Book Cover: How Higher-Ed Leaders Derail

How Higher-Ed Leaders Derail: A Survival Guide for Leaders


By Patrick Sanaghan with Jillian Lohndorf

Every leader in higher ed should read this survival guide. 

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Product Description

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By Patrick Sanaghan, with Jillian Lohndorf
181 pages
ISBN: 9781948658027


In higher ed, there is a widely-held myth that the smartest person in the room should lead.

Taking for granted that someone who is smart is also ready to lead, we often fail to take steps to develop new leaders, leaving them unprepared for the challenges ahead and more likely to derail.

This is especially true now, as higher-ed leaders navigate complex challenges without a clear map forward. The tendency to fall back on tradition–to rely on “smartship” rather than effective leadership–leads to four destructive and pervasive dynamics, and Patrick Sanaghan’s new book explores these four in depth and offers specific strategies for countering them.

What’s Included

In this new book, explore solutions to:

    1. Derailment of the leader – wherein leaders are often promoted on the basis of academic prowess or past achievement but lack the management training, development, and support needed to succeed.
    2. Seduction of the leader – wherein leaders incorrectly believe they are receiving accurate intel about what is happening within their division.
    3. Arrogance – wherein we over-emphasize and reward individual achievement rather than encourage leaders to seek broad input and approach complex issues as a team endeavor.
    4. Micromanagement – wherein the risk averse culture of higher ed fosters leadership patterns that emphasize control and predictability rather than the risk taking, courage, and empowerment of one’s people that leadership in today’s higher education requires.

In How Higher-Ed Leaders Derail: A Survival Guide for Leaders, informed by decades of close work with hundreds of leaders in higher education, take a deep dive into the causes, characteristics, and solutions to each of these prevalent leadership dynamics — and learn what you need to know to stay on the tracks and succeed in leading your department, division, or institution.

Reviews from the field

“As I step down from a 15-year presidency at Boise State, I’ve reflected often on the on-the-job training I’ve learned over the years through trial and error. Pat Sanaghan’s strategies for staying on the tracks provide a very effective shortcut to success. Sanaghan has done an excellent job of identifying the unique characteristics of executive positions in higher education and offering a learning agenda that will assure success for university and college leaders. This book should be required reading for any president, and deserves a place on every leader’s desk in higher education.”
Bob Kustra, President Emeritus, Boise State University

“In How Higher-Ed Leaders Derail, Patrick Sanaghan has produced an insightful and practical book, brimming with resources about dangers leaders face today. Noting that the academy usually fails to select and prepare leaders with the right traits and experiences, Sanaghan’s book is masterful at not only helping leaders prevent derailment and failure, but also at helping new and experienced leaders succeed. For instance, few books on leadership take on the issues of supervision, which may be a leader’s most important day-to-day responsibility. This is a wonderful keep-by-your-side manual for higher-ed leaders.”
Rebecca Chopp, Chancellor, University of Denver

The book is available in print and digital editions. The digital version is a downloadable PDF. Upon payment, you will find your book available to download in the Downloads section of My Account.