Six tips for when you’re moving up into management

Making the leap into administration can feel daunting, but Yağmur Çerkez’s advice will help you to develop the skills and strategies needed to thrive

Yağmur Çerkez 's avatar
2 Feb 2024
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Stepping into an administrative role at a university is a privilege, but it can also present challenges. But by improving your skills and awareness, these challenges can become easier to tackle.

I was appointed to a deanship at the age of 37 and have spent several years as head of department. Here, I’ll share six tips and strategies to help young administrators navigate their new roles.

Learn policies and procedures

The first thing to do is to review all written regulations and procedures, and make sure to follow them. Understanding your institution’s potentially complex web of policies and procedures is crucial to effective management and will help things proceed more smoothly. When you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask for help from more experienced administrators. Remember that protecting your institution’s reputation by ensuring that all activities comply with the university’s code of ethics and legal requirements is your duty.

Be accessible

Once you become an administrator, avoid behaving in a way that prevents your employees or students from reaching you.

They will be more productive when they feel that your presence as a manager is for them to work in a peaceful and comfortable environment. For example, make an effort to return phone calls or reply to emails from faculty members or students. Just simply acknowledging the contact and stating that you will get back to them will demonstrate they can reach you and will make them feel valued.

Delegate effectively

Good management does not involve doing everything yourself, but instead being able to determine who can carry out a particular task best and assigning that role to them. Learning to delegate is a skill that can significantly impact a team’s efficiency and productivity. Understanding your team members’ strengths and expertise and assigning tasks accordingly is an important part of your role. Trust your colleagues to carry out their responsibilities while being available for guidance and support. Otherwise, you may find yourself trying to do all the work and risk experiencing burnout.

Maintain a balance of authority and camaraderie

As a young administrator, finding the right balance between asserting authority and establishing rapport with your employees is a delicate but important task. On the one hand, you need to be approachable and support open communication, but on the other hand, you need to maintain your authority. Strike a balance by assuming your management role during working hours and your role as a friend outside of working hours.

Nip conflict in the bud

Conflicts are inevitable in every workplace, and universities are no exception. There will always be situations where you must use your ability to overcome challenges and make informed decisions. As a new administrator, you must develop strong conflict resolution skills and handle problems quickly and constructively. Encouraging open communication and using mediation, when necessary, can help you maintain a positive work environment. The most important point here is to ensure that every issue, no matter how challenging or small it seems, is addressed and resolved. Nipping it in the bud will prevent problems from accumulating.

Maintain work-life balance

As a young administrator, you may find yourself spending most of your time dealing with work-related matters while trying to make sure everything is running smoothly. But maintaining a healthy work-life balance is not a luxury but a necessity for your well-being and that of your team. Promoting well-being involves paying attention to workload and stress levels, encouraging downtime when necessary and fostering a culture that values both professional and personal fulfilment. Reserve time for yourself and encourage your team to do the same. This way, you will not only enhance your productivity but also help to create a more resilient and contented work environment for everyone.

Although starting your role as an administrator in a university environment can be challenging, it is something to be proud of. You’ve been entrusted with a multi-faceted role, requiring a nuanced approach to management. By learning policies and procedures well, being accessible, delegating effectively and considering the other tips discussed, you can confidently fulfil your roles and contribute to the success of your department and institution.

Yağmur Çerkez is the dean of the Faculty of Education at Near East University.

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