Respect is a true reflection of leadership. Principals and Vice-Principals are taxed with the onerous duty of running a school in a business-like manner, and somehow have to find a way to garner the respect of the faculty and the student body.
This poses a daunting task, but there are ways that school administrators can gain the respect of the students. Giving respect is one of the main methods of getting respect in turn.
The school administration has to deal with disciplinarian action, and as such, often find themselves the target of anger and dislike. Their job is to help students reach their full potential, all the while offering a safe haven environment in which students can learn. It can be difficult to earn respect when you have to be the one dishing out detentions and suspensions, but the negative perception of school administration can be altered.
School administrators need to make themselves available to the entire population of the school. The sad reality of their job is that they have to deal with the recalcitrant portion of the student body on a regular basis. This does not enable them to seem approachable to the large percentage of the population that is not office-bound on a regular basis. In this regard, school administrators must ensure that they get out from behind closed doors and circulate around the school, becoming visible to the entire population of students.
The more often the school administration is seen in a non-threatening manner, the more accepted and respected they might become. A simple way for them to achieve this would be to greet the students in the main foyer entrance of the school, greeting the students in the morning with a friendly hello. A little gesture such as this could go a long way towards establishing a cordial relationship.
During the course of a natural day, the school administrators can also wander through the halls, and even pop in on a few classes to field questions. In conjunction with the faculty, a time could be arranged where this fits in to the schedule so as to not interrupt a class in progress. While in the classrooms, the students could glimpse the administration as regular folks, keen on their interests.
There are so many extra-curricular activities available to the student body that it is difficult for the administration to attend all of the events, but a determined effort should be put forth. The more that they are seen outside of the office, the more apt they are to be respected. Many great administrators take the time to learn the names of the student body, and address the students by name when they see them. This does take time and effort, but it also helps the students to feel as though they are a part of something special within the confines of their school.
School administrators also need to make it known that their doors are always open for students to visit and question policies or practices. A wise administrator will allow the students to question them, and then provide an adequate response outlining the reasons why or why not as an answer to their queries. Being a model of consistency will help establish your name and reputation.
The more respect that the school administration puts out, the more that will be returned. As long as they are genuine in their dealings with the students, the respect factor will be more readily won.