Great college leaders make things better for their employees, fully prepare their students and make their colleges stronger. To accomplish goals like that, they need the full support of their entire college community. By bringing the college together, inspiring cohesive, effective and enthusiastic work groups and moving everyone toward a powerful Vision, great college leaders guide their organizations into a better future.
The best leaders:
1. Have A Clear Vision Of Where They Are Trying To Go
a. Create The Vision – The best college leaders create a Beneficial Vision of the future and work to make that future come true. A clear and concise Vision Statement is communicated to everyone. With that Vision Statement as a guide, each department, group and individual can identify and pursue missions that will move the college closer to the ideal. Together, all of the missions will enable the college to achieve their Vision of how things should be.
A College Leader’s Vision Statement:
A 100% student graduation rate with a 100% employment success rate.
b. Solve The Problems Of Today – What problems are holding the college back? Great leaders are courageous. They are not afraid to address the tuff issues: people, politics, finances, bureaucracy, resistance to the changing world, competition and student needs.
c. Anticipate The Future – The best leaders focus on the issues that enable a college to serve its students better than the competition. Leaders who see the future clearly and move their organizations in the right direction will be rewarded by more students who achieve success and notoriety. Whatever a college becomes tomorrow is determined by what the college leaders are doing today.
d. Move Forward – All successful colleges change their direction, people and services to meet the needs of their customers (students). They also change in order to improve performance, stay competitive and ensure financially stability. Any college leader who does not recognize the need to continually improve and adjust to a changing world is leading the college nowhere.
2. Are Highly Effective Communicators
a. Communicate The Vision – Effective leaders generate emotion as they clearly and enthusiastically communicate the Vision and its importance to everyone in the college community. They know that the Vision must be embraced and highly valued by everyone who will carry it out. That is why they carefully explain how much better things can be when the Vision is achieved. To that end, they make a personal and powerful appeal to each and every employee asking them to help the college achieve something great.
b. Clarify Individual Roles – To achieve the Vision, all members of the college community must know the roles they play and how those roles contribute to the Vision. It is the leader’s job to ensure that all employees have the right capabilities and do their best to support the Vision, the College and the Students.
c. Make Time For Employees and Students – The best college leaders regularly make time to talk with and listen to employees and students. They attend meetings and events where employees and students will be present to see and hear what is going on. Employee and student ideas and suggestions are appreciated and valued. Good ideas are implemented, no matter where they come from.
d. Reinforce Good Performance – Great college leaders find a variety of ways to visibly reinforce performance that supports the Vision. They may praise, recognize or promote employees who are doing a good job. They may also make presentations, write about or even brag to others about employee performance, the results that have been achieved and the milestones that have been passed.
3. Put The Vision, Their Employees And Students First
a. The Vision – Great leaders know that the Vision cannot be theirs alone. It must be shared with the people who will take the college to the right place. These leaders make certain that every member of the college community knows exactly where they are trying to go and how employees can help. When employees are not clear about where the college is going, why the leader is taking them there and how they can contribute, they feel left out, fail to buy in and lose interest. That’s why exceptional leaders keep the Vision fresh, alive and always in front of their employees.