The relationship of the principal's soft skills to school climate




Malone, Mark E.

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School Climate has been identified by a large body of literature as having a direct relationship on student achievement (Johnson, & Stevens, 2000; Kezar & Eckel, 2007; West, 1985), and) and numerous other components used to determine the success and safety of both students and teachers in schools (Finnan, Schnepel, & Anderson, 2003; Ghaith, 2003). It has also been established that the school principal is the key individual responsible for establishing and maintaining a positive school climate (Kelley, Thornton, & Daugherty, 2005). Numerous characteristics have been suggested by the literature that a principal should possess and utilize to effectively lead and establish a positive school climate (Cohen, Pickeral, & McCloskey, 2009; Kowalski, 2010; Leithwood et al., 2008; MacNeil, Prater, & Busch, 2009).

The purpose of this study was to identify the specific soft skills utilized by a principal that would establish and maintain a positive school climate. The results revealed that the soft skills of communication and problem solving positively predicted school climate, whereas the perceived trustworthiness or honesty of the principal was not significant, and the principal's empathy was not significant, but also had an inverse relationship to school climate.

From these results, it is recommended that further research focus on the larger set of soft skills that a principal might utilize and that the components of the soft skills of communication and problem solving are examined.


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communication, principal, principal leadership, problem solving, school climate, soft skills



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies