encourage students, and train teachers and policymakers, in addition to providing leadership training and ensuring access to quality education for all. However, as the education landscape changes, leaders also need to modify their approach and leadership styles and acquire new leadership skills. 

One of the best ways to acquire modern leadership skills is to pursue leadership development programs. Emeritus’ online leadership courses offer excellent leadership training by teaching different educational leadership styles and leadership theories. Explore these online leadership courses today to become an impactful educational leader.

Write to us at content@emeritus.org

About the Author

Content Marketing Manager, Emeritus Blog
Manasa is the content ninja that every brand needs. Apart from being an expert in tech-related trends and digital marketing, she has found her calling in edtech. Her 10-year-long tryst with education started with a teaching fellowship for underprivileged children, followed by a stint as an edupreneur. It gave her the perspective she now uses to create impactful content for Emeritus. Manasa loves the life of a digital nomad that allows her to travel and hopes her reels go viral on the Gram.
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