Administrators in higher education rarely have the opportunity to receive the training they need for the managerial functions they are expected to perform.They arrive at their posts with obvious capability in their fields of special knowledge and with leadership ability shaped by past experience.What they lack is training in management.To meet this need, we have developed and begun offering a program of professional management development, utilizing tools and methods created for executive management training and extensively used in business management.
Our approach is to assess and develop management skills in two different but related settings.First is the development of management skills for individuals as line administrators with responsibilities for functional areas.Second is the development of team work capabilities for the same managers who must also function in peer relationships, whether as a cabinet or a council of deans or unit work groups.
The process begins with the identification of management skills necessitating development.Management assessment instruments, corresponding to the development objectives, are recommended and selected.The instruments, often involving 360-degree assessments, are then administered, collected, scored, and analyzed.The results are presented privately to each participant and feedback is provided.A retreat is conducted in which skill training is provided.Some principles of “Management 101” are taught, assessment feedback is reviewed, and action plans are developed for management improvement.Follow-up appointments are scheduled ahead in order that progress may be reviewed and constructive steps are reinforced.While we are qualified to administer a broad range of instruments, we have developed a select group of data gathering tools which produce the most useful results.The results of the process include (1) comprehensive assessments of each manager from subordinates, peers, supervisors, and self, (2) exercises and action plans for developing critical management skills, and (3) training ideas and services for reinforcing new management skills.
A solid program for professional management development in higher education can make a marked difference in the functionality of the institution and positively effect the quality of services for students.Among the benefits and outcomes are:
• Accurate diagnoses of individual and collective management skills
• Positive changes in the managerial capabilities top administrators
• Positive changes in the team work capabilities of participating work groups