Today's reading in The College Administrator's Survival Guide caused me to giggle and ask "am I reading the right material for my professional development?" Gunsalus writes,
Your role as a academic head requires that you set the tone, including establishing consistent expectations for successful and appropriate professional conduct, and that you provide sincere compliments for conducts that meets those expectations. The catch is that you must be comfortable being the authority figure in an anti-authoritarian environment. This will take a special touch. The key is to examine your own behavior ahead of time and consider the persona you'll need for your professional role. Generally the only way you can influence others is to change your own behavior.
Now for a recommendation that may surprise you. You can learn a great deal about how to be an effective leader in academia by reading books on parenting and dog training. They teach you simply ways to modify your behavior, build effective communication skills, improve listening, and suggest practical ways to ensure that your words and actions send a consistent - rather than mixed - message.
How funny. Who would have thunk it ... to be effective in college administration one should read dog training books? Hm ... I wonder if our two accreditation commissions would be impressed with my professional library the next time they visit if I line a shelf or two with volumes of pet training and parenting books?
At this point I am not ready to invest the money or time required to read "pet training" books to improve my service to Barclay College and School of Graduate Studies but I do get the point. The only person I can change is self ... and by assessing and improving the impact I have on my colleagues will ultimately benefit the Institution.
Heavenly Father, my desire is to glorify You through my life,be conformed into the image of Jesus Christ and to participate with the work You are doing in the world today. I give You full access to my life ... change me according to Your will and purpose. Help me to be a blessing to those whom I have the privilege to administrate and serve at Barclay College. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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