chapter  3
51 Pages

Leading your department

WithPeter McCaffery

The quest to reach an understanding of leadership – on its nature and essence, its style and meaning, its exercise and practice – continues to be an elusive one.

How then can one lead in a university setting? What is the nature of leadership in such an environment? In what ways do leadership and management differ in higher education? Can one be a leader as well as a manager? How should you lead? These questions have too often been ducked in HE. This chapter addresses this deficiency.

It explores the concepts of leadership and management, outlines the differences between them, articulates the nature and models of leadership in theory and identifies the guiding principles to leadership and management in practice.

It also demonstrates how leadership can be applied within the HE context by focusing on one of the most critical aspects of the head of department’s role: the creation and development of a departmental strategy; i.e. the planning process entailing envisioning; conducting a SWOT analysis (courses, subjects et al.); setting SMART strategic objectives; developing key performance indicators (KPIs); assessing and mitigating risk etc. and the ways to elicit staff engagement and achieve collective ownership of it through institutional examples of best practice.