Previously I have outlined various things related to the ‘minimum requirement‘ that must be owned by someone if you want to lead a university. Moreover, global change requires the existence of a culture of competition as a logical consequence of the integration of our education market into the international market or ‘free market in education’. Leaders who are experienced, of course, will develop leadership that is inspirational and visionary.
It has a far-reaching future, can map the current trend of change that has and will occur, which will inevitably be faced by the institution it fosters. Therefore, communicating the vision—as I described above—becomes one of the ‘door-opening keys’ to accelerate the implementation of educational programs derived from the university’s vision and mission.
The ability to communicate vision and mission must be preceded by the willingness of a leader to change the ‘mind set’, the way of thinking, the way of seeing things, the way they look at problems. Changes in the ‘mind set’ will change the way they play, the way they behave, the way they act, the way they formulate, how to set policies. Changes in the way of thinking for example will change a leader’s perception of his leadership mentality from leadership that views the position as “I am in Charge” to a manager who always wants to encourage, support and lead staff, leader of front-line staff. Thus, the role of a leader changes. The university’s leadership function becomes an activity that strengthens the quality of the teaching and learning process and encourages, provides support to all staff to work so that the target of quality improvement or quality occurs. Here, initiative and creativity become very important. Traditional ways of leadership (such as importance to status, position, hierarchy of office, pseudo-respect) become unimportant.
The main role of university leaders is to develop a culture of quality. Because with a growing quality culture, the level of competency of university community is encouraged to continue to grow and increase. Quality culture becomes one of the plazas that becomes a strong foundation to encourage university community to participate in competition in the education market. The question is now what functions should a university leader have so that he can act as a quality culture development agent?
The question above is not easy to answer. But, in my opinion, there are several functions that can be developed or played by a university dreamer in encouraging the development of quality culture.
First, the university leader must establish himself as ‘a vision for the institution’. He must master—inside-the-inside, explicitly—the vision and mission of the institution he leads. In this sense, a university leader is the one who must best understand, understand the deepest spirit relating to the various messages, missions, contained in the vision of the institution that has been formulated together. That is why university leaders must be able to incarnate as the main translator of the vision of the institution, both ideologically and pragmatically.
Second, university leaders must have a ‘clear commitment’ to improving the quality of every university citizen and the quality of the institution (quality of lecturers, quality of administrative staff, quality of teaching and learning process, quality of facilities and infrastructure). A clear, bright commitment is the main capital for quality improvement.
Third, university leaders are also very required to have sufficient skills and skills in communication, developing communication, carrying out interactions with clear message quality, bright. It is a tragedy that a university leader does not have the required abilities as above. It could be that many things are happening in the university environment, which is not understood by stakeholders or by university community, because the quality of the message conveyed is very inadequate. The ability to communicate messages of good quality is one of the prerequisites for the good and poor leadership of a university.
Fourth, the university leadership must act as a ‘leading development staff’. Many problems arise within the university management because the university leadership is allergic to staff development. University leaders, especially at universities in second- or third-tier positions in the mapping of college institutions, often do not have enough awareness for staff development. Therefore, we often see that many policies have been established but cannot be carried out by staff in the field, because the staff who run it do not understand the message contained in the policy. Even often the policy is misinterpreted by the staff.
Fifth, university leaders should initiate what I refer to as ‘a no blame culture’. There is a lot of response given by university community to a policy with disgruntled feelings. University residents feel they ‘do not have’ the policy, although sometimes they are involved in the policy-making process. A culture of protest, dissatisfied when a decision has been made, is often something naïve in university institutions that uphold rationality, academic debate and the search for truth. University leaders should stop such ‘a blame culture’. Restore collegial culture, academic culture, on a foundation of rationality, so that every policy is not countered by people who do not actually have ‘authority’ in the region. University leaders must emphasize the division of functions and roles in all elements of decision-making. The distribution of responsibility becomes significant.
Sixth, the head of the university must be able to build an effective work team. A work team that can be the ‘engine’ of the organization’s driving force. A work team that can translate the university’s vision and mission into real activities, so that that vision and mission “work”. A working team that is able to implement education policies into the form of real activities.
Seventh, university leaders must ‘have regular meetings’ with customers so they know what customers need. Let them know what the quality demands of the customers are. So that they understand the needs of customers. Let them know the changing needs of their customers. University leaders must find what those customers need.
Eighth, university leaders must also serve as people who can lead innovative work. He must be able to act and make policies that are based on innovative works. Therefore, to be able to innovate, lead innovation, university leaders must be equipped with the understanding that every regulation, regulation, rules of the game is not something that is final. Regulation can be adjusted according to the times. Regulation can be modified so that it can support the implementation of policies. The rules of the game can be fixed. The rules of the game are not something that is final and ‘given’. The rules of the game can be ‘innovated’. The trick is to reassess all the existing regulations. University leaders must be willing to map out all regulations in a “first, break all the rules” frame, then, after that recast those regulations based on the future interests of the organization. Regulations basically are not to bind the work performance of university organizations. Regulation is essentially built to simplify the way things work, ensure the precision of work, ensure the good grades and bad grades of the entire university organization, so that it can move, roar, as the institution’s engine of change to achieve a vision of the future.
Ninth, university leaders must be able to act as people who are able to develop skills in conflict resolution, problem solving and developing mediation or negotiation. Mediation skills to resolve conflicts become very important so that tolerant attitudes can be more upfront than conflicts or polemics that are often not so clear the benefits.