Reframing Academic Leadership (first 100 pages)

These are some thoughts about a book I am reading for the Penn State Library Leaders group.  The book Reframing Academic Leadership by Bolman and Gallos is relatively short and focuses on the dissection of higher education leadership using a model of environments and roles for administrators.

One of the early points that has stuck with me is how leaders can take one of two approaches to interactions and communication: advocacy (where you speak to convince) or inquiry (in which you speak to discover). Advocacy is easier for me than inquiry though I am getting good at active listening.  It would be great to learn more skills that combine advocacy and inquiry at same time or in same situation.

The first framework of academy that seems appealing to me at first is the structural approach.  That problems can be addressed by changing organizational structure and roles.  Maybe because I am an engineer.

The second structure uses a confusing “jungle” metaphor, limited resources and many independent groups competing for it.  This chapter does introduce politics in higher education is a very understandable way, but the example is off putting (President Quixote?) and they forget to mention what the resources administration controls that is useful in deal making.

Servant and caregiver is also a favorite metaphor, perhaps due to the role of the libraries on campus.  But moreso I think because it focuses most on individual job satisfaction and the work environment.  I have seen in my short career MUCH more effective work out of a happy and content unit than a demoralized and confused one.  This may seem obvious, but I think leaders often write off personal feelings and experiences in the face of professionalism and privacy.

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One Response to Reframing Academic Leadership (first 100 pages)

  1. Marcy Bidney says:

    interesting about advocacy vs. inquiry – in many situations they go hand in hand. I think you can have inquiry without advocacy but I don’t think you can have advocacy without inquiry. But even then, inquiry will probably lead to advocacy.

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