Not everyone’s cut out to be a good and effective principal, and that’s okay. After all, the job demands can be grueling with never-ending responsibilities. That said, if you believe that becoming a principal is the right path for you, here are the common characteristics that set apart the best principals from the rest.

Adaptable and Flexible

As a principal, you must be prepared to deal with a diverse student population in various PreK-12 school environments. Whether your goal is to become the principal of an elementary, middle, or high school, you should be able to understand each school’s unique needs. This enables you to create and enforce effective policies.

It also helps you manage the risks and capitalize on opportunities inherent in each school environment since you will be able to determine the potential possibilities and prospective outcomes.

Invested In Continuous Improvement

A great principal understands the need for continuous improvement. They know that the educational landscape is ever-evolving, so they push to keep pace with it. For instance, becoming a principal involves graduating with a bachelor’s degree, earning a teaching certificate, and gaining professional experience.

However, the journey doesn’t end there. It’s also strongly encouraged to pursue a Master’s degree in Education. Even then, you can further empower yourself in your role by choosing the best master’s programs online. For instance, you can do the Urban Education Master’s program online and complete it in as few as 16 months. The right master’s program will help build on your foundation in education and strengthen your skills to handle your principal’s responsibility better.

Ability to Delegate

While it’s true that principals always have their plates full of responsibilities, that doesn’t mean they have to do everything themselves. Remember, leading by example doesn’t mean you have to sail the ship all on your own. Instead, it’s all about developing your staff’s core skills, so they can perform supporting roles effectively and efficiently.

As a strong and confident leader, your success lies in knowing when and how much to delegate. The trick is to surround yourself with great teachers that make your life easier and are on the same page as you. Surrounding yourself with the best educators helps you produce the best results and better manage your responsibilities.


As a principal, it’s easy to get carried away from your vision. You can get bogged down in the nitty-gritties of running a school. For instance, if you focus too much on other aspects of your job, such as dealing with delinquent students or difficult parents, the next meeting, or school budgets, you can lose sight of what’s best for your students.

First and foremost, you’re an educator, and it’s essential that students be your priority. Of course, taking care of administrative issues matters, but your most fundamental responsibilities are to ensure a quality school and a better education for each and every student.

Resourceful and Creative

When you have to deal with last-minute student emergencies, staff conflicts, and time constraints, you have to be quick on your feet and think outside the box. Unfortunately, the answers to every issue that comes up won’t always be clear-cut and straightforward.

That means you have to be an exceptional problem solver, be resourceful and creative to find a way when there seems to be no way. Many people are looking up to you, so you also have to act decisively without looking like you’re over questioning yourself.

People’s Person

After becoming a principal for a while, you’ll lose track of the number of people trekking into your office searching for your guidance, advice, signature, approval, opinion, or endorsement. The point is you have to work with others well if you want to be an effective and influential principal.

You’ll meet different types of people in your profession, and you have to be able to interact well with various personalities. Being a people person means knowing how to read people accurately, learning how to listen actively, valuing feedback, and more.

These are the qualities and characteristics you should embody in your journey to becoming a fully-fledged principal. If your goal is to help the kids in your care have the best possible education, this will help you get there.