December 13, 2006

Leadership close to the bone...

The web site of the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE) in the UK, states:

'...The Leadership Foundation provides a dedicated service of support and advice on leadership, governance and management for all the UK’s universities and Higher Education colleges... the Leadership Foundation is committed to developing and improving the management and leadership skills of existing and future leaders of Higher Education... In the first 3/4 years, our major programme of development is supported by £10m from the four UK funding bodies...'

If you download the membership directory at the site, you will notice that each member university has an allocated 'Leadership and Management Development' person, usually a senior manager. So you can check who the lucky 'Leadership and Management Development' person is in your university, and we'll let you decide on the leadership qualities of these individuals.

The LFHE site also states: '...Top Management Programme (TMP) is a personal and professional development programme for those operating at the most strategic levels in HEIs. Participants should be responsible for a substantial area of the institution’s operations, in either an academic or an administrative role... TMP is a tailored opportunity for those with the potential to reach the top, to prepare for the top positions.

TMP includes :

  • Personal diagnostics - including 360 degree feedback
  • Focused workshop sessions
  • Case Studies and simulations
  • Group and individual projects
  • Action Learning
  • Coaching...
The Head of Department (HOD) programme is a six-day development programme, delivered in two modules, for those who are newly appointed to head of department posts in academic, administrative or professional services environments within higher education. It is designed to engage and develop those who are new to the operational challenges of leading and managing an academic, research or support team.

HOD focuses upon the fundamental attributes of personal leadership and its application in the complex organisational context of the higher education sector. The programme provides a framework exploring the practise of leadership, methods to approach challenging staffing issues and how change can be managed and achieved...


Participants will:

  • Examine the application of leadership and management in order to achieve organisational aims [these could be anything] and improve their own performance [we'll vote for that...]
  • Ask ‘what is strategy?’ and consider how to move beyond purely operational management to become a more strategic thinker [pigs fly...]
  • Explore the cross institutional ‘big picture’ of UK and global HE leadership [how to make money...]
  • Learn how to identify, strengthen and deploy leadership styles and gain greater awareness of the impact on others of their actions [self-reflection!]
  • Investigate risk and systematic management of processes and outputs [sorry, but incapable...]
  • Appraise successful mechanisms for managing conflict [pigs fly...]
  • Consider the factors which affect and support personal and organisational performance [yes, like their own ignornace and incompetence...]
  • Enhance their ability to give and receive constructive feedback [we love this one, academic freedom of expression!]
  • Develop an objective picture of their current leadership strengths and developmental needs [useless and incompetent...]
  • Formulate and prioritise a personal development plan [yes, there will be a test tomorrow morning...]
  • Gain an effective network of relationships with peers on the programme [liaise with other bullies...]

  • Special features

  • Personal diagnostics which will enable participants to appreciate their approach to leading and managing change [may we suggest they look for another job...]
  • Practical exercises, simulation, case studies and comparisons [what about some real teaching...]
  • Cross institutional understanding of leadership practice in UK HEIs [downsizing...]
  • Using Shakespeare’s Henry V, a session facilitated by Olivier Mythodrama allow participants to explore and apply the notion of inspirational leadership and engagement with their teams [Zzzzzzzzzzzz...]

  • Now you would have thought that with all this dedicated assistance (and all the money available), that our academic managers would become/are enlightened leaders. But there is more...

    The icing on the cake:

    '...Senior management teams face the challenge of creating and maintaining a positive working environment in their institutions. Sustaining a positive working environment and culture is a key objective of university policies, and many feel that the best way to achieve this is through emotional intelligence. Many factors may work against this including:
    • poor performance management systems
    • harassment
    • bullying
    • unmanageable stress levels

    The Leadership Foundation recognises that these factors may have a negative impact upon the performance of the institution and have a detrimental effect upon working relationships. The quality of leadership can play a key role in creating the climate and conducive to a positive working environment...'

    May we suggest that some academic 'leaders' lack emotional intelligence and they will never get it through any 'leadership' workshop - at a cost of £250 - and not even through a brain transplant...

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