I believe that the best investment for an institution is in human capital – finding the right people to build a support system around our students and each other. Systems, policies and procedures are incredibly important, but they are useless without the right people to execute them. It is vital that there is balance between recruitment, training, and continuous professional development practices. Employees should never be in the dark about where they stand and where they need to improve. Feedback and reflection are key.
In academia there are always situations that arise which test the mission and values of the organization. Each time I witness (and some times participate in) these moments I make a mental note about the impact of how things were handled. In my opinion the best academic leaders are fair and do the right thing – not just what is safe politically. They over-communicate and hear people out. As an academic leader, I believe in achieving the greatest good for the greatest amount of people. You don't have to be perfect, but you should be fair. While the goal should always be to achieve a win-win, often someone feels like they got the bad end of the deal. Hence, those on the receiving end of decisions should be explained why – within legal limits of course. It's not just the right thing to do, but it paves the way for better decision making in the future. People may not always like the decision, but at least they've been given the benefit of understanding the rationale. Most importantly, good leaders remember that people are people, and that your decisions have consequences on a personal level.