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Three Traits Every University President Must Have


If you aspire to be a college president in the future, there are things you should be putting in place now. While each college or university has its own required qualifications, there are a number of traits that transcend institutions. Here are four traits every college president must have:

  • Practice people skills. Here’s the hard truth: soft skills matter. Leaders—including academic leaders—lead people. Social and communication skills are central to becoming a strong leader and a viable candidate for college president.

  • Character counts. Nothing will derail your career trajectory like a scandal. However, integrity means more than avoiding a shocking headline. The way you treat others is one of your biggest qualification for any role.

  • Know your blind spots. You cannot get stronger unless you know your weaknesses. In addition to continually addressing deficiencies, competent leaders surround themselves with complementary skill sets.

  • It’s a game of strategy. Higher Education is in a time of change. College presidents must be agile and innovative, without being reactionary. Problem-solving skills are essential for those pursuing leadership.

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