Common Challenges Faced by New School Leaders

13th March 2021

School leadership is a daunting but rewarding task, and all successful school leaders had started off at some point. At those points, they were perhaps new and confused as they were bombarded with the rules and responsibilities of an important role that requires a lot of commitment, consistency, and patience. Every new school leader is generally welcomed with tonnes of challenges, and they usually work and manoeuvre their way around these. Importantly, school leadership programs can help prepare leaders for such challenges. In this blog, we will discuss some of the common challenges that new school leaders happen to witness.

  • Confidence: Starting off as the leader of an entire institute demands a lot of confidence and faith in oneself. However, it is not easy for everyone to start off with a lot of confidence. This is because they have just begun, and have not yet achieved any success in order for them to gain confidence in their abilities. It is true that they must have showcased adequate skills and confidence to become the leader in the first place, but as a leader, they are answerable to more people, and many more people look up to them. Moreover, there are essentially more people watching out for their contributions to the school, its teachers, and students. This baggage can stress out and confuse may new school leaders, and consequently affect their performance.
  • Too many rules: As a school leader, one is expected to take up numerous responsibilities. Coming to terms with the myriad of rules, regulations, school policies, employment law, special education laws, community politics, safety issues, and many more regulations can be a painful task. In addition, the fear of inadvertently making a mistake and overlooking any of the legal policies can further complicate the leader’s position.
  • Faculty management: Confident or not, the task of managing people can be very tricky and complex. In particular, if you are a new leader who is fairly young and just got promoted, the politics surrounding more experienced and older teachers and supervisors can be challenging as they may carry a strong ego, and may hence be unwilling to respect your views. Coupled of these, managing all the teachers, ensuring that they are focused and motivated, and also often having to interact with and supervise the students can be a lot of work that can often distract the leader from their other tasks. People management can get harder if the teachers oppose the new leader, or the school’s culture prevents cooperation amidst the teachers.
  • Student discipline: Teachers are almost always dealing with different kinds of students with diverge learning needs and styles. However, once you become a school leader, the number of students under your watch is multiplied. Therefore, new school leaders have to take care of student discipline because actions such as bullying can cause serious repercussions as the students’ parents will get involved, and the school’s reputation will be at stake. Hence, school leaders are burdened with the responsibility of having their teachers ensure that student discipline is always strictly maintained.
  • School finance: This is another complex task that is added to the school leaders’ portfolio of responsibilities. A school is run by a series of cash flows, investments, expenses, borrowings, shareholding, and numerous other aspects of finance that is often wedded with laws and policies. Thus, having to wrap one’s head around all these certainly sounds quite stressful.

Usually, school leadership programs cover the challenges faced by new school leaders, and also explain some of the steps that can be taken to handle these concerns. It is worth noting that although these challenges commonly arise, they are not necessarily bad because the leaders get the opportunity to learn more. Moreover, as time passes, they get accustomed to these tasks.


Written By : Shivangi Chakraborty

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