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Cultivating Strong Leadership on Your Campus



Sheryl Sanberg has said, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Sanberg highlights that leadership has a ripple effect. Strong leaders elevate their environment and spur others to act with purpose. Unfortunately, the inverse is equally true: in the absence of thoughtful leaders, institutions may decline.

Here are our principals to cultivate a culture of leadership on your campus:

1. Highlight your history. All too often institutions have short memories. The majority of colleges have a rich history of leaders who have contributed to their communities. Legacy energizes mission. Share stories of the outstanding leaders who have been a part of your college.

2. Recognize the contributions of all. When control—and credit—is hoarded by a few C-leveled leaders, other employees have no incentive to invest in the mission of the organization. When employees on all levels forge innovations, streamline processes, or improve outcomes, take time to honor their accomplishments.

3. Articulate your mission and values. Thriving institutions have clear direction and drive. Never assume that everyone understands your mission and the way that is expressed in your current context. Give the members of your organization something to believe in and mobilize around.

4. Celebrate together. Insightful leaders recognize the importance of marking achievements. Whether it is the launching of a new program or the anniversary of your institution, take time to enjoy the landmarks together. This not only helps your organization recharge, it fosters strong connections among members of your team.