Desirable Leadership Behavior for Higher Education

January 24, 2015 | Posted in Education, Leadership | By

Leadership is in a sense a pattern of thinking that is shown through a leader’s behavior. This past weekend I read a very interesting study about effective leadership behavior within higher education. I would like to share with you the important points from that study.

This quantitative study asserted that if certain leadership patterns or behaviors were present, this would lead to improvements in the subsequent processes, and in turn the quality of services provided by the higher education institution.


These desirable leadership patterns are known as Bryman’s proposal of desirable higher education leadership behaviors.

Desirable Leadership Behavior for Higher Education

  • A proactive approach to pursuing the university’s missions
  • An emphasis on a visionary approach that guides and provides focus for what the leader seeks to achieve for the institution
  • Being internally focused, and well connected in the institution, being seen and drawing inspiration from its participants
  • Being externally focused, having a good understanding for higher education, and networking with a variety of constituents and reinforcing within those constituencies the direction the university is taking
  • Having personal integrity
  • Introducing changes in a way that entails consultation with others
  • Importance of not sealing leaders off from the university at large
  • Importance of not undermining pre-existing organizational culture
  • Being flexible in approach to leadership
  • Entrepreneurial and risk-taking
  • Influencing the organizational culture and values to support change
  • Designing structures to support change

In addition, this study identified another set of undesirable leadership behaviors to avoid within higher education:

Undesirable Leadership Behavior for Higher Education

  • Failing to consult
  • Not respecting existing values
  • Actions that undermine collegiality
  • Not promoting the interests of those for whom the leader is responsible
  • Being uninvolved in the life of the department or institution
  • Undermining autonomy
  • Allowing the department or institution to drift

I pray this is a good encouragement for you higher education leaders out there. I will leave you with this excellent quote and bible verse;

The authority by which the Christian leader leads is not power but love, not force but example, not coercion but reasoned persuasion. Leaders have power, but power is safe only in the hands of those who humble themselves to serve.” – John Scott

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. – Matthew 20:26


Works Cited

Flumerfelt, S., & Banachowski, M. (July 12, 2011). Understanding leadership paradigms for improvement in higher education. Quality Assurance in Education, 19, 3, 224-247.

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Goal Setting in 2015 – Hitting the Bullseye!

December 28, 2014 | Posted in Professional Development, Purpose | By

If you are reading this post, then I assume you are interested in being productive and growing in a positive direction for 2015. That is great!

Last year, I received a good amount of feedback on the blog about goal setting titled; Target Practice: Being a High Achiever in 2014. Therefore, I wanted to “dust off” that post and share some additional perspective that I learned from this past year. This post summarizes how I personally am effective in establishing yearly goals. Please choose what is most valuable for you.

Each year, I continue to spend a week or so before and after the New Year for goal setting. I think about all sorts of ideas, tasks, plans, and desires I would like to be apart of in the future. I set this time aside so that I can focus my energy and time productively during the future year. Most importantly, I spend consistent time in prayer bringing these thoughts to God; asking Him for direction in the upcoming year.

Here are a couple of very important reasons why goal setting is valuable:

First, high achievers are goal oriented. People who achieve, create goals, and plan. We are a great deal more effective in our personal, professional, and even spiritual lives when we set goals for ourselves. This is a plain and simple truth, if you want to make the most of your year and really achieve great results, SET GOALS! 

Second, We tend to get what we focus on. I want to focus my energy on good, timeless, and God-honoring goals that are beneficial for myself, my circles of influence, and those I care about. I have found that if you do not set your sights to focus on good things, you will get distracted by things that aren’t. You get what you focus on — focus on the Lord and the plans He has for you. If you do not set your sights on a good target, you will decrease the likelihood of hitting anything worthwhile.


When setting your goals for this next year, here are a couple of important things to keep in mind:

1) Make SMART goals.

SMART goals are SpecificMeasurableAssignableRealistic, and Time Related (SMART)Make your goals with SMART in mind.

After I start thinking through my ideas for the next year, I make sure that all of my goals eventually fit these characteristics. Here are few examples of my 2015 goals using the SMART guidelines:

  • Become a basic conversationalist in Spanish by completing the level 1 and 2 courses by Rosetta Stone (carried over from 2014).
  • Maintain a regular exercise pattern by working out a minimum of three times a week (carried over from 2014).
  • Continue to maintain my Website and Blog, actively post new knowledge and engaging content bi-weekly (carried over from 2014).
  • Develop as a teacher of the bible; evaluate and commit to preaching  at 5 different church services, opportunities, or events this year (New Goal).

2) Write down your goals.

By writing down your goals you engage yourself to really think about what is important to you during the next year. If you do not take the time to write out your goals, you will be less likely to achieve them.

Michael Hyatt shared on his blog last year about a conclusive research study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California. Her study on goal-setting with 267 participants found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down.

3) Get accountability and regularly discuss your goals with others you trust.

After I develop my goals for the year, I share them with a group of close men whom I trust. One of them is my good friend Sam, who shared with me last year the following reminder about goals setting and accountability:

“The ultimate outcome we want is to go through life together and get each other’s back so that we can successfully keep moving in the direction God is calling us to. So, spend some time just thinking and praying about this next year … Remember, Community is God’s answer to defeat. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

Remember, you can try, but you can’t live life well on your own. We all need other people to walk with us, work with us, and watch out for us. In fact you Be sure you share you goals with someone you trust and ask for accountability in how you are working to achieve your goals throughout the year.

4) Do not get discouraged when you feel that you’re not meeting some of your goals.

This past year I personally missed achieving about half of my 2014 goals. That does not discourage me, most high achievers frequently miss their goals. Think how many goals I would have achieved if I did not set any yearly goals? Probably little or none. Goal setting for the year is key; but realize you may not achieve all that you set your sites. Do not get discouraged.

5) Do not be afraid to re-prioritize your goals throughout the year.

An exciting part of goals setting is that they can be changed. Frequently I will go through the year, stumble upon some additional information or be led by God in another direction. During these times some of my yearly goals will change. Given that we desire to constantly learn more, our aim or goals will frequently change. Do not be afraid to tweak your goals, this is not admitting defeat, but rather applying additional knowledge that you received to improve your aim.

6) Make sure your yearly goals build your purpose in life.

Purpose in life is largely derived from the belief that you have valued activities in which to engage.

You do not wake up one morning and simply accomplish your purpose in life. It is a constant, consistent, and committed set of activities that you will complete each day, week, and year. They compound into a long-term impact for those around you, and ultimately for the glory of God. Setting your yearly goals is deciding upon which activities are most important and most beneficial for you to accomplish, which build your purpose in life.

If you are still breathing (which I assume you are if you are reading this), then you have a purpose in life. There are important things that God is wanting to use you for, to make positive impact in our circles of influence, serve others, build His Kingdom and glorify Him. How you are going to achieve your purpose in life without knowing what that is, asking him for direction, and then working on those things through the year?

Remember, if you do not pick up your arrow and set your sights on the target, you will miss 100% of the time. If you wish to be a high achiever for 2015, be sure you take time to set your yearly goals!

God Bless in 2015!

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