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Managers in Higher Education Must Harness Power, Politics

Competition for resources – internal and external – means power and politics become even greater issues for managers in higher education today.

Add to that the closer scrutiny of performance, both academic and administrative, and managers in higher education face some real challenges.

From an educational perspective, the changes over the last decade in the way learning is facilitated (e.g. the move to such strategies as distance learning, e-learning and blended learning), mean the challenges for managers become twofold – content, what is done and process, the way it is done.

In such an environment, the calls for the higher education manager to add the “leadership” string to his or her management bow are long and loud. This is irrespective of whether the manager has arrived via the academic or administrative stream to their current position.

But, just what is meant by “leadership”? Does it differ from “management”? And most importantly, how does one “do leadership”?

Let’s start with management. Management is what one gets paid to do, i.e. to achieve certain tasks using the available resources. Management success is seen through the eyes of the organisation. Management is therefore mandatory (probably under pain of death!).

Leadership on the other hand, is only seen through the eyes of others – peers, colleagues, staff and other key stakeholders – those whom we need to influence without authority. Leadership is optional, but obviously highly desirable. Leadership within the group or team is evident when people are highly motivated, working co-operatively and performing at their best.

One further factor distinguishes leadership. Unlike management, it does not reside in one person – it is more a condition or function rather than a role. As Charles Handy once described it – leadership is “distributed” throughout the manager’s group or team. Although leadership may start with the manager, it’s the conditions that the manager establishes and maintains that decide whether the leadership function flourishes.

Just what are these conditions and how does the manager establish them? Four conditions are evident when leadership exists:

* A shared understanding of the environment. i.e., people have a very clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses within their group or team together with the opportunities and threats. There is a collective understanding of “We know what we face.”

* A shared sense of direction. i.e., people know (collectively) what they are trying to achieve. People can say “We know where we are going.”

* A shared set of values, i.e. people will say “We really enjoy working in this team with these people.”

* A shared feeling of power. There is a feeling of “We can do this.”

Establishing these conditions can commence with a series of workshops to encourage the sharing and distributive nature of leadership.

Then of course there is the external focus of leadership – influencing those outside the team or group to adequately manage power and politics. This can start with a thorough stakeholder analysis such as:

* Who are my key stakeholders? i.e., by name and / or position – customers, suppliers, owners, staff, community, industry.

* What is the effectiveness of each of these relationships? Give each a rating from +3 to -3 to give a clearer indication of effectiveness.

* How important is each relationship? Rank each on the basis of “high”, “medium” or “low”.

* Select those with a high degree of importance and a low rate of relationship effectiveness

* Ask – What are their sources of power and influence? How might I best use these?

* Discuss your analysis with a trusted colleague or friend (perhaps from outside H.E.). Develop a plan for managing each of these important stakeholders. Then review these relationships again in three months time.

Managing power and politics is a challenge for managers in higher education, but it can be mastered. As managers, too often we are so tied up in the moment of trying to achieve results that we do not take the time to reflect and plan an effective leadership strategy.

Hopefully the approach discussed here will generate a structure where distributed leadership copes with the day-to-day processes, freeing you up to focus on important management content issues. Great when our people can say, “Yep, we know the challenges facing us, the direction we have to go and that we will support one another. We can really make a difference here.”

Hospitality Management Career Training Programs and Coursework

Opportunities for obtaining the educational training that is necessary for a hospitality management career can be found through various schools and colleges. You can look forward to learning the skills that will be used in the workforce by enrolling in an accredited program. Selections can be made at various certificate and degree levels as well as specialized areas of study. Enrollment in an accredited school or college will help you to prepare for entrance into the career of your dreams. You can learn more about the options available to you prior to enrollment.

When looking to pursue a career in hospitality management, you can expect to find a number of paths to choose from. Training options include earning a certificate or degree in a specialized area of study, in order to prepare for the career you wish to enter into. Training is available at the certificate level as well as the associate, bachelor, and master degree levels. Training will last anywhere from several months up to six years based on the educational training you require. The level of training that is received will help to decide on the careers that can be pursued as well as the coursework that will need to be completed.

Various types of careers are available once an accredited education in hospitality management is obtained. With enrollment in an accredited school or college, you can prepare for the profession that is right for you. Opportunities include becoming a:

  • Hotel manager
  • Travel Agent
  • Restaurant Manager
  • Reservations Specialist
  • Shift Supervisor
  • Front Office Manager

…and a variety of other related professions in this field. By pursuing any of these careers you can enter into the employment you dream of. Coursework will vary but can cover all necessary topics to help you succeed.

Enrollment in an accredited educational training program will help you to obtain the knowledge that is needed fro entrance into the workforce. You can learn a number of exciting skills that will help you to carry out the needed tasks for your desired career. Topics covered will help you to learn travel and tourism, accounting, purchasing, safety, communication, and much more. Accredited hospitality management schools and colleges are available to provide you with the chance to study marketing and sales, service management, economics, culinary arts, and many other related subjects. With training in these areas you will be ready to seek employment and begin the path to an exciting future.

Accredited hospitality management programs are designed to offer the best quality educational training that is available to you. Various agencies such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges ( can fully accredited schools and colleges that meet all requirements and provide you with the career preparation that is needed to become a successful professional. You can research available programs and request more information in order to better prepare and find the training program that fits your individual needs and goals. Start the path to an exciting future by enrolling today.

DISCLAIMER: Above is a GENERIC OUTLINE and may or may not depict precise methods, courses and/or focuses related to ANY ONE specific school(s) that may or may not be advertised at

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