Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Personal observations on leadership

The ideal leader

Using Characteristics of the Ideal Leader in PKAL's publication, Leadership, group clusters and speakers at RPI provided advice on leadership:

  • As an agent of change, do not be over-prepared. If a leader is over-prepared, he/she may not be open to opportunities that present themselves. Often faculty seem to be adaptive in their classrooms; therefore, they should be able to do so as a committee.

  • The ability to communicate the vision is critical. A faculty member will not get buy-in from others if he is unable to articulate effectively the vision of the group and how others will benefit.

  • A leader needs to know how to deal with "I am the expert" mavericks. These individuals can make very positive contributions to the goal, but if too "controlling," they can stymie movement.

  • To build an effective team, leaders must identify and select individuals who are in tune with the political climate of the institution and know how to work within the system.

  • Leaders adapt and are dynamic. Sometimes, a team needs a strong leader; other times, the leader needs to work with the team on consensus. A leader must have an understanding of the group in order to push forward.

  • A leader gives up authority by delegating and trusting others.

  • A leader understands the importance of combining research with teaching and reaching out to others.