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According to Reichard (2018), “leaders are expected to actively and collaboratively contribute to strategic planning, act on data-informed decision making, seek out consultation, and distribute leadership, so those they serve develop as leaders, too.” A true leader understands that they must interact, designate, listen, and support those around them if they expect the organization to be successful. Recently, a new Director of Admissions came on board. Without any real data to prove that the old way wasn’t working, he started making changes. The first few months, admissions struggled to reach start goals. “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” is the statement that should have been told to him. Changing things that worked for the organization without taking the time to learn the culture really affected the work environment.
Change without data and research is ineffective. The organization has been trying to reach monthly goals and more changes have come about. Honestly, it’s beginning to look like a micromanaged university. Everything done by each employee must be documented and must be shown to the managers of the entire department. Soon many will leave as a result. When I think of the possibility of this happening, I feel like changes should be made to the leaders of the organization beginning with the firing of the new Director. Once this has taken place, all managers in the department should discuss the possibility of one of them taking on the task of pulling reports, calling students, getting updates from advisors, and one-on-one training, coaching, and development. Smith (2015) writes, “firstly, personal coaching offers the opportunity for a confidential and private discussion that may be more conducive to open discussion about difficulties”. Employees who are struggling with interviewing students and assisting them with enrolling to further their education should have one-on-ones with their direct supervisors. This quality time allows the supervisor to pinpoint areas where they are struggling and offer advice on how to better handle situations. In addition to coaching, visionary and democratic changes could be made. With one goal in mind, bringing together everyone and reiterating the mission, values, and importance of integrity is sure to bring the change the organization needs. The recent changes have resulted in managers spending more time putting together reports instead of helping advisors grow. This is not the way things should be.
I can remember a time when I started and my direct manager and training manager decided to have a one-on-one session with me to point out some things I could work on and they asked me for feedback as to how they could help me be more successful. This really helped me and reiterated that I am not alone. Knowing that I had the support of both of them encouraged me to try harder. Since I haven’t been in the field of higher education for long, I haven’t had much experience with leadership training environments, but I’ve seen some individuals change for the worse once they got into the leadership role as if they didn’t remember what it felt like to be in a certain position. Employees need leaders who communicate effectively and coach them, not those focused on micromanaging. Overall, distributing leadership, coaching, and working in unison leads to the success of the organization and results in happier employees, which is needed.
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