Leaders in the education sector play a vital role in building their institutes’ environment, outlook, and prestige.
Schools with influential leaders are the cornerstones where students advance academically and learn to push beyond their limitations. And although society needs a good leader across all sectors, their role in higher education goes to an entirely different extent. This is because poor leadership positions can quickly undermine your institute’s goals and compromise the quality of education provided. And since higher education paves the way for professional lives and building careers, the importance of a resilient leader can’t get undermined.
With innovation and technology impacting every industry, academia has quickly grown in the past few decades. Education now takes a more entrepreneurial approach in how students learn, instructors demonstrate, and professors collaborate, on-campus and off. But these changing trends also give rise to a new set of challenges. So, to combat these and prepare students for personal and professional success, leaders must have certain traits to help them accomplish this.
To help with the hiring process, here are seven crucial things you must consider when hiring someone for leadership positions in the higher education sector.
1. Their vision and plan
Leaders must have a clear vision regarding how they want to see an organization grow and prosper. Without it, they’re flying blind, and their actions will have little or no consequence.
Working towards a defined vision prevents institutional stagnation and confusion in the organization. Leaders must communicate their plans and goals with team members to ensure every action they make aligns with their ultimate vision for the school. By doing so, you reinvent your higher education leadership search and pick out the best individual from a group of applicants.
More importantly, candidates must understand that being able to lead is a privilege, not an entitlement. Therefore, their vision and goals must reflect your institute’s collective needs rather than addressing a personal agenda.
2. Their ability to utilize available resources
Schools generate copious amounts of data that can aid in developing better and more beneficial academic programs. Unfortunately, not everyone can efficiently use this data to its full potential and avail of its invaluable insights. For example, the results and figures from standardized or school assessments help determine the efficiency of particular strategies. These are crucial for an institute’s urge for continuous improvement and to promote equitable opportunities for all stakeholders. However, if your administrator or principal cannot find a correlation between the two, all this data will be for naught.
Additionally, available funds and resources have decreased considerably due to economic turmoil, inflation, and global crises. Therefore, school leaders must work with limited supplies without trading off on student education and training.
3. Their passion
Transforming and developing your school towards certain standards is not a one-person job. It requires a team of like-minded individuals willing to follow a leader to achieve specific goals. For this, their leaders must be passionate. Without passion, it’s easy to give up on tasks and fail to follow through when particular expectations don’t get met.
Since the education sector caters to various individuals, fulfilling your goals isn’t easy. And repeated failures often result in school leaders quitting their job within a short tenure. But someone passionate about schooling, students, or the education sector, in general, is likelier to stick around and push through the tough times. These candidates develop credible and efficient approaches that help students progress despite their circumstances.
4. Their collaborative approach
Most people are more comfortable working alone than they are with others. However, working independently limits individuals’ thinking and prevents them from learning through new perspectives and experiences. By respecting and acknowledging the skills and expertise of other professionals, leaders can take on more effective approaches when dealing with higher education challenges. They must bridge the gap between stakeholders in the education system and use this as an opportunity to learn from one another. These collaborations also allow leaders to explore and assess innovative teaching methods that may benefit their students.
If your candidate doesn’t find collaboration a practical leadership approach, perhaps you should look elsewhere.
5. Their intellectual curiosity
Just like educational leaders strive for continual improvement in their institutes, they must also see themselves as lifelong learners. Their unquenchable thirst for knowledge makes them the ideal professionals to run the educational sector. While it may seem pointless to continue learning when they reach a position of power, this is where their commitment gets tested the most.
With the world developing and transforming rapidly, there’s no guarantee on how quickly academic practices of today will become obsolete. And so, to keep the learning and progress of their students from becoming stagnant, leaders must constantly strive to grow and challenge themselves occasionally.
6. Their commitment to an all-inclusive culture
Cultural diversity and classroom inclusivity is becoming widely crucial phenomena in schools across the globe. With education now accessible to larger groups of individuals from marginalized communities, the student population is not the same as it was a few decades ago.
School leaders play a crucial role in shaping their students’ academic experiences. And so, they must break down cultural barriers and fight ethnic stereotypes when needed. But battling these racial obstacles isn’t always easy. Hiring a leader committed to ensuring classrooms remain all-inclusive will foster equity and create a better workforce and more tolerant communities.
7. Their skills
Higher education leaders can significantly impact students’ progress and eventual transition into the professional world. While their academic qualification may provide them with theoretical knowledge, it’s through their skills and relevant experience that they can truly shape a student’s life. More importantly, modern technology and globalization are opening doors to new hindrances that are impossible to predict and too complex to struggle with.
But leaders with skills like those listed below have better chances of faring against the odds and coming out stronger. Therefore, look for an educational leader who can:
- be adaptable
- communicate well
- stay organizational
- think critically
- be innovative
An educational leader’s role goes well beyond planning the school curriculum. They can bring dreams to fruition, inspire others, and create meaningful futures. Regardless of a student’s background or circumstance, they can bring out their full potential and transform entire communities. The ability to do all this doesn’t happen by chance. These leaders possess certain qualities that make these outcomes possible and help them succeed in their roles.
If you’re looking to employ a higher education leader for your institute, consider the attributes above to ensure you make the right hiring decision.