What Is Instructional Leadership? Definition and Examples

Instructional leadership is a model of school leadership in which a principal works alongside teachers to provide support and guidance in establishing best practices in teaching. Principals employing this model of leadership communicate with their staff and together set clear goals related to student achievement.

John Hattie – Instructional Leadership

Examples of instructional leadership skills

The success of the students in a classroom setting is directly correlated with instructional leadership abilities and effective teaching. An instructional leader promotes effective teaching by giving teachers direction and encouragement and by securing the resources they need to do so. Some specific skills related to instructional leadership include:

Communication skills

Verbal and written communication skills are essential to leadership success. An instructional leader needs to be able to express their goals for students’ education clearly. This might entail writing emails and other written correspondence, or it might entail meeting with teachers to establish goals and evaluate lesson plans.

Effective planning

Learning is improved, and teachers are able to work more productively thanks to an instructional leader’s capacity for research and provision of necessary resources. For instance, a principal might use new technology to oversee staff initiatives and as teaching aids, and this process requires planning. To encourage creativity and innovative teaching in their schools, instructional leaders must be able to maintain a balance between procedure and adaptability.


The staff can turn to the leader in both good and difficult times because a positive and fair leader easily wins their trust. A good instructional leader can maintain composure and fairness in a discussion where opposing viewpoints are expressed, weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each while getting input from other staff members who would be impacted by any plan changes. A balanced judgment on the part of instructional leaders inspires teachers to respect and trust them, and this respect promotes the formation of a cohesive learning community.


Teachers rely on instructional leaders for information about instructional strategies, modern educational trends, and other important information about efficient teaching. Principals are also expected to be a visible example of positivity and transparency within the organization, setting a good example and concentrating on crucial learning goals to support innovative teaching practices.

Team building and collaboration

An instructional leader must be skilled at bringing together the faculty and students to advance the development of fresh concepts and teaching strategies because this position is ultimately accountable for the achievement of a school. To create a more efficient and effective learning environment, they must be able to assemble a dependable team that collaborates.


An instructional leader must maintain a positive outlook regardless of their current circumstances because staff and students frequently mimic their leader’s behavior. The more enthusiastic and upbeat a leader is, the more their attitude permeates the faculty and students, fostering a positive atmosphere all around. This holds true when praising efforts, rewarding success, and emphasizing the fulfillment of staff members, students, and the institution as a whole

Interaction with parents

Instructional leaders are aware of the significance of a parent’s contribution to their child’s success and the cumulative impact on the school’s success. For significant occasions like fundraisers and extracurricular activities, principals can identify family members as a crucial resource. Principals sometimes decide to host workshops or meetings so that parents can familiarize themselves with each other as well as teachers and school policies in order to get them excited about participating in these events. Additionally, it gives them the chance to share their opinions and suggestions on how to enhance their kids’ learning environments.

What are instructional leadership skills?

Effective educational leaders have certain qualities that motivate students to take action and be optimistic. By treating people fairly and making an impression with their honesty and integrity, these leaders serve as examples for others. Effective leaders encourage others and support them in achieving their own and the group’s goals. They solicit input, solicit ideas, and make informed decisions about the operations of the educational institutions they oversee using their excellent communication skills.

School principals are most frequently thought of as instructional leaders because they oversee curriculum, finances, and scheduling and are accountable for each student’s success. These people frequently work to enable teachers to take on leadership roles, distributing the load of school duties more fairly, and setting an example of teamwork that students can emulate. This style of educational leadership first gained popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, and it is still developing today in response to societal and educational needs.

Instructional leadership in the workplace

Here are some suggestions for improving instructional leadership at work:

Have a clear vision for your school

Establish clear objectives for your institution, make sure your faculty understands them, and ensure they are consistent with the shared values of the entire staff. Additionally, work with your faculty to inform the students of the school’s objectives and solicit their feedback in a way that will make them feel comfortable.

Recognize individual strengths

Recognize the various ways in which students learn, and try to pay attention to the way in which teachers instruct. Work with the instructors to make sure that every student has the best learning experience possible if they are teaching in a way that only some students can understand. This is your opportunity to recognize students diversity.

Maintain communication with teachers

Ask questions specifically about the instructors’ lesson plans, evaluation procedures, teaching strategies, and other topics. By encouraging teachers to develop their abilities, they can ultimately improve the educational experiences of their students. The teachers can also be questioned on topics that encourage creativity in the classroom, such as how they assess the effectiveness of a lesson, how they present new challenges at various learning levels, and what they might consider changing the next time they teach a lesson.

Encourage continued learning

Encouraging teachers to pursue additional education opportunities will help them improve the efficacy of their teaching techniques and lead a learning community. The school can use new or updated information to improve students’ educational experiences. You can also hold regular meetings to share newly discovered knowledge with them.

How to improve instructional leadership skills

Think about implementing these advice to strengthen your instructional leadership abilities:

1. Conduct formal observations at regular intervals

Aim for at least three formal classroom observations per teacher as you increase the number of times you do them each year. Make a schedule to assist you in completing them successfully and quickly.

2. Provide helpful feedback

After a prearranged classroom observation, take the time to offer at least one suggestion for improvement along with positive feedback for the teacher. Give clear examples and suggest techniques they can implement. You can encourage your staff to develop motivational lessons by demonstrating that there is no ideal evaluation.

3. Establish realistic expectations

Creating a clear, consistent set of expectations can give teachers a roadmap for continuing to develop effective lesson plans. After you’ve set expectations, stay in touch with the teachers to make sure they know what to do and, if necessary, how to improve.

4. Keep learning

You can become a more effective staff mentor by keeping up with your education in teaching methods. Attend conferences with a focus on issues relating to your staff’s concerns or your leadership role. Research that is pertinent to your own facility should be noted, modified, and applied to your subsequent round of observational suggestions.

5. Be a role model

Make it clear to your instructors that you are prepared to provide them with the assistance you require. This may entail assisting with the adoption of new technology in a classroom or collaborating with a teacher to develop more effective tests. For a better understanding of what your teachers go through on a daily basis, you might think about instructing a class of your own or filling in for an absent teacher. This not only increases your relatability but also enables you to approach problems from a wider perspective.

How to highlight instructional leadership skills

To land a job as a school principal or other similar position, you must demonstrate your instructional leadership expertise in a way that relates to the position you’re applying for. It can be simpler to select the skills to emphasize if you read the job description and choose a few that are applicable to your own experiences. This can help the employer understand the value you could add to their organization or school. You can impress hiring managers by emphasizing your best skills with the help of the following advice:

On your resume

As previously mentioned, carefully read the job description and make a note of the qualifications and requirements so that you can include them in your resume. Compare them to your own instructional leadership abilities and discuss how they relate to the demands of the job. For instance, if the job posting specifies leadership skills, you can list those on your resume in the skills section and then discuss how you successfully managed your previous school in the work experience section.

In your cover letter

Describe your prior successes using your instructional leadership abilities in your cover letter, making it clear how these abilities contributed to those successes. If at all possible, use a specific instance from the employer’s industry to demonstrate how you can increase the likelihood that their future initiatives will be successful.

During an interview

Use them to quantify your accomplishments when interviewers inquire about your specific instructional leadership abilities. When asked about your ability to work with others, for instance, you could give examples of how you and your team worked to raise test scores by a specific percentage or how you teamed up with teachers and parents to raise money for the school. You can also discuss how your abilities have evolved as you have advanced in your career and gained experience

Jobs in instructional leadership

It may be helpful to be aware of your options if you’re thinking about a career in instructional leadership. Ten positions in instructional leadership are listed below for your consideration:


What are the five areas of instructional leadership?

How to improve instructional leadership skills
  1. Conduct formal observations at regular intervals. Aim for at least three formal classroom observations per teacher as you increase the number of times you do them each year.
  2. Provide helpful feedback. …
  3. Establish realistic expectations. …
  4. Keep learning. …
  5. Be a role model.

Which are the four stages of instructional leadership?

Characteristics of Instructional Leadership Team Members
  • A continuous learner.
  • Effective working with adult learners.
  • An effective communicator.
  • Collaborative.
  • Knowledgeable of content and pedagogy.
  • Knowledge of assessment and data.
  • A systems thinker.

What is the importance of instructional leadership?

10 Strategies to Improve Instructional Leadership
  1. Get in Classrooms More. This seems so easy, yet it remains a constant struggle.
  2. Streamline Expectations and Eliminate Ineffective Practices. …
  3. Be a Scholar. …
  4. Model. …
  5. Teach a Class. …
  6. Grow Professionally. …
  7. Write in Order to Reflect. …
  8. Integrate Portfolios.

What are the principles of instructional leadership?

These five areas are: student supervision in non-teaching areas of the school; student discipline/behavior management; supervision of non-teaching school staff; school facilities and management; and parent interaction on non-teaching matters.

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