3 signs of a rising leader

It's no secret: turnover among senior administrators has been on the rise.

According to the American Council on Education, the average tenure of a college president has dipped in the last decade from 8.5 years to seven years. The traditional pipeline for college presidents is simultaneously drying up: only 30% of current provosts aspire to be presidents. Meanwhile, 37% of chief business officers say their employers do not have a succession plan in place.

To tackle these challenges, colleges and universities are expanding the pipeline to the presidency, creating new membership opportunities, and looking for new leaders in unlikely places.

In a recent article for Inc., Marcel Schwantes offers some advice for how to spot future leaders, based on his experience as a leadership coach and founder of Leadership from the Core.

1: Future leaders are candid

True leaders don't sugarcoat or say things just to please others, Schwantes writes. They speak with integrity and honesty. In fact, he adds, the perfect time to spot candid people is during high-pressure situations, because they'll be the ones saying what's on their mind while others avoid talking about the issue.

2: Future leaders can be vulnerable

Schwantes cites research from organizational culture experts Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones finding that leaders who acknowledge a weakness seem more authentic and approachable. Schwantes further points to research from University of Houston Research Professor Brené Brown, who has said that vulnerability is the "birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."

3: Future leaders are compassionate

Compassion is a critical skill for leadership—Schwantes points out that even LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weinter and former Google engineer (and popular TED speaker) Chade-Meng Tan agree. Research has found that compassion not only makes leaders more effective, but also helps them inspire their teams to be more collaborative and creative, Schwantes writes (Schwantes, Inc., 10/19).

The 3 traits that make a successful college president


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