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.
What do we mean by “leadership”?
Remember that when we talk about leadership we aren’t just referring to the head of a department. It encompassess 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 with current or future administrative roles (although, of course, it applies there as well). A faculty leadership snapshot provides insight about being faculty. It illuminates what works, what needs development, and what is the particular genius of how a given individual has gotten as far as they have.
What outcomes could I expect from a leadership snapshot?
To illustrate, here are two examples of insights gained through a leadership snapshot. Anywhere that a given measure has already been discussed on this blog, we’ve added a link to that post. Future posts will address other measures included here.
Marissa’s CPI 260® Results
Among Marissa’s scores were an exceptionally high Creative Temperament score and a relatively low Self Control score. 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, particularly enjoying compelling conversations with others. 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. She could then use this knowledge to identify situations where she needed to improve the translation of her wilder ideas. If that didn’t work, a brief walk around the building was a better outlet for her feelings of impatience. These alternatives decreased the wear and tear on her relationships, and increased the opportunity for interesting and compelling conversations.
Alejandro’s CPI 260® Results
Alejandro was exceptionally devoted to his graduate students. His customized approach to their development resulted in the successful launch of numerous careers. However, there were a few cases that hadn’t worked out, and Alejandro was at a loss to explain these. Alejandro was prepared to accept that ‘you can’t win them all…’, but 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. Alejandro had not fully considered how his own flexibility might be a detriment to students who needed clearly defined 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 about your own leadership skills snapshot? Click here!