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.
In this post we’re looking at two measures from the CPI 260®: Empathy and Insightfulness. As should now be a familiar pattern, average scores for faculty on both of these measures are higher than average scores for leaders in business. Furthermore, these two scores are among the third and fourth highest measures for faculty. (Managerial Potential is first, Achievement via Independence is second.) Business leaders also have Empathy as their fourth highest, but their average scores for Insightfulness rank it eighth.
Why are the averages for these measures different for faculty?
From a coaching perspective, this can be a significant difference. An individual who is high in empathy but low on insightfulness, we challenge their interpretations and conclusions. They may care a lot and do well with people, but their actual understanding of situations and motivations needs work.
Conversely, individuals who understand both feelings and reasons bring significant analytic power to navigating the interpersonal and situational challenges of their work. It’s significant that faculty are more likely to fall into this latter category.
As we’ve noted before, averages do not account for everyone. Even skilled individuals will exhibit sub-par behavior when stressed and under-resourced, a common state of affairs in academia. There are many classrooms, departments, labs, and research groups that exemplify these skills at work. There’s even more potential for this wherever academia harnesses these resources that are byproducts of the many years of training that produce a scholar.