Sunday, March 1, 2009

Academic Leadership

The world academia is akin to the vast forest where various types of species thrive

An academic institution is full of such potentials. Highly intellectual individuals ,each with his own pursuit, people in love with acquisition of knowledge and dissemination of the same

Should they be managed? and if so ; What are the qualities of their managers?

Managers who act as mere administrators, reading loudly from a list of 'do's and dont's' often make poor academic leaders. These are the same type of leaders who are so cautious to make an intellectual decision, have an obsessive fear of the 'unknown' and resort to the safest rule of administration. "If in doubt- dont do it"

Academics who approach such administrators will often be given expected, run- of -the- mill answers to their questions

There is little room for innovation in this sort of leadership sphere. "Out-of-the box" thinking requires new rules to be throught of and be eventually written. Administrators work from rules already written. They often love saying "no" as it represents renewed insignia of 'authority'. Sometimes responding with a "no" answer even before the question is well understood!

Such leadership stiffles academic progress.

Leaders should perhaps be like a lion. He's gentle and caring, eats only when hungry, and always comforting to the young. He only roars when necessary, as frequently roaring diminishes ones voice and makes people think that 'He always shouts- so take no notice!'. He does not wait for food to be delivered , but takes initiative to go out and hunt. Leaders frequently seek and reach out and not to be merely victims of fate, or wait to be attacked like a sitting duck.

He attacks sometimes, but after careful consideration or repeated provocation.He takes pride in being in a team.

He's respected even after his demise. Even his skin is displayed proudly on the wall after his death - a symbol to remind about power and authority.

Lion King, perhaps?