A new academic year can bring unexpected challenges and opportunities for a college president. Building positive long-term relationships through an open exchange of ideas, centered on mutual respect, is the foundation for long-term success.
Build Meaningful Relationships
Building meaningful relationships starts by continuing to know your faculty, administrators, and staff. Some presidents are so busy with day-to-day obligations that they forget to engage in meaningful conversations with a cross section of employees and students within the college community. Nothing builds a positive long-term relationship better than honest exchange of ideas and mutual respect.
Ears to the Ground
A college president must operationally understand the departments within the institution. Being a hands-on leader familiar with the daily challenges of faculty, administration and staff is critically important to ensure proper execution of the Strategic Plan. Employees respect a leader who is familiar with daily struggles and has an ear to the ground in the larger decision making process.
Intellectually Honest and Decisive
A leader needs to personify a culture of honesty and transparency — a culture of authority, responsibility and accountability. Respected presidents also seek to inspire a shared vision based upon the bests interests of the entire college community, including students, faculty, staff, and outside stakeholders (including investors at for-profit institutions). But at the end of the day, not all decisions can be accommodated solely by consensus. A college president is hired to independently analyze alternative solutions to tough problems. Being intellectually honest and decisive is the key to successful transformational leadership.
Research Contribution: A. Anderson