Career Services Consultants

The TruMann Career Consulting Group maximizes the effectiveness of higher education career services organizations to ensure high visibility and success for educational institutions and their students. Learn more about us.

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Trudy on Forbes

Entries in managing career offices (1)


Principles of Effective Leadership 


Trudy and I authored an essay in our edited book Leadership in Career Services: Voices From the Field (available at that outlined 10 principles we considered essential to the highly effective leadership of career services organizations.

We share these principles with you in this blog post in the hope that they spur your thinking about your own leadership experiences…

1.    1. Understand the difference between leadership and management.  You lead people and you manage things. People wanted to be lead – no one wants to be managed.

2.     2. Know where you want to go and make sure everyone else knows as well.  Setting the vision and direction of the office is critical.  Make sure it aligns with your institution’s academic mission and is both broadly disseminated and understood.

3.   3. Know the field but reflect the institution. There are many diverse and effective career services delivery models.  The “best” one is the one that fits your institution – its mission, values, and culture.

4.    4. Know yourself and what you need to be successful. Being truly self-aware of your strengths and interests allows you to craft your leadership role and work with your team in ways that contribute best to office success.

5.    5. Think twice and hire once.  Making the right hiring decision is crucial – be clear in what you’re looking for; value candidate skills and interests over experience; and remember even if you delegate the final choice of candidate to others, the accountability is always yours.

6.    6. Invest in people. As a leader your office team is your greatest asset and greatest responsibility. Leverage your team’s strengths and abilities and support their interest and goals by investing in their professional development and coaching them for success.

7.   7. Value collaboration over confrontation.  Effective career services work relies on partnerships and collaboration.  The key to this is building positive working relationships with others by understanding needs and interests and finding common ground that puts your clients and stakeholders first.

8.    8. Be cautious of the “comfort zone”. It’s always tempting to coast a bit and savor your successes when things are going well.  This “comfort zone” can be misleading because an organization is only ever moving forward or slipping back – it never “stays in place”. Too much time in the comfort zone often means missed opportunities or being forced to react to challenging circumstances and priorities rather than strategically driving them.

9.   9. Lead up.  You supervisor is essential to your success. To “lead up” effectively you need to understand what matters to your supervisor. Try to fill in the “gaps” your supervisor may have; always do more than what is necessary; commit to solving problems not creating them; and accept that you will not always get your way.

 10. Accept the loneliness of leadership. Leaders must often make hard decisions and the “distance” that by necessity exists at times between leaders and the rest of the office team can make the challenges of leadership even more daunting. Seek information and solicit diverse opinions and perspectives but have the courage of your convictions and belief in your decisions.