Adjusting to New Leadership

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Dr. Thomas Stafford reflects on how he adjusted to new leadership and what it was like for the university to transition to new chancellors.

Interview on 2012-05-03


00:00:00.000 One of the things that I tell people is that
00:00:03.178 as you go through your career one of the things you need to learn to do and do well
00:00:08.352 is to adjust to a different boss,
00:00:12.264 and I've worked for six chancellors here
00:00:16.420 and I've seen a total of eleven, including interims,
00:00:20.665 but I didn't report directly to all of them back in those earlier years.
00:00:25.303 The point is the same whether it's the chancellor or any other position
00:00:31.301 and that is you're going to have a different boss, several different bosses over the course of your career,
00:00:39.056 and not only that, those bosses are almost certainly going to be different.
00:00:43.722 They're going to be different in their leadership style,
00:00:47.619 they're going to be different in the way they operate, the way they like to operate with you, what they expect,
00:00:53.298 and it's important for you to very quickly develop an understanding of how your boss likes to operate and what he or she expects.
00:01:07.400 So of all the chancellors that I've worked with
00:01:13.211 some have been very clear about that, others have not been quite as clear,
00:01:18.262 but every single one has had a different style.
00:01:24.118 So what I think I've been able to do very well is to understand that style
00:01:32.555 and develop a relationship with those chancellors that have enabled us to work well together.
00:01:38.669 I mean the way I worked with one chancellor wouldn't work with another chancellor.
00:01:42.601 But they've all had their strengths and they've all had areas in which they were not quite as strong, and that's true of everybody,
00:01:50.267 I will tell you one story about Chancellor Marye Anne Fox,
00:01:57.246 who was one of the brightest and most intelligent persons I've ever known,
00:02:04.475 chancellor or otherwise.
00:02:07.687 I remember when I went into her office one day
00:02:11.909 to give her some information about
00:02:17.563 a program in which I wanted her to speak
00:02:22.582 that was something to do with student affairs,
00:02:26.156 and I took a sheet of paper in and the sheet was full of bullets of information that I wanted her to include in her presentation.
00:02:37.076 I handed it to her and she looked at it and read it and handed it back to me,
00:02:42.039 and I said, "Well don't you need to keep this?"
00:02:44.441 She said, "Oh, no, I've got it."
00:02:46.743 She read that page one time and everything that was on that page was in her mind.
00:02:51.193 She was that bright. She was pretty extraordinary.