Leadership Lessons From a Founding Dean


December 2015

Leadership-Lessons-From-a-Founding-Dean  Preparing-a-Global-Workforce  The-Value-of-AACSB-Accreditation  Ensuring-Students-Are-Good-Citizens

Highlights from this Segment

Q: Can you share lessons and perspectives from the past several years that might guide other schools considering entering the management education space?

A: Lessons I’ve learned as founding dean can be summed up in three words: patience, enthusiasm, and support.

  1. Patience, because there’s a lot of work to be done and it takes a long time to get it done.
  2. Enthusiasm, because you have to keep yourself, your faculty, and your staff motivated and optimistic that the work is going to get done.
  3. Support, because you must have the support of all constituents, as you can’t get the work done by yourself.

Q: What sort of leadership—particularly in deans and faculty—will be required from business schools as they rethink their orientation to society in order to embrace thorny challenges?

A: Deans must be engaged. They have to accept their role and what it means to be dean, because faculty look to them for leadership.

  • The dean must provide direction and bring big thorny issues to the faculty and say, this is what we’re facing, how are we going to solve or address these issues as a business school?
  • Deans also need to be cheerleaders; there’s a lot of handholding, reassuring, and communications involved, and although faculty play a leadership role, too, the larger messages must come from the dean.
  • Deans must also lead by example. Faculty and staff have to know the dean is willing to do what they’re willing to do.
  • Faculty and staff are the people most directly involved with students, so they must play a leadership role when representing the business school. But it all comes back to the dean and his or her perspective on leadership—which requires being engaged and having an open mind.