Rowena D. Palma, School Principal II, Pacac NHS


One of the greatest challenges for leaders across the world has been to
successfully foresee the unpredictable since the dawn of time. Others who were able
to do so prospered, while those who missed the boat perished. The same is true of
what a leader is going through right now in the face of a Pandemic. The new order’s
impact on education is a great chance for leaders all across the world to hone their
skills and expand their horizons. Indeed, as the world adjusts to the new normal,
leaders must adapt to help their firms innovate, stay relevant, and provide value to
their clientele.
Covid-19 for the last two years has been the cause of tumultuous adjustments
and innovations in the education sector. The massive aftermaths of this delirious
pandemic crippled the entirety of the system; thus, led to contagious panic from learners
to teachers, from parents to school administration particularly the school principals.
Covid-19 is no way but a real knock on the head of school leaders. The timing
is unexpected, the result is even a disaster from the usual day-to-day activities at
school. Administering and leading turned upside-down; and the attempts for
immediate recovery is no way but temporary while the real, enforced solutions are
still being conceptualized. It is clear that the worldwide pandemic has presented
school administrators with an unprecedented task. Although principals and
superintendents are used to dealing with lesser crises like hallway fights, a leaking
boiler, upset parents, financial issues, or even a scandal involving a local educator,
most school leaders have never dealt with a crisis of this magnitude and breadth for
this long.
During the critical days of enforcing decisions and surfacing major impacts on
the system, there have been the school leaders at the core of the system; these
leaders are being magnified since there are multifarious, and rigid decisions that
they need to immediately decide. Vaughn, Sugerman, and Furman (2020) reiterated
that “the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the critical need both for talented leaders
and for empowering those leaders and the teams around them”. Although academic
leaders play an important role in their institution’s response to crises, the role of
school heads in establishing a culture of trust, collaboration, and shared leadership
prior to a crisis will have a greater impact on the institution’s ability to withstand
times of crisis. For leaders all throughout the world, the current scenario is a huge
challenge. The ‘leadership challenge’ is made much more difficult by the ambiguity
that exists in this circumstance. Today’s leaders are confronted with a plethora of
‘leadership issues’ and competing demands, the majority of which do not have a clear
binary solution. It’s critical to consider competing viewpoints, especially when both
positions appear to be rational; it’s almost like a game that can’t be won. In a
nutshell, the expectations on leadership are unprecedented.
Several recent studies have indicated that distinct leadership abilities are
needed during a crisis. It may be true that leadership is the same as it was decades
ago; the core principles may be the same; but, there are significant differences that
must be addressed quickly in order to alleviate the crisis’s consequences. While

essential leadership concepts have remained mostly same over time, the situation
has drastically altered. Transformation is at the heart of leadership. Leaders must
first reform themselves in order to transform others (individuals, teams, and
organizations). This necessitates that “new” leaders not only have the correct
mentality to lead, but also the hard (transactional leadership) and soft
(transformational leadership) skills necessary to succeed in this new unpredictable
environment. This shows that there are sinking features, as well as characteristics
of school leaders, that surfaced early during the pandemic’s inception.
It may be true that leadership is just the same decades back; the underlying
principles may be the same, however, there are significant key qualities that
became soundly different from the usual in order to heal and stop immediately the
repercussions of the crisis. Pointed out, the leaders under crisis should be imbibing
transcending characters that are the result of both hard and soft leadership skills in
order to pull together in one direction the people around. The ability of leaders to
change in order to recreate a more suitable environment for the majority while
adapting the current innovative trends is vital. Transformation begins with leaders;
the progression of the system, then, follows through.
And on top of all these insights regarding leadership traits during the
pandemic in order to save and continually provide services among learners and
teachers, a leader who fully understands the demand of the changing time is
uncompromising. A leader who digs in the issue using the grass-root approach
without limiting oneself on who and where to start the surveillance in order to
magnify the solutions is best regarded as topnotch school leader. One who is capable
of conjoining the decisions and viewpoints of the members of the school without
damaging speculations from one another is another trait of an authentic leader
highly relevant on crucial situations such as Covid-19. It becomes clear that, in
pandemic situations of extreme change, a focus on identification with the leader is
required in order to build trust, where subordinates must balance respect for
hierarchy with adapting to a disaster that necessitates collaboration, thereby
emphasizing responsiveness to the leader’s direction. The pandemic is positively an
opportunity to re-visit the persona of leaders; thus, tough times reveal the
genuineness of the servant-leaders while assessing the pivotal leadership skills
necessary in the functioning and eventual development of any school being
supervised. That no matter how hard and difficult the situation is, that leader is
weaponized with strong will and perseverance to control and manage the
interlocking and interconnected pursuits in recapitulating decisions that will take
considerations the welfare and benefits of the majority id., est., teachers, staff and
learners rather than the forcible few.