Three Basic Rules for College Presidents at the Start of a New Academic Year

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.

relationshipsBuild 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 Row of light bulb 3D on blue background. Innovation concept.

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