Transformational Academic Leadership

coaching, your office
I was talking to a friend recently, while out walking the dog in the slush, and a university leader of our mutual acquaintance came up. And it had been such a nice, if soggy, walk until then! Regardless of the number of screeds published railing against the neoliberal, corporate university, one distinction between corporate and academic organizations that remains intact--much to academia's detriment, I contend--is the fact that managers in academia receive no training. Your dean or department head is unlikely to have taken courses or been trained in how to manage people or how to lead organizations. I don't think that a department or faculty should be run like a corporation or other business, but I think it's essential that the men and women who fill management roles in…
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Three Ways Coaching Culture Can Benefit Academic Culture

coaching, your office
One of the things I reflect on in my work with academics is how the language and strategies of coaching can benefit an entire organization. Coaching has a set of foundational assumptions and practices that are easy for anyone to employ. Think of these three simple ideas and how you can implement them in your academic workplace. Don't ask "why?". Asking someone the "why" of their actions or reasoning invites defensiveness and justification. Conversations based on defensiveness tend to go in circles and not lead anywhere meaningful. To make meaningful progress on an issue or agenda, try asking "what" questions, instead. ("How" and "where" are ok, too, but "what" is pretty powerful.) Compare "Why did you tell your students to use that resource?" with "What was the lesson connected with…
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Let’s Talk About Your “Problem”

your office
Oh, I'm sorry, maybe I didn't really mean you. I mean, well, if you DON'T actually have rooms full of books you haven't touched in ages then no, obviously, I was not talking to you at all. I'm so sorry for my impertinence. Move along; nothing to see here. If you're still here, I'm going to forge ahead on the assumption that you do, indeed, have a book problem. While I'll admit that this is marginally better than having a bookie problem, I'll go out on a limb and guess that you've had friends, significant others, or the people from the moving company comment on the size of your . . . collection. And while your shelves of tomes may provide you with a security blanket of sorts (I might…
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