Leadership under Pressure

A great deal of information is available about how academic leaders can cope with the stress and pressure of their positions. Most of these resources offer excellent advice on how to relieve or escape stress and to reduce its negative effects on an administrator’s life. But much less information is available about how to lead under stress, how to (in the words of Kipling’s “If”) “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,” and how to focus on the good of your programs and their stakeholders despite serious challenges to your career or integrity. When it’s your campus that is in the midst of a natural disaster or terrorist attack, it’s not enough to cope with the pressure and make sure that your own interests are protected. These are the times when the purest form of leadership is necessary, and these situations can be among the severest tests of any administrator. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when facing your next crisis.

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