Leadership Tips

Kaleidoscope25 wTag v1

Search Our Site

Leadership Tips


Our philosophy at Kaleidoscope is that an effective leader is a person who is successful in producing results. They create an inspiring vision of the future and provide positive motivation that engages employees and partners in that vision. We believe that self-awareness and contextual understanding are critical foundational traits of leaders. Without self-awareness and contextual understanding, other leadership characteristics, traits and attributes are less effective.

That being said, we invited faculty and others with whom we work, to weigh in on insights and wisdom they have gained related to leadership.
We call these leadership “Click Tips”.

Click Tips!

Dr. Jacquelyn M. Belcher, President/CEO Options Unlimited and President Emeritus of Georgia Perimeter College, Atlanta GA Click Tips

Dr. M. Valeriana Moeller, President Emeritus Columbus State Community College, Columbus OH Click Tips

Ms. Patrice Masterson, Assistant Director for Benefits, University of Georgia, Athens, GA Click Tips

Dr. Patrice Pippins, Independent Consultant and former President, Thomas Nelson College and Suffolk County Community College Click Tips

Ms. Toni Belcher, Independent Consultant and Acting Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Leadership Institute Click Tips

1- Leadership happens at all levels.

I ‘ve lead diverse global teams and mentored interns all over the world. And I tell them that I consider each and everyone to be a leader and remind them that leadership must happen at all levels. For drama, I go further to say that each should consider themselves to be “the janitor and the CEO” of what they do and that they must determine how much time they spend at each of those roles based on need and priorities. Leadership must happen at all levels, that’s how organizations build their “bench strength”. You must lead no matter what level you are in the organization, because that is how you hone your skills for the next leadership challenge.

2- The world is always watching.

How you conduct yourself at work, home and in the community is noticed. Everyone notices. Of course as you go higher in an organization, more eyes are on you. But make no mistake, the world is always watching. As a leader, you must represent the change you want to see and reinforce behaviors and values you want to see in your organization. As Vice President Biden said at the 2016 DNC, “…lead by the example of your power and the power of your example”.

3- Get in the arena.

Don’t be afraid to jump in and be part of the solution. Don’t sit back and judge or wait to see what happens. As our 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt, said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

1- Stay connected with your mission.

There is no force stronger than mission driven leadership. Seek first to clearly determine your mission. You will know when you have found it. It's like finding the perfect shoe, in the perfect size and color, to match the perfect dress. It will just feel right! Next seek out tasks and assignments that are consistent with your mission. The synergy that emanates will empower and strengthen you for the challenges of leadership.

2- Maintain balance in your life.

Balance is always important. It becomes both increasingly difficult and increasingly important as you rise through the ranks. Lack of balance is a recipe for disaster. It works in the short term, but is destructive over time. It is so easy to work 24/7 and never give your mind or body time for full recovery. Learn to relax; take time to have fun and laugh; spend time in the spiritual realm; and hold friends and family close. You will be a stronger and healthier leader as a result.

3- Keep learning.

The only constant in today's world is change. It is important to attend conferences and meetings. Read and have healthy conversations with creative and informed individuals. You will have the knowledge and insights you need to provide innovative and creative leadership as a result.

4- Maintain connections with individuals at all levels within your organization.

The people and staff closest to the ground provide excellent intelligence AND they always know what is REALLY going on within your organizations. If you trust them, they will trust you and keep you informed. At higher levels within your institution, seek to learn who you can trust to tell you the truth. Find those individuals who will courageously stand between you and a bad decision. Stay close to these individuals. Keeping in touch with a trusted few is key to success in challenging times.

5- Establish and maintain clear priorities.

Stress is the result of the conflict between how you believe you should live your life and how you actually live your life. Clear priorities not only reduce stress they also provide a strong foundation for decision making. Each day you will make decisions about how you will allocate your time. Established priorities will keep you on the path to success and a quality life ,even as you are pulled in multiple directions.

1- Take responsibility for making relationships work.

I am sure you have heard that the only person’s behavior you can control is your own. I have found this to be true. I like most people and when I have difficulty working with someone, I try to find something to like about that person. I have found that I can find something to like about almost anyone. Once I find something to like about a person, it is much easier to build a relationship with that person.

2- As a leader, the most important earthly relationship you can cultivate is your relationship with yourself.   Ken Blanchard and Terry Waghorn   Mission Impossible

When I went to the Leadership Development Program at the Center of Creative Leadership, I met with a leadership coach who reviewed the results of the battery of assessments I completed with me. What I learned about myself made me see myself in a totally different way and significantly increased my self-confidence. I began to value my strengths and I developed myself in areas that were more challenging for me. As I began to affirm and challenge myself, I became much more comfortable developing relationships and providing feedback to others. I also become more comfortable taking on new responsibilities.

3- You can’t have a negative thought and a positive thought at the same time, so choose to have a positive thought.

I believe and have found that words and thoughts are powerful. Positive thoughts feed motivation and the ability to focus on reaching a goal. Positive thoughts along with appropriate actions are conducive to learning, professional development and positive outcomes. 

1- Have Purpose

Establish a goal. Say, you are now an associate dean, and have a goal to be a college president. When should you begin to prepare? Answer - as soon as you know! Ask yourself (and perhaps others you trust) what are your knowledge, skills and strengths. Be honest with yourself. Then seek opportunities to develop and improve to meet the needs of the position. Many of these opportunities are on your campus – like committee work and internal positions at higher levels. Let your supervisors know the skills you want to acquire or improve upon. Find a mentor(s), participate in leadership development on and off campus. All of this will build your confidence as you work toward your career and leadership goal.

2- Know Your Environment

No matter where you work in the institution or which state or college, learn the basic things about the institution and its context - such as how does the college get its revenue, what are the rules and regulations of spending, who has authority to make what decisions, etc. It is also very important to understand the culture of the institution. For example, if it was a two year college and became a four year college, it behaves differently than a college that has always been a technical college. If you believe that the culture needs to be changed – go at it VERY CAREFULLY! – And remember that “culture easts strategy for breakfast!”

3- Know When it is Time to Move On

When you come to work less and less excited about what you have to do, it is an important signal. Ask yourself why. What makes you less enthusiastic? Is it the job and what you are doing? Is it the lack of agreement with your supervisor? Is it that you don’t feel appreciated? Or is it something else? For example, perhaps you are an administrator and you miss the classroom and want to be a faculty member. Or perhaps, you are no longer aligned with your work team and you feel that the environment goes against your principles. All of these (and more) could be signals that it is time to move on. There is no dishonor in that! If your job no longer feels right, then perhaps it is TIME TO MOVE ON!

4- Learn From Your Mistakes

I was in the process of hiring a faculty member, one of the candidates had an outstanding interview and portfolio, way above any of the other candidates. Throughout the process I felt uneasy about this person, I did not know why. I refused to listen to my heart and went ahead and hired her. In the end, she did not fit with our students. That fact became clear in the months that followed. I wish I had listened to that nagging feeling that something was not right. I would have saved all involved much unneeded frustration. The new employee ended up leaving because situation become difficult for all of us. I learned a big lesson. Trust my intuition and insight. I also learned that “facts and data” are important when hiring, but also, so is fit.  

1- Have a Vision

Vision is one of the most vital elements of effective leadership, no matter what your level is in an organization, even if you are an individual contributor. Here is a definition of vision I found by Chantal Bechervaise:

Vision is a mental picture of the future. It is an idea of what the future can hold, but has not yet happened. Vision is the thing inside of us that guides us. It creates a desire to grow and improve. Vision embodies our hopes and ideals. It gives us a sense of purpose. Visions brings us flashes or glimpses of what is possible.

As a leader, it is your job to create an informed view of where your organization should be headed. That view should include an understanding of the organization and the environment in which it operates. A vision gives a team direction and puts the larger institution on notice of where you and your team are headed - even the resources you could need. It becomes a touchstone that is placed and prioritized relative to competing efforts inside and outside of the institution. It is clear, inspirational, empowering, and directive.

2- Deliver that Vision

To deliver a vision, you need to capture hearts and minds to execute – that is where the rubber meets the road. A vision is nothing if it is not realized. A vision is nothing if it does not yield results. Results come from what people actually do. Translating vision into strategies that drive coordinated tactical action requires engaged, empowered, and informed teams with the tools and resources to make it happen. As a leader, it is your charge to ensure that your organization has what it needs to realize the vision you put forth using their creativity and energy.

3- Nurture Leaders at All Levels

As I have watched, lead and coached organizations, I found that those who nurture leaders at all levels are more successful. They get things done, they get things done faster and they have better overall results. Roger Trapp, a contributor to Forbes, wrote an insightful article on the need to develop leaders at all levels of an organization – effectively to have a pipeline of talent. He makes that case that with the advent of globalization and the role of technology, it is important to develop, mentor and empower at all levels of the organization. I couldn’t agree more.

Facebook Feed

We use our Facebook page to share insights, concepts and tips we find related to leadership, diversity and inclusion.
We invite you to:
  * Like Us on Facebook
  * Invite your friends to like us

Like Us of Facebook

Like us on Facebook