Lessons of Leadership - You Stop Doing What You Love

The first lesson of academic leadership is that it takes nearly 12 months to catch up on a large backlog of research. This is my reason (excuse) for not blogging since I stepped down as Head of Queen's Management School. When I stepped down, I indicated that I would write a series of posts which reflected on my time as Head. However, I underestimated the sheer effort it would take to kickstart the various research projects which I was involved with.   

If you are thinking of taking on a leadership role in a university, it will have a substantial effect on your research productivity. I went into the role knowing this. The way I coped was to see my research as a hobby - something that helped me relax and that I tinkered at on Saturdays and in my spare time. I also went each summer to Cambridge MA to get the head space and peace to work on research.

If you take on a leadership role in another type of organisation, you will be managing and leading a team. Your time will not be spent on your expertise - the thing you have spent years learning to do. You will need to stop doing what you love. I became an academic to research and teach, but when I became Head of School, I had to stop doing these things. I had to devote myself to building a team to deliver the objectives of my School.

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