The ability to think and act ahead of time is an element in strategic leadership that can boost a leader’s ability in making the right decisions based on current and future needs. The education world today is obscure and constantly changing in line with technological advances, thus creating the need for educational leaders to bridge the gap between new policies and the ability for implementation at the grassroots level. This concept paper aims to discuss the key elements of the strategic leadership theory and how the theory is linked to the role of the school principal in the implementation of 21st Century Learning in Malaysia. This concept paper is based on analyses of previous studies on the strategic leadership theory, models and practices, specifically in education, that examined the link between strategic leadership with the implementation of new education policies pertaining to 21st Century Learning. The findings show that the element of strategic leadership impacts the school principals’ ability to transform their organisation towards excellence, enhances their ability to make informed decisions and accelerates their readiness in managing change for the execution of 21st Century Learning. This concept paper is intended to provide novice principals with information pertaining to the impact of strategic leadership practices on the management and administration of schools and to guide the Ministry of Education in planning professional development programmes for school principals.
Educational leadership, strategic learners, 21st century learning, school leaders, principals