Fusion of Leadership Theory and Practice: Use of SuperLeadership and Talent Management by Administrator Leaders in Institutions of Higher Education
Employee turnover is costly to organizations. Leadership and career development opportunities can be instrumental in retaining employees. This exploratory, qualitative study uses interpretative phenomenological content analysis to explore the practices and perceptions of administrator leaders who work in public, non-profit institutions of higher education in terms of the development of the self-leadership skills and talents of their employees, and whether the theory of SuperLeadership and the practice of talent management are used by the administrator leaders in this study. After conducting in-depth interviews with eleven administrator leaders, the following three themes emerged about their practices and perceptions of developing and retaining their staff: 1) demonstrating leadership, 2) encouraging self-leadership and 3) retaining talented employees. The administrator leaders described their own leadership practices and how their employees demonstrate leadership potential. Their own leadership practices included providing a sense of direction, aligning resources with the direction of the organization, getting employee-buy-in, analyzing work processes, measuring performance and solving problems, and bringing out the best in the employees (Bell, 2006). They believed that their employees demonstrated leadership potential through ambition, self-confidence, communication skills, and having political acumen. These perceptions were very similar to those discussed by C. Robinson (2006) who believed employees who demonstrated honesty, creativity, vision and courage should be encouraged to exercise self-leadership. The administrator leaders discussed the threats and benefits of encouraging, guiding, and rewarding employee’s self-leadership practice rather than directly providing instructions and rewards for performance (Manz & Sims, 2001). Finally, the leaders perceived the reward components of a compensation plan as a beneficial means to retain talented employees. The compensation plan comprised of individual growth, goal setting, compelling future, workplace position, natural rewards and total pay (Berger & Berger, 2003; Manz & Neck, 2004; Manz & Sims, 2001). The administrator leaders in this study practiced SuperLeadership; however, no formal talent management system was used in their workplaces. A formal talent management system could be beneficial to communicate a standard for talent and self-leadership skills. Implications for staff leadership in institutions of higher education and the need for future research are discussed.
Keywords: SuperLeadership, Talent Management, Organizational Leadership, Staff Retention
Kelly Louise Anders
Academic Personnel Consultant, Office of the Chancellor and Provost, University of California
Dr. Maria Cisaltina da Silveira Nunes Dinis
Associate Professor, Division of Social Work, California State University