In the higher education management community there are essential lessons that I’ve learned along the way that one must always keep in their toolbox when dealing with the faculty, students and staff. No matter how busy one becomes, or how impacted their position may seem; those in higher education should remember these five essential tools when interacting with their community.
Listen to your constituents- Listening is an underrated skill and with today’s technology many do not take the time to just sit and listen to the other person. A lot of people are engaged in doing something on their phones, tablets or computers. Value others by being an effective listener and interacting in the conversation. It can potentially increase the relationship you have with those you are supervising or the stakeholders you are serving.
Be open to change- Today’s technological landscape and student population are forever transforming how we educate students. As educators and administrators, we need to be open to ideas of change and how to make our environment more appealing and inviting to the students. Creative classroom settings with technological advancements and blended environments are more appealing that the traditional college classroom setting once was. By providing more options you can invite more students to engage in learning opportunities.
Keep criticism to a minimum- As much as the other directors didn’t listen to you during your meeting because they were reading e-mails on their phones the whole time annoyed you; it doesn’t mean you have to let the entire campus know how much it bothered you. Keep criticism of others to a minimum. Negativity in the workplace can not only hinder your professional career but can affect the morale of your team. Take a walk or go for a break instead. Then come back with a fresh perspective and new outlook on the situation.
Be responsive- Often there are times when you do not have all the answers. It is okay to not know everything, but you should make an effort to find the information and get back to the individual who asked in a reasonable amount of time. Being responsive and willing to learn new information is important. It shows not only initiative but also that you are ready and committed to your job.
Take time for you- Everyone needs a break and at times we forget to take one for ourselves. Don’t wait for HR to send you a notice telling you to take your time. Make sure you schedule holidays for yourself. It will be a better way to relieve stress and anxieties than having it forced upon you. Just be sure to turn off the e-mail feed.