Influential Leadership

Leadership Skills

Critical Leadership Skills (Video)
Bob Easter, President Emeritus of the University of Illinois, discusses several foundational skills and strategies for becoming an effective leader, including how to deliver difficult news to individuals and groups.

Jump to section: Relating to Your Team, Delivering Bad News, Others’ Reactions to Difficult News, Where to Look for Support, Seeking Advice, Real Examples – Abraham Lincoln: Choosing Advisers

Language (Expert Video)
Nicholas Burbules, Professor in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Illinois, describes how the use of language is an essential skill in leadership.

Listening and Asking Questions:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Negotiation:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Useful Tools for Handling Complaints, Feedback, and Disagreements

Sometimes you will encounter problems that require a formal process. Here’s how to do it right.

Complaint Handling Guidelines (Executive Briefing)

Complaint Handling (Video)
A department head hears a complaint from a staff member regarding a high-profile professor. The department head demonstrates effective intake of a complaint.

Complaint Handling:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Conflict and Dispute:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Delivering Difficult News:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Delivering Difficult News (Expert Video)
Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, offers his views on how to give someone news that may be hard to hear.

Delivering Difficult News  (Video)
A department head explains a complaint to a staff member.

Difficult Conversations (Expert Video)
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, provides advice on how to handle a difficult subject.

Incivility and Bullying:  Annotated Bibliography (PDF – Resources for Further Reading)
Selected books, research articles, and popular literature for those seeking deeper knowledge on the topics of incivility and bullying.

Incivility and Bullying:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Issue Spotting (Video)
A school chair meets with an adjunct professor and research team member from another department. They discuss a dispute between the adjunct and a professor in the school chair’s department. The chair identifies the key issues from the adjunct’s perspective and repeats them back to ensure understanding before she gets the other professor’s side of the story.

Issue Spotting:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Knowing When to Escalate (Video)
A department head hears a complaint from a staff member regarding a professor who may be displaying concerning behavior. The head understands this situation will likely require a formal process for handling the complaint; he demonstrates care in how he engages with the staff member, focusing on the facts and remaining calm to defuse her emotional reactions. 

Knowing When to Escalate:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Listening to Students (Expert Video)
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, explains the importance of active listening in receiving feedback, specifically in the case of students.

Managing Up:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Making Difficult Decisions (Expert Video)
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, describes some of her strategies for decision-making.

Personal Scripts:  Quick Tips (PDF)
Just-in-time advice for developing go-to responses for challenging situations.

Performance Management

Building Effective Units:  Quick Tips (PDF)

Mentoring Part I (Expert Video)
Mentoring Part II (Expert Video)
Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, explains the importance of mentoring in an academic unit.

Practical Performance Feedback Tips (Executive Briefing)
Tips and hints for conducting evaluations and providing feedback that will be honest, constructive, and most likely to be heard by those within your scope of responsibility.

Giving Performance Feedback:  Quick Tips (PDF)
Just-in-time advice for conducting an effective faculty performance review.

Giving Performance Feedback (scenario one)  (Video)
A department head conducts an annual performance review with a faculty member. The department head demonstrates some effectiveness in addressing goals and strategies for performance improvement. The head’s approach also highlights opportunities for improvement to his performance review process.

Giving Performance Feedback (scenario two)  (Video)
A department head talks to a staff member about her performance review.  He has to navigate some unexpected developments, and creates a constructive outcome.

Giving Performance Feedback (Expert Video)
Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, discusses the effective transmission of feedback to a faculty member.

Performance Management:  Annotated Bibliography (PDF – Resources for Further Reading)
Selected books, research articles, and popular literature for those seeking deeper knowledge on the topic of performance management.

Promotion and Tenure Mentoring (Expert Video)
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, discusses this important aspect of leadership in academia.

Understanding and Managing Teams:  Quick Tips (PDF)
Just-in-time advice for working effectively with teams.

Other Skills for Influential Leadership

Communicating Effectively via Email (Expert Video)
Barb Wilson, Executive Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Illinois, describes good practices in email communication.

Quality in Presentations (Expert Video)
Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, gives advice on putting together an effective presentation.

Data and Managing Up (Expert Video)
Rob Rutenbar, Senior Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Pittsburgh, talks about the use of data in discussions with decision-makers.

Effective Use of Committees:  Quick Tips (PDF)
General advice for working effectively with committees.

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