What message are you delivering?

How often do you, regardless of the leadership role you hold, consider the message you deliver to your team?

Higher education might, or might not, be a good example to examine as we answer to that question. But that space provides a quick case study.

What are political leaders saying to the public when they remove more and more money from state budgets earmarked for higher education?

What message do those university leaders then say to the public when they seek to admit more out-of-state students because they will pay higher tuition?

What message is sent to students, no matter the state they live in, who must go into significant debt in order to earn that precious degree?

What do those same university leaders say when they increase class sizes, knowing all available evidence suggests smaller class sizes benefit students?

Furthermore, what message is sent to part-time faculty who must teach more classes than is ideal because they can’t make ends meet?

What are students supposed to think when they develop no mentor-mentee relationship with the faculty because a fair number of those instructors are behind closed doors seeking to get esoteric research published or grant money earned?

Mind you, I’m not suggesting private institutions are places where the learning environment is guaranteed to be better. In fact, private colleges and universities have their own challenges when it comes to faculty, student and staff issues.

And those challenges could begin an entirely different round of questions.

Here’s my point: Are you as a leader thinking only about dollars and cents, productivity, stock prices and other transactional issues when you consider how decisions affect your team? Or do you value — and not just as a talking point — transformational opportunities for the people you work with?

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