This series of posts describes what we’ve learned about the peculiarities of leadership in academia based on our work with the CPI 260® leadership assessment. See the introduction to this series for background on this assessment.
The prior seven posts in this series have highlighted specific ways that the CPI 260® illuminates the considerable skills and capacities of faculty. In this post we look at what an individual can gain through a snapshot of their own skills and capacities related to leadership. If you’re interested in getting your own leadership skills snapshot, please click here.
First, a reminder: when we talk about leadership we mean the everyday skills associated with teaching, running a lab, mentoring students and peers, participating in meetings, applying for funds, etc. Leadership is so ubiquitous across every aspect of the faculty role that almost no one recognizes it as such. From this perspective, a leadership snapshot need have nothing to do current or future administrative roles (although, of course, it applies there as well). A faculty leadership snapshot provides insight about being faculty – what works, what needs development, and what is the particular genius of how a given individual has gotten as far as they have.
To illustrate, here are two examples of insights gained through a leadership snapshot. Where a given measure has already been discussed on this blog, we’ve added a link. Future posts will address other measures included here.
Among Marissa’s scores were an exceptionally high Creative Temperament score and a relatively low Self Control score. Because academics in general tend to have higher Creative Temperament scores than leaders in business, Marissa had always been attracted to a tenure track faculty role and often found her conversations with others interesting and compelling. However, her high capacity for thinking in new ways sometimes meant that others did not fully follow her logic. She also underestimated the need for cultivating buy-in to her more unusual ideas. When communication broke down or barriers arose, Marissa’s lower Self Control tendencies kicked in. She snapped her impatience leading others to experience her as condescending. By seeing these patterns through her CPI 260® scores, Marissa learned to better recognize when she had lost her audience, and to improve her translation of her wilder ideas. And when that didn’t work, she decided a brief walk around the building was a better outlet for her feelings of impatience thus decreasing the wear and tear on her relationships and increasing the possibility of the interesting and compelling conversations that she loved.
Alejandro was exceptionally devoted to his graduate students and prided himself on his customized approach to their development. While this had resulted in the successful launch of numerous careers, there were a few cases that hadn’t worked out, and Alejandro was at a loss to explain these. While he was prepared to accept ‘you can’t win them all…’, he still wondered if there was something more he could do. Alejandro’s CPI 260® easily helped explain his success: his Empathy and Insightfulness scores were both quite high, skills he used to customize effectively to his student’s developmental needs. Why then were there the cases that didn’t work? The answer lay in Alejandro’s Flexibility score, which was also very high, a finding of little surprise for someone who was so willing to adapt to the needs and proclivities of individual students. But he had not fully considered how his own flexibility might be a detriment to students who needed definite boundaries or expectations as a way to get their bearings. When he saw also that his Achievement via Conformance score was relatively low, he realized that he might even consider himself biased against people who needed or desired a more structured environment. Seeing his own scores in relation to others – in business and in academia – Alejandro decided to cultivate a bit more structure in how he trained graduate students, at least as an option.
Wondering what you might learn from a leadership skills snapshot? Click here!