• Know the difference between effective leadership and good management. Management is about working within the boundaries of the status quo, whereas leadership has more to do with seeing other, wider possibilities and trying to make them happen. (Jenny Mathers). To be effective, however, leaders also have to be able to be managers too (Katie Normington).
• Understand that leadership is divorced from rank. Lecturer level staff and support staff can demonstrate exceptional leadership. It comes with being able to manage, but it's also personal quality, much bound up with inspiring trust, demonstrating empathy, and managing change in an emotionally intelligent fashion. Visions and missions are only tools after all; one cannot manage soldiers into battle. (Catherine Harper).
• Do university leaders need to be academics to understand their colleagues? Quite a few UK universities have got VCs who are not academics. It's the same debate as to whether hospital consultants should run hospitals. In the end surely there is no right or wrong and it depends on the ability of the person. But academics want to feel they are understood and supported and maybe that is why they sometimes want an academic lead (Katie Normington).
• Leadership roles often 'find' the individual (Jenny Mathers). But higher education needs to be more proactive about making sure those who are in leadership positions choose proactively to do that (Catherine Harper).
• How do you move up in higher education? Start by sitting in on groups outside your own academic department – it is a chance to meet a greater range of people which may be of help later (Katie Normington).
• Academic leadership can be a stigmatised career choice. A twist of "those who can't do, teach" – for academics it is "those who can't teach (or do research), lead". Finding good examples where leaders successfully make more room for academics to do their work, could help contribute towards cultural changes in universities. (Curt Rice).
• Delegating problems upwards is endemic and leaders fall for it every time. They want to be the hero who fights every fire, but it takes time and patience to help people fight their own fires. Coaching your team to success is less heroic but often more effective (Jo Owen).
• Good leaders have the humility to learn. Leaders often see it as a sign of weakness to admit that they need training in dealing with people (Jo Owen).
• Gender imbalance in leadership is a huge issue. At Future Leaders most participants are female, but most of the people who get to leadership positions are male. There is a clear bias among governing bodies whose role it is to appoint. Also, men tend to pitch for promotion when they are halfway ready, whether female participants want to be sure that they are really ready to step up. But no-one is ever ready to take the top spot for the first time (Jo Owen).
• A well-chosen mentor pays dividends. It doesn't have to be a long mentoring relationship, sometimes one of two honest chats can make a difference or help make a decision. But make sure you pay it back when you are asked to help someone else (Catherine Harper).
• Learning from predecessors is important. But sometimes you have to 'unlearn' too (Katie Normington). To succeed, it's important to find your own style – hard when there aren't many role models around – and then believe in your work and your self (Katie Normington).
• Great leaders are humble and innovative. They look out for good ideas and innovation but are also willing to subject their own pet projects to scrutiny and amend (or scrap) them if they don't gain any support (Jenny Mathers). They are also humble enough to say "sorry, I got that wrong, and "thanks for pointing that out" without feeling loss of face (Catherine Harper).
• Harnessing innovation throughout the institution is a challenge (Paul Gentle). If innovation is just seen as coming from the top (by the leader), others can be resistant. Good leaders listen too and take innovation from wherever they find it in the organisation (Katie Normington).
• Leadership qualities are: Humility, competence, ability to simultaneously 'own' issues/stories and still give credit to those who did the hard work. Political skill, both internally and externally, is good (Curt Rice). Never losing sight of the bigger picture, the ability to think and act strategically, compassion and a sense of humour (Jenny Mathers).
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Don't get in the way of your own learning. Here are five ways to step aside and continue to increase your smarts.
Most people don't really think much about how they learn. Generally you assume learning comes naturally. You listen to someone speak either in conversation or in a lecture and you simply absorb what they are saying, right? Not really. In fact, I find as I get older that real learning takes more work. The more I fill my brain with facts, figures, and experience, the less room I have for new ideas and new thoughts. Plus, now I have all sorts of opinions that may refute the ideas being pushed at me. Like many people I consider myself a lifelong learner, but more and more I have to work hard to stay open minded.
But the need for learning never ends, so your desire to do so should always outweigh your desire to be right. The world is changing and new ideas pop up everyday; incorporating them into your life will keep you engaged and relevant. The following are the methods I use to stay open and impressionable. They'll work for you too. No matter how old you get.
1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
You know the one I am talking about. It's the little voice that offers a running commentary when you are listening to someone. It's the voice that brings up your own opinion about the information being provided. It is too easy to pay more attention to the inner voice than the actual speaker. That voice often keeps you from listening openly for good information and can often make you shut down before you have heard the entire premise. Focus less on what your brain has to say and more on the speaker. You may be surprised at what you hear.
2. Argue With Yourself
If you can't quiet the inner voice, then at least use it to your advantage. Every time you hear yourself contradicting the speaker, stop and take the other point of view. Suggest to your brain all the reasons why the speaker may be correct and you may be wrong. In the best case you may open yourself to the information being provided. Failing that, you will at least strengthen your own argument.
3. Act Like You Are Curious
Some people are naturally curious and others are not. No matter which category you are in you can benefit from behaving like a curious person. Next time you are listening to information, make up and write down three to five relevant questions. If you are in a lecture, Google them after for answers. If you are in a conversation you can ask the other person. Either way you'll likely learn more, and the action of thinking up questions will help encode the concepts in your brain. As long as you're not a cat you should benefit from these actions of curiosity.
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
No concept or theory comes out of thin air. Somewhere in the elaborate concept that sounds like complete malarkey there is some aspect that is based upon fact. Even if you don't buy into the idea, you should at least identify the little bit of truth from whence it came. Play like a detective and build your own extrapolation. You'll enhance your skills of deduction and may even improve the concept beyond the speaker's original idea.
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger
Often people shut out learning due to the person delivering the material. Whether it's a boring lecturer, someone physically unappealing, or a member of the opposite political party, the communicator can impact your learning. Even friends can disrupt the learning process since there may be too much history and familiarity to see them as an authority on a topic. Separate the material from the provider. Pretend you don't know the person or their beliefs so you can hear the information objectively. As for the boring person, focus on tip two, three, or four as if it were a game, thereby creating your own entertainment.
An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for
Do you have what it takes?
Here are eight qualities of remarkable employees:
1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.
When a key customer's project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there's a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it's not their job.
2. They’re eccentric... The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.
People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.
3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun... until it isn't. When a major challenge pops up or a situation gets stressful, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team.
Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.
4. They publicly praise... Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.
Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.
5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.
Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.
6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately.
An employee once asked me a question about potential layoffs. After the meeting I said to him, “Why did you ask about that? You already know what's going on.” He said, “I do, but a lot of other people don't, and they're afraid to ask. I thought it would help if they heard the answer from you.”
Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.
7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. The kid without a college degree or the woman who was told she didn't have leadership potential often possess a burning desire to prove other people wrong.
Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.
8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.
Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can't help it.
Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up from ghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden
The only three true job interview questions are:1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you love the job?
3. Can we tolerate working with you?
That’s it. Those three. Think back, every question you’ve ever posed to others or had asked of you in a job interview is a subset of a deeper in-depth follow-up to one of these three key questions. Each question potentially may be asked using different words, but every question, however it is phrased, is just a variation on one of these topics: Strengths, Motivation, and Fit.