The curious case of leadership and HE career development

Organisations often habitually look beyond their own talent pool to recruit for leadership positions. It is a challenge that internal candidates must overcome: by becoming exceptional at your job, you may be obstructing your own potential for leadership role selection. By becoming leaders in their perspective fields, academic teaching staff become indispensable to their departments and organisations will often jealously safeguard their posts, with the effect of being passed up for more senior promotion. Departmental reputation and performance is bound up with the calibre of teaching and research staff. A leadership role is the next logical step in furthering advancing any academic career; heading up management teams and developing departmental strategy is demanding but rewarding work.

However, professional services require a different set of skills; authority, diplomacy, business acumen, organisational clout and strategic thinking. Deanships, Chancellorship and Vice-Chancellorships are regularly appointed to candidates with business and management backgrounds, rather than being sourced from within the HE sector. Nevertheless, HE can benefit greatly by encouraging academics build on their industry knowledge and fostering contributions to strategic planning.

Ben Tucker, from has written on ways that academics can increase their potential for  professional services selection, to the benefit both their sectors and their careers.

Original article Why leadership ambition benefits the whole HE sector, by Ben Tucker for, published, 28 March 2018.

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