Organizations, both public and private, need to cultivate a creative and innovative outlook, says Dr. Michael Lovell, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As technology and competition move faster and become more globalized, universities and private employers will have to react quickly to find new revenue streams and design products and services for people around the world.
Mark Mone, Associate Dean of Executive Programs, explains how graduates keen on entering the workforce need to hone a variety of skills. These include interpersonal communication, resume development, and career preparedness.
Recently, a colleague and I were talking about leadership decision making. We exchanged thoughts about the continuum of decisions, the “easy” to the “difficult” ones. Giving everyone a longer lunch hour on a sunny day is an easy decision to make for a leader. It is considerate and popular; who doesn’t like a little more personal time in the fresh air?
But then there are situations which demand a leader to show courage. The increasing importance of using social media in educational institutions for communicating with different audiences has meant that I decided to add social media usage as part of my staff’s performance plan in 2011. For a school that is largely successful because of its proactive marketing and on-the-ground relationship-building, social media is more of a necessity than an option. Was my decision (to add social media usage to employees’ performance plans) a popular decision? I guess it depends on who you ask. Some individuals accept new technology more readily. Simply said, they are aficionados of tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook Twitter, Four-Square and so forth. Others, in spite of providing training and coaching, do not come on board so easily. As a leader, I encourage and consistently send the message that everyone must engage in some form of social media practice. But to some staff, this may seem like top-down legislation. However, I view it as the responsibility of a leader to make and stay with decisions that are important for the overall success of the school.
Perhaps the most challenging decisions I have made as a leader are ones that have involved establishing new business practices, confronting a direct report on their lack of professionalism and performance, or dismissing an individual. I prefer to make data-based decisions, ones that will stand up to scrutiny and second-guessing, although they may not be popular. These are situations when a leader needs to show courage and decisiveness.
Every decision can be viewed from multiple perspectives. But whenever I have had to make popular decisions or ones that required courage, I have always endeavored to exercise my values of integrity and transparency.
As a leader, where does courage enter your daily routine?