Monday, February 15, 2010

Leadership or management

So just when I was about to comment on our administration's use of parking lot usage as an indicator of faculty productivity, I read a story about a faculty member at the University of Alabama Huntsville who killed three of her colleagues and wounded several others during a shooting spree at a departmental meeting. I then realized that maybe the low level intimidation of faculty here is not so bad, yet. We are fortunate that none of our employees have vented their frustrations with the CSU work environment through gunfire. The part of this story that scares me is that I understand the frustration of a poorly managed work environment and fortunately have never been angry enough to do injury to anyone. If nothing else the events in Alabama remind me that leadership, especially in times of crisis, is critical to creating a safe work environment. Managing is simply not good enough. Employees must be inspired and it is only leadership that inspires. Managers simply hire and fire, implement programs and duck accountability where possible. Managers in the academy justify their existence by meeting attendance and report generation. They simply don't inspire and encourage their subordinates and colleagues to excellence. I am saddened when I hear of such incidents in university settings because obviously, the premise of intellectual debate has failed. It fails in large measure because of an absence of leadership.
In this period of transition, euphemistically referred to as "right sizing", we will all bear witness to whether CSU finally gets the leadership it deserves or the management it is accustomed to.

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