College administrators should be effective in their management
and administrative duties. In addition, they should also strive to become leaders.
Leadership and management are different in many respects. They are both
required to effectively guide and direct complex organizations.
Academic administrators, especially those in presidential and top-level positions, have
many diverse responsibilities to fulfill in their professional roles. As heads of
learning institutions, top administrators should be respected by the faculty and others in
the line of the organization. As heads of multi-million dollar organizations, top
administrators should be well-versed in business, administrative, and economic theory.
As heads of non-profit institutions, top administrators should be skilled in
promoting their institutions to contributors and to those in charge of allocating funds
from a variety philanthropic, grant-giving, and state funding agencies. As
heads of social organizations, top administrators should be inspiring and motivating to
those over whom they work.
Faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, boards of trustees,
accrediting bodies, communities, governments, and interest groups all place different
demands on college and university officials. This wide variety of stakeholders and
constituencies who have vested interests in the institutions requires that those filling
top-level positions be versatile and able to diplomatically appease the demands of the
various groups. To successfully meet such a diverse set of professional demands, top
administrators must be able to switch between 10 managerial roles that managers and
organizational leaders must regularly perform and assume to function effectively in their
positions. He described those roles as:
- Disturbance Handler
- Resource Allocator
All10 managerial roles apply to college administrators. In
fact, to effectively perform their role responsibilities, administrators must be
proficient in all 10 of Mintzbergs managerial roles. Of particular interest in
this essay is Mintzbergs leader role. In Mintzbergs list, it
is just one of the 10 roles that he identified and appears no more important than any of
the other nine roles. However, the leader role deserves considerably more attention.
Leadership is a word that is used in American culture to refer
to a wide variety of power relationships and is often misused as interchangeable with
other words and concepts (click here to read an article from the Abilene Reporter-News about these
ideas). Not until one understands the distinctions between leadership and other
words that describe power relationships can the true importance of the leader role be
The management and administrative functions of a top-level
college position requires that things be kept in ordermany of Mintzbergs roles
are management roles. Management deals with complexityplanning, organizing,
and controlling work. Managers make sure that things are done to help the
organization accomplish its work in a coordinated and efficient way. As far as the
relationship with people, management is concerned with finding the people best able to
fulfill work responsibilities, training and compensating those people, and communicating
with those people about goals, processes, progress, and adjustments.
Leadership is something different. As mentioned in the Abilene
Reporter-News article, leadership involves creating idealized visions, inspiring and
building confidence in others, setting personal examples for the followers, and working
with the followers toward the groups goals. Leaders, through their visions of
an idealized end state, provide followers with a desired destination toward which to work.
The visions provided by leaders and the confidence they instill in their followers
give the organization steadiness and direction in times of change and uncertainty.
Leaders create and thrive in change.
Top-level college officers should be administratorsthey
should spend time and energy ensuring that the things that need attention and action
receive attention and action. They should oversee the administrative and management
processes of their institutions to make sure that they function efficiently and that they
properly plan for and accomplish their goals. However, in addition to being
effective managers, top-level administrators should also strive to be institutional
Colleges and universities are social organizationsthey are
made up of people and the work that they perform involves the transformation of people
(i.e., students). To effectively guide social organizations, top-level
administrators must be leaders. They must create and establish visions of idealized
states that the members of the organization find desirable and which they wish to attain.
Through effective motivation, individualized attention to people, inspired
confidence, personal example, and clearly articulated goals, leaders help guide and show
their people the things they can accomplish together. Effective leaders create
cultures that value exceptional accomplishments, teamwork and interdependence, member
contribution and involvement, and learning and improvement.
Through the processes of leadership, followers can become
self-active leaders themselves. Leaders ensure that everyone in the
organization understands and clearly sees where the organization is going and what needs
to be done to get it there. Once followers know where they are going and why getting
there is important, they can be free to do their parts in getting to the goal.
Effective leaders are able to inspire and encourage those they work with to become leaders
If top-level administrators fail to become leaders or disregard
leadership, they will find themselves managing organizations that have no accepted goals,
steady and certain direction, or self-active and contributing followers. Those who
are only administrators might have well planned, efficient, and organized institutions,
but their schools will lack a vitality and energy that only comes with committed,
directed, and high-performing people.
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