Smith, B. L. and Hughey, A. W. (2006) ‘Leadership in higher education – its evolution and potential’, Industry and Higher Education, 20 (3), pp. 157-163.

This article provides a general outline of the importance of leadership, specific to colleges and universities. It doesn’t have a strong conclusion as it’s more of a snapshot of the existing landscape. Some interesting points and quotes from this article can be found below.

Leaders can be categorised as:

  1. Transactional – needs and rewards as sources of motivation
  2. Transformative – understand and recognise their followers needs and attempt to raise those needs

There are five fundamental leadership practices:

  1. Challenge the process
  2. Inspire a shared vision
  3. Enable others to act
  4. Model the way (lead by example)
  5. Encourage the heart (recognise and celebrate efforts/accomplishments)

The paper made me think a lot about the idea of “leadership everywhere”. When we think of those who lead we’re generally drawn towards the top of the organisational pyramid. But leadership should and does appear throughout an organisation’s structure. The following quote in particular was very interesting. To me, this sounds a lot like a project manager!

“…effective leaders are often described as individuals who are able to control resources in a way that organises the organisation to effectively meet its goals” (Ginsburg, 1997, p. 27 cited in mith and Hughey 2006)

The paper also emphasised the importance leaders have to play in ensuring the environment and working conditions are conducive to the overall success of the organisation.

Other key quotes

“in order to be a leader in higher education, one must be a ‘dove’ of peace intervening among warring factions that are causing destructive turbulence in the college, a dragon driving away both internal and external forces that threaten the college, and a diplomat guiding, inspiring, and encouraging people who live and work in the college environment” (Gmelch, 2000, p. 1 cited in Smith and Hughey 2006)

“Yet whether the goal is to generate a profit or educate students, leadership constitutes one of the most critical determinants of ultimate success or failure.”

“…the bulk of the available research on leadership is marked by confusion and dominated by trendy nonsense.” (Maddux, 2002, p. 41 cited in Smith and Hughey 2006)


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