8 Personal Characteristics of an Excellent Administrator

an organizational administrator working in an office
an organizational administrator working in an office

Do you want to lead positive change in your organization or community? If so, consider a career as an administrator.

Administrators ensure the success of nonprofits, businesses, academic institutions and beyond. They guide others in addressing new challenges and opportunities each and every day.

So, what personal characteristics define an excellent administrator? Read on to explore the essential qualities of administrators and find out how a Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership program can help you build the knowledge and skills for effective leadership.


What Is an Administrator?

Administrators are leaders who help achieve organizational goals. They direct the activities of an entire organization, groups, departments, or teams. Every sector of the economy—private, public and nonprofit—employs administrators to provide strong leadership.

Successful administrators enable organizations to thrive. For example, research shows that effective administration can enhance hospital patient outcomes and improve faculty recruitment and retention in higher education institutions.


What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of Administrators?

The roles of administrators are as varied as the organizations they serve. Administrators work in business, education, government and social services.

The many job titles of administrators include:

  • Executive Director 
  • Development Director
  • K-12 School Principal
  • University Academic Dean
  • Operations Director
  • Business Development Director
  • Social Services Administrator

Administrators' responsibilities depend on the organization they work for. Generally, administrators may lead or participate in strategic planning, operations, human resources, communication and finance activities.


Strategic Planning

Strategic planning refers to setting an organization's direction. Administrators develop organizational goals and oversee the plans, policies and procedures for achieving them.

For example, high school principals may lead the process of creating and implementing curriculum standards, enabling students to meet desired learning outcomes.



Administrators ensure the highest level of efficiency within organizations. This can involve managing resources, including people, equipment, and improvement initiatives.

Hospital facilities managers may manage the maintenance and repair of electrical and mechanical systems, which ensures safety and functionality.


Human Resources

Some administrators have human resources responsibilities. They may manage staff, coordinate training and professional development and supervise employee engagement initiatives. 

Training and development managers are human resources administrators. They evaluate employee training needs, develop and implement training programs and assess their effectiveness.



All administrators have some level of responsibility for communication. They must build positive relationships with internal and external stakeholders to achieve organizational goals.

Administrators may facilitate communication within an organization, interact with customers or vendor partners and serve as spokespeople.

For example, office managers must have collaboration and coordination skills to direct organizational operations.



Administrators are often accountable for financial outcomes, and some are responsible for financial activities. These may include budgeting, tracking and controlling expenses and financial reporting.

Nonprofit organizations employ fundraising managers to direct fundraising campaigns and manage and report on progress toward fundraising goals.


What Personal Characteristics Define an Excellent Administrator?

Administrator roles are diverse, but certain qualities are essential for success.

Excellent administrators are influential leaders who model ethical behavior. They are expert problem solvers whose curiosity, creativity and analytical mindset drive continuous improvement. They also lead diverse teams through communication and collaboration while navigating uncertainty with flexibility.

Administrators who develop these personal characteristics have the foundation to lead organizational success.


1. Leadership

Administrators effectively lead others. They set a vision, rally others around it and guide them toward achieving it. Effective leadership involves acting decisively, dependably and responsibly. Outstanding administrators are steadfast and trustworthy and behave ethically in any scenario.

Explore more qualities of ethical and effective leaders. 


2. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills are vital for administrators because they must address challenges to help organizations succeed. Effective administrators overcome issues with critical thinking. They can analyze issues objectively, invent and execute creative solutions and refine them to achieve the desired outcome.


3. Curiosity

Excellent administrators are curious. They are dedicated to learning new knowledge and skills, encouraging feedback and demonstrating continuous improvement. This curiosity allows administrators to adapt to change, solve problems, and create a culture where others feel empowered to develop.


4. Creative

Administrators with a transformational leadership style encourage employees to innovate and enact positive change. Creativity enhances problem-solving and progress toward achieving organizational goals. Creative administrators think outside the box, experiment and apply new perspectives to shift paradigms.


5. Analytical

Excellent administrators are analytical. They demonstrate logical reasoning, which supports problem-solving and decision-making. Administrators know how to collect and analyze data to make evidence-based decisions and measure the outcomes.


6. Communicative

Administrators need strong communication skills to ensure understanding across multiple stakeholders. Administrators communicate ideas clearly and accurately. They are active listeners and demonstrate awareness and appreciation of different beliefs and values.


7. Collaborative

Administrators lead diverse teams with varying skills and perspectives, so collaboration is essential. They bring people together through open communication and respectful discourse. They also empower others to innovate and take responsibility for their outcomes.


8. Flexible

Administrators have multifaceted responsibilities, so they must be open to adapt and compromise. Navigating unexpected circumstances is crucial to ensuring organizational success. Effective administrators have superior time management and organizational skills, which allow them to address shifting deadlines and priorities.


Develop the Personal Characteristics of an Excellent Administrator with Spalding University

How can professionals exemplify the personal characteristics of an excellent administrator? One option for those considering formal education is earning an EdD in Leadership.

Spalding University’s online EdD in Leadership program is for current and future leaders who want to effect meaningful change. Sustainability, equity and ethics are at the forefront of the curriculum, preparing professionals to innovate and create sustainable, transformational change. Students build upon their strengths and weaknesses, developing knowledge, skills and evidence-based practice applicable to their organizational goals.

Spalding’s online EdD in Leadership program develops worldly, compassionate leaders in a diverse, multidisciplinary community. Designed for working professionals, whether senior or mid-management organizational leaders, it can be completed entirely online in just two years.

Spalding supports you wherever you are in your leadership journey. Getting your EdD in Leadership from Spalding can help you inspire change in your workplace and community. Connect with an enrollment advisor to get started.