Attributes of the Ideal Leader essay

Download this essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from essay:

). Concomitantly, many higher educational institutions may lack the resources needed because of the aforementioned dwindling state budgets and overall shaky national economy, as well as skyrocketing costs of administration.

Not surprisingly, these trends have combined to make the accountability of educational leaders a timely issue, but one that remains under-studied. In this regard, these authors cite internal and external political pressures that are calling for such accountability concerning educational leadership's effectiveness as well as organizational-institutional efficacy (Armstrong et al.). Based on their review, Armstrong and his colleague conclude that the most critical issue facing departmental chairs is the disintegration of trust in leadership in higher education. Rebuilding and fostering trust is an essential component of effective leadership, and it appears that the 360-degree feedback model can provide educators at all levels with a framework in which to overcome such obstacles in this important area (Armstrong et al.).

According to Amey (2005), just as the area measuring the effectiveness of leaders in higher education remains relatively understudied, there is also a dearth of timely information concerning what attributes can be said to characterize an ideal leaders in higher education. As Amey emphasizes, "College presidents are perhaps the most studied groups of academic administrators, and yet, not enough is known about this key leadership role" (p. 604). This author reviews a recent publication (the Entrepreneurial College President by James L. Fisher and James V. Koch. Westport, CT: ACE/Praeger Publishers, 2004) that addresses this gap in the literature, which provides a comprehensive analysis of 713 current college presidents that are distinguished as either "entrepreneurial" or "representative" educational leaders.

While this type of analysis represents an important contribution to the study of the attributes of effective leaders in higher education, Amey maintains that entrepreneurial and effective are not quite synonymous, and suggests that what is viewed desirable attributes in one setting do not necessarily translate wholesale to others because of fundamental differences in values, culture and missions that distinguish one college or university from another. In her conclusion, Amey points out that more research in this area is needed before any meaningful insights can be gained from such studies, particularly in view of the qualitative nature of the enterprise.

In reality, though, measuring the effectiveness of leaders in higher educational settings is complicated by a number of factors, not the least of which is the different graduation rates that characterize different types of students. For instance, Krahenbuhl (2004) emphasizes that, "While working students may be classified as full-time, schedule conflicts often prohibit them from taking the coursework sequences that lead to graduation in four or even five years. Some colleges and universities have more commuting students, while others have more nontraditional students. Foreign students often accumulate massive numbers of hours before graduation so as to preserve their student visa status" (p. 131). By contrast, colleges and universities that enroll a larger percentage of freshmen students who enter college straight out of high school and scholarship-supported scholars may enjoy truly stellar performance levels, but these rates are not necessarily reflective of the quality of the leadership that is in place in these institutions, but rather is an indication of the types and quality of the students that are involved.


The research showed that effective leadership in higher educational institutions is difficult to quantify for a variety of reasons, and largely depends on who is asking and who is being asked. A board of regents, for example, may well consider an educational leader as being "ideal" if that person is able to keep faculty turnover manageable, raise large amount of funds for the school and maintain the status quo. By contrast, the student body of a college or university might well consider an ideal leader as one who is charismatic and provides them with the tools, resources and services they need to succeed academically. Likewise, faculty members at colleges and universities may view an educational leader as "ideal" to the extent that their jobs are secure and they receive regular wage and benefit increases, as well as the opportunity to participate in research initiatives to their liking. Yet others such as nontraditional students might consider an educational leader as "ideal" if that individual is able to provide them with the types of curricular offerings they feel best fits their needs when and where they need it. In this regard, an "ideal leader" in higher education must be viewed as context based. In the final analysis, then, there is no one-size-fits-all mold that an educational leader can aspire to in order to become an ideal leader, but there are some guidelines available to help them be as effective as possible under a wide range of circumstances and settings.


Aguirre, a., Jr. & Martinez, R. (2002). Leadership practices and diversity in higher education: Transitional and transformational frameworks. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(3), 53- 54.

Amey, M.J. (2005). The entrepreneurial college president. Journal of Higher Education, 76(5), 604-605.

Armstrong, T., Blake, S.Y. & Piotrowski, C. (2000). The application of a 360-degree feedback managerial development program in higher education: The Florida model. Education, 120(4), 691.

Kezar, a. (2007). The research university presidency in the late 20th century: A life cycle/case history approach. Journal of Higher Education, 78(1), 119.

Krahenbuhl, G.S. (2004). Building the academic deanship: Strategies for success. Westport,…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Attributes Of The Ideal Leader" (2009, January 28) Retrieved November 30, 2016, from

"Attributes Of The Ideal Leader" 28 January 2009. Web.30 November. 2016. <>

"Attributes Of The Ideal Leader", 28 January 2009, Accessed.30 November. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Attributes of the Ideal in

    "The scheduling of courses in higher education institutions is already a challenge and considerable thought must be given to the development of a scheduling format for blended courses, which allows for meaningful and flexible reduction of classroom time" (Vaughan, Conclusion section,¶ 1) to best realize the benefits and overcome the challenges accompanying blended learning, leadership needs to be exhibited by those in administrative positions in higher education institution. "This

  • Leadership a Leader Is Who

    Transformational leaders have the innate ability to motivate their team members by the vision of what they are trying to accomplish together (Hur, van den Berg, Wilderom, 591). Leaders at this level also show through personal effort why sacrificing for a goal is worth it (Pryor, Oyler, Humphreys, Toombs, 18). Contrasting my own leadership style, I have learned that being able to provide subordinates with an opportunity to take

  • Leader Business Leadership A Literature Review Bill

    Leader Business Leadership: A Literature Review Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Carly Fiorina. What do these names have in common? An easy one - they are all CEO's of major global corporations. They are businessmen, and women, at the tops of their professions, leaders of the international business community. But how did they get there? How did they achieve so much? How did they build organizations that are at once creative, competitive,

  • Leadership Defining an Ethical Leader Jeffrey Immelt

    Leadership Defining an Ethical Leader Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric The nature of leadership is multifaceted and often requires the continual mastery of new skills, insights, intelligence and perspectives to stay effective over the long-term. Such is the nature of ethical leadership, which requires a steadfast focus on a core set of ethical principles and values that guide a leader's judgment, ensuring consistency over the long-term. These are also the fundamental aspects of any

  • Gandhi as the Figure of a Leader

    Gandhi as the figure of a leader. In this sense, particular emphasis will be attributed not to certain political events in Gandhi's life but rather to conceptual ideas that shaped his purposes. The practice of non-violence for which he has become famous will be assessed as well as certain social positions and economic perceptions. Key terms: non-violence, unity, sacrifice, truth, economy. Gandhi was the idealist. He was neither the first nor

  • Leaders Can Get Followers to

    E. job cuts, alternative pay leveling, increased productivity without increased reward. Leadership Job Design Leaders who are most effective at transformational leadership clearly elicit trust but they must then use all the skills they have developed to further the ideas into practice. One of the ways in which they can do this is by using the emotive and practical information they have as members of a team and as trusted and understanding

  • Indispensable Leader in the World

    The military strengths enable the leader at hand to have a fair share of the leadership duties and capabilities in the society (Wagner, 2008). Analysis Who do you think is the most indispensable leader in the world today, what category (from the list below) does this person belong? I think that Barrack Obama is the most indispensable leader in the world today. Mr. Barrack Obama is one of the leaders that have

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved