The Shearin Group Outstanding Leaders tips on Universities to value their staff

1) Communicate a clear vision


"A lot depends on where your university is and what you want the vice-chancellor to do. Do you need more student recruitment? Do you need more research grant money? So often the university strategic plan says things like, ' Be the best world-leading university at, er, everything. ' Well, sorry, but we don't believe you. Some universities – I am thinking De Montfort, Coventry, or Sheffield – have strategic plans you can actually believe, and at least one of those universities have linked the vice-chancellor's pay explicitly to whether that job got done. "(officeslob, commenter)


2) Trust your staff


"It is an essential quality of any leader that they should develop and empower their staff. This means trusting them to innovate and get on with things without always looking over their shoulder or filling a form to say they've done something. " (Sue Shepherd, higher education management consultant, University of Kent)


3) Be fair


"Academics are slightly strange animals and difficult to lead (and we all know they are difficult to manage!) – very individualistic and therefore many may not be considered team players. However all academics want to work in organisations where they are treated fairly e.g. don't bully someone for not being REFable when their admin/teaching workload is enormous etc. " (Paula Nicolson, emeritus professor, Royal Holloway, University of London)


4) Appoint good people


"I see ' leaderful ' practices in classrooms, research teams and student-led activity throughout the HE sector. Sometimes this is found despite prevailing managerial cultures in institutions; sometimes it is purposefully engendered by leaders dispersed through universities whose activity seems clearly-defined by enacting their values and their belief in the potential of higher education to engage and transform. " (Paul Gentle, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education)


5) Value all staff


"Universities need to value their staff – permanent and casual. Many casual staff are the academics and administrative managers of the future and need to be engaged by the leaders because both have a future together. " (Paula Nicolson)


"I would like people to reflect on whom exactly is being led by these visionary leaders; from my experience, an army of casual, underpaid and underprotected temporary staff, tasked with delivering teaching, marking and support to students. It suits management and sadly, it suits the permanent members of staff, relieved of their boring teaching duties and more able to work on their research and seek external funding. This is the model, let's not forget it in this fog of management-speak and emotional intelligence talk. " (Enheduanna, commenter).