Finding Administrative Balance

Academic Leader

When we think of the qualities that are central to great academic leaders, a commitment to balance usually doesn’t head the list. We may talk about the leader’s need for vision, integrity, superb communication skills, collegiality, decisiveness, and resourcefulness. But we may overlook balance entirely, dismissing it as a soft, almost weak, quality—the sort of trait more suitable for a manager than a leader. Providing genuine leadership, we may think, requires us to be determined and focused; seeking balance is the sort of thing people do when they’re willing to compromise on key principles simply to avoid a little conflict. And yet there are many ways in which administrators who don’t give balance its due end up harming their institutions and undermining the very leadership they thought they were demonstrating.

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