Harvey Leadership Model for Academic Administrative Success

Dr. William R. Harvey
Dr. William R. Harvey

First, there is vision. Visionaries can see the big picture. They look beyond the horizon as they plan, and yes as they dream. Visionaries are creators. Visionaries are undeterred by challenges. Visionaries see stumbling blocks and turn them into stepping stones. Visionaries can transform a situation. Visionaries can persuade others, even critics, cynics, and enemies to follow their lead. Visionaries can get others to take ownership in their vision.

Second, having a good work ethic is essential. I don’t care how smart you are, how much vision you may have, or how assiduously you plan, you can not get around having a good work ethic. Please know how important this is. An absence of hard work is telling because you can not fool people for long. They can see it in your results. Hard work can not be compromised.

Third, academic excellence is a sine qua non in any higher educational setting. I personally believe in setting the bar high. There are those who would like to make excuses for their performance because of family background, financial status, peer groupings, or some other crutch. All of us have heard about students in high schools and colleges that have dumb-downed because they did not want to be considered geeks by their so-called friends. Well, the fact is that education is the key to the door of freedom for all of us. When we have an opportunity, we should take full advantage of it. Lead, guide, nurture, and help current and prospective students wherever you are.

Fourth, there is team building. I am a long time and firm believer in the concept that collective competencies are much better than individual competencies. The training, experience, and wisdom of a group of people will carry you much farther and more successfully nine times out of ten then will those of a single individual. Think about it, group energy, effort, intellect, and other human attributes will produce much better results when they are utilized together for a common good.

Fifth, innovation is an integral part of the model. A leader has to sometimes think outside of the box. A leader has to dream bold new dreams. A leader has to think about not what is, but what could be. This is innovation.

Sixth, there is courage. Just as a leader must think outside of the box, a leader must also have the courage to stick to his convictions. Included in this component are discipline and perseverance. I will tell you that your thoughts and ideas will be tested–and that is good. You must have the courage to listen and receive input on any subject. However, in the final analysis, after you have had a great deal of analysis, input, challenges, and the like, you must have the courage of your convictions. Sometimes you must say, win, lose, or draw; this is what we are going to do. For no matter the purity of a man’s character, the clarity of his insight, the reason of his ration, or righteousness of his cause, if he lacks the courage to stand up, come forward, and lead, his attributes are rendered silent and in many respects, useless.

Seventh, there is good management. In my judgment, management is different from leadership. Both are completely necessary if one is to be effective, yet they are different. To me, management is the brains of an effective and efficient operation. Management is an enabler. It helps people to better utilize skills and knowledge. It helps them to do a better job. Every organization needs as many good managers as possible

Eighth, there is fairness. In all that we do, in every decision that we make, in every interaction that we undertake, we should always keep fairness at the center of our being. To me it doesn’t make a lot of difference if decisions are not popular. It is important, however, for decisions to be fair. If I cannot be fair, even to enemies, then I feel like I have failed. I urge you in your daily interactions to always try and be fair.

Ninth, there is fiscal conservatism. As with other components of the model, this is quite simple. If you have a dollar, you can’t spend a dollar and twenty-five cents. I don’t care how worthwhile the project, how needed that piece of equipment may be, how necessary it is for you to make that trip, if you only have a dollar, you can’t spend a dollar and twenty-five cents.

The tenth step focuses on results. All of the other component steps lead you to results. If your results are not justifiable, or satisfactory, then somewhere along the way, the other steps have failed. I feel that we must be results-oriented. The means must justify the end. As an example, there are so many people who think that the securing of a computer is the solution. In reality, the computer is a means towards an end, not an end itself. These are my ten steps to a leadership model for academic administrative success. I offer them to any serious student and/or practitioners of higher education because the model is valid. One validation may be found in the fact that during the last decade, seven of my administrators have become presidents of colleges and universities in the states of Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey and Washington. One of the reasons that they were elected chief executive officers is the fact that they were able to convince Boards of Trustees that the Hampton brand of leadership would work at their respective campuses.