A survival guide for college managers and leaders by David Collins

By David Collins

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A regular mission reexamination is a real opportunity to concentrate on the key strengths of the organization and steer clear of any areas that the college doesn't feel it either is or can be good at. Are you focusing on skills for employment? Is your primary focus to regenerate your local community? Are you striving for academic excellence? What is really important to you and what is less so? After all, if everyone isn't clear as to what the organization is really about, what hope is there? Try and keep 32 A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR COLLEGE MANAGERS & LEADERS the mission specific, focused and stated in as few words as possible.

Thirdly, there are a variety of methods of communication, some of which are more suitable than others for particular situations. With the spread of email, not only are the skills of letter writing beginning to fall into disrepair (and there are times when a letter is much more appropriate to the circumstance) but there are some managers who are in danger of forgetting that the telephone or indeed a direct face-to-face conversation is sometimes the quickest and best way to get a message across. Having mastered these basics, there remain the vital questions of who to communicate with, when, where and how.

Similarly, some new managers approach their first meetings with their staff as if they are dealing with people who are new to the sector rather than most likely individuals and groups with a wealth of experience between them. Try and enter the new role as if you and your colleagues are old friends who have been working together for years. Aim to bring out as early as possible evidence of their skills and experience in what you ask them to do and be quick to recognize their contribution. Your first major task is to create a new team ethos of which you are a part, not to demonstrate your own personal skills, no matter how great they may be.

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