An Even Longer List

| October 31, 2017
Leadership / Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

This much said, here is a partial list of comments that Bill has gathered from other academic leaders, in response to the question, “What causes you the most stress?”:

  1. Leaders have “competing constituencies” that complicate the decision-making dynamic (i.e., 2 different depts. In the same college vying for the same stuff).
  2. Nothing can move forward productively without trust. But how does a leader develop and maintain trust with broad and diverse constituencies? One perspective: 20% will always approve of what you do, and 20% will always oppose it–focus on the 60% in the middle who need to be persuaded whether or not to trust you.
  3. Leaders must also keep in view the shared values/priorities of different “opponents,” and try not to encourage opponent groups to band together. Every major decision involves juggling a meat cleaver, a banana, and a bowling ball.
  4. The lieutenants (such as Associate Deans) are often charged with “fixing” everything.
  5. Perhaps the greatest challenge is leading alonewhich is all too often the case.
  6. It’s not often clear which or how much information the leader should share, and with whom.

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