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Vol. 29 (2009)

Female High School Principals: Leadership Practices and Individual Traits

  • Dr. Tony Horst Giese
  • Dr. John R. Slate
  • Dr. Michelle Stallone Brown
  • Dr. Carmen Tejeda-Delgado
June 21, 2017


The views of 56 female high school principals in the State of Texas were obtained regarding their leadership practices in three areas (i.e., relationship building and decision making, giving and seeking information, and influencing people) which they believed had been beneficial in their positions as high school principals. Respondents viewed supporting employees by being helpful, developing employee skills, and managing conflict as being essential to their success as principals. Moreover, they reported involving their employees in decision-making practices, particularly when critically important decisions must be made. Motivating and inspiring employees was rated highly, although providing tangible rewards was regarded as less important. Individual traits of communication skills, trustworthiness, honesty and sincerity, and good listening skills were very important factors in their success as high school principals. The two individual traits deemed to be less relevant for success in their positions were aggressiveness and tolerance for ambiguity. Finally, cautions regarding generalizability are offered.