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5 Presidential Leadership Orientations

5 Presidential Leadership Orientations

In the publication Assessing Presidential Effectiveness: A Guide for College and University Boards, excerpted below, Richard Morrill discusses five presidential leadership orientations and their importance.*   

Since the work of a president requires multiple sensitivities and skills to deal effectively with the integrated complexity of real world problems, it is very beneficial for leaders to be able to balance and integrate these different orientations to fit the occasion, choosing and combining the right tools for the job.  Over time, leaders can sharpen their skills and sensitivities to areas in which they are less naturally prone, especially as they become aware of their patterns.

Political: places an emphasis on using persuasion, influence, and authority to satisfy interests, create coalitions, and build consensus, and/or isolate and sanction opponents.

Managerial: emphasizes the development of effective and efficient financial and administrative decision-making systems and processes, organizational structures and lines of accountability, and coherent policies, rules, and regulations.

Collegial: stresses the importance of processes of shared academic governance and collaborative decision-making as basic norms of legitimacy.

Relational: sees the centrality of attracting and developing human talent and relying on interpersonal skills and relationships to create motivation and effectiveness, teamwork and productivity, trust and commitment.

Strategic: emphasizes the centrality of knowing and telling the organization's story and understanding its culture, and developing and implementing an integrative vision to respond to change and prepare for the challenges of the future.

Learn more about how best to assess effective leadership orientations with AGB resources such as Rich Morrill's publication or with the AGB Consulting service for presidential and board assessment.

*These orientations or frames of leadership are adapted from ones developed by Lee Bolman and Terry Deal in Reforming Organizations.

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