Negotiation forms a central part of a vice-chancellor’s role, and I believe that being an effective negotiator is a skill that needs to be actively developed. As we all know, negotiations can often include difficult decisions, high stakes and conflicting opinions. They can make for a highly charged, emotional environment which is not conducive to making informed, confident decisions. Getting to Yes teaches negotiators to remove the emotion from the situation, Fisher and Ury discuss the importance of pursuing non-aggressive negotiation that is based on evidence and is detached from the emotional factors surrounding the issue.
Learning about this approach has inspired me to always focus on evidence, providing a clear, factual base from which to begin my negotiations. I find this prevents those involved, including myself, from adopting fixed, entrenched positions from the outset, and makes for a much more successful result. Outcomes are then clearly linked to the facts that were considered, rather than clouded by emotions.
The central tenet of Why Should Anyone be Led by You? revolves around questioning your own leadership suitability and skills, something which I have found to be integral to my development as a leader in higher education. Reading this book caused a shift in my way of thinking – having previously focused on studying leadership methods and looking at examples of leaders, I was now turning the lens inwards, challenging myself
to prove why I could be a successful, effective leader. To me, the key question that arises from this exercise is: how can I ensure I am an authentic leader? This lead me to develop the concept of the three part Authentic Academic, which we now apply across the university to help us constantly challenge and improve our teaching and research skills.
The core of this book is its focus on authenticity, and how this translates into successful leadership. It has made a huge impact on me, and how I approach leadership, and has led to us improving the authenticity of our offerings to our students, industry partners and research collaborators.
To ensure we are able to deliver the highest standards of teaching, we have become the first institution in the UK where all staff are fellows of the Higher Education Academy, with more National Teaching Fellowships awarded to Huddersfield in the past six years than any other university.
Applying the same tenet to our academic qualifications, we have doubled the number of doctoral qualifications to show we are committed to academic rigour and inspiring, authentic research.
To strengthen our ties with industry and engage in authentic partnerships, we have doubled the number of staff who are members of a relevant professional body.
Professor Bob Cryan was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Huddersfield in January 2007, a university that now has over 22,000 students from 120 countries. He holds two first class honours degrees (Engineering, Mathematics), an MBA and two doctorates (PhD, DSc) and he is a chartered engineer, a fellow of the Institution of Engineering Technology and a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Professor Cryan is a deputy lieutenant for West Yorkshire and an alumnus of TMP 6. In 2013 he was awarded The Guardian Inspiring Leader award which is sponsored by the Leadership Foundation.