Thursday, December 18, 2008

The admin gene

When I entered academia, I had no ambition to become an administrator. I wanted to teach, having found out that I was good at it and that it fired me up. When my boss asked me to take on an administrative role, I was skeptical about his judgment. What made him think I would be good at it, or enjoy it?

I've come to appreciate his discernment, however, because he was right. I don't know if I'm particularly good at the job, but there are aspects of it that fire me up. Here's a handy checklist; if you answer yes to more of these questions than not, you too might be cut out for administration.

  1. Do you like being an insider -- knowing everything that's going on?
  2. When some injustice or misfortune occurs in your workspace, is your first response to think of a policy that could prevent similar problems in the future?
  3. Do you enjoy crafting precise language that encapsulates a process thoroughly?
  4. Are you alert to the balance of sympathy and justice in your dealings with other peopel?
  5. Are you comfortable with sharing the spotlight?
  6. Do you move easily from considering fine detail to constructing large-scale enterprises?
  7. Do you love to bring things into being -- are you a builder by nature?
  8. Can you criticize yourself before anyone else has a chance to criticize you?
  9. When you make a hard decision, can you stick to it in the face of blowback?
  10. When you're wrong, can you admit it and change course?
  11. Can you share confidences without indulging in gossip?

I don't meet all these criteria by any means, but as I do the job and watch people who are much better than me do the job, I can see that this is what it takes. I suppose the real measure of my aptitude for adminstration is that even the things on the list that I'm not good at, I take joy and pleasure in being a part of.

1 comment:

the secret knitter said...

I'd been in my position for years before learning that it is categorized as administrative. Going by your questions, I guess I'm supposed to be. Go figure.