Training & Development

On the Front Line of Leadership

According to a study conducted in 2011 by the Education Advisory Board entitled “Developing Academic Leaders,” department chairs serve on the front line of academic leadership. The same study found that 80% of institutional decisions are made at the departmental level. Your role is multi-faceted, sometimes misunderstood, and always challenging. Leadership competencies provide the framework.for success. A survey of GW’s department chairs determined the top ten leadership competencies listed below to be “mission critical.” Click on each competency to access to resources that will help you enhance your knowledge and skills and accelerate your ability to effectively lead your department.

  1. Judgment
  2. Communication
  3. Teamwork and Collaboration
  4. Conflict Management
  5. Fairness
  6. Motivating Others
  7. Understanding Others
  8. Negotiating
  9. Developing Faculty and Staff
  10. Peer Relationships


In addition to our “Top Ten” List, we’ve also added time management resources at the request of department chairs. As we develop the site, we will add resources to support additional leadership competencies that were identified by department chairs as “important” to their success, so check back often.

We hope you will use the resources to aid your professional development, and share resources you’ve found helpful by sending a message to chairs@gwu.edu.