October 14, 2011
Qualities of a Cal State San Marcos Leader
Recently, I was asked to share my thoughts on leadership with participants of the 2011 Cal State San Marcos Leadership Academy. I enjoy any moment I have to speak with the exceptional faculty, administrators, and staff at CSUSM, and I was delighted to explain my thoughts on what being a leader entails.
My leadership style was born over many years as a social worker and educator. Through observing others, collaborating on teams, and managing projects, I have learned three important lessons:
Making and taking responsibility for your mistakes is a hallmark of a great leader. Being able to gracefully navigate failure makes you stronger and engenders the respect of your colleagues. So, too, does saying “thank you,” or “nice job.” I’m often surprised by how few managers actually do this. A little praise can go a long way toward boosting confidence and morale. You should see your choice to be a leader as a special opportunity to make a difference, not as an opportunity to take the spotlight.
I also think that it is imperative for leaders at Cal State San Marcos, to do the following:
What does university first mean? It means balancing being a strong and appropriate advocate for your division or unit while advocating for the university’s best interests. It means that working together to put the needs of our students first.
There is incredible leadership all around you at Cal State San Marcos. I encourage you to find it. Tap into it. Mine it. Ask yourself what qualities you admire and respect in your mentor and then model those characteristics. Most especially, ask questions
As I left the Leadership Academy meeting, I was reminded why this university is so special, so unique: it’s because of you and the rich diversity of backgrounds you bring you to your work. You make me proud to lead this institution, and I look forward to steering us toward an even brighter future alongside the most committed staff and faculty in higher education.