leadership characteristics, ego development, identity, alignment


High turnover rates with college and university presidents make longevity an important matter for higher education. This paper provides a conceptual framework that identifies factors affecting presidents’ ability to stay in their positions, especially when their longevity is desirable. The framework builds upon 26 years of previous work involving the leadership practices, characteristics, and longevity of education deans, academic deans, and Chief Academic Officers. Four major categorical factors, both internal and external to self, are described that contribute reciprocally to presidents’ ability to last on the job. These four factors—personal identity, professional identity, professional capacities, and professional environment—are connected with each other and intersect with the maturing of one’s ego so that one has the capacity to adapt appropriately to situations. This framework begins to develop a portrait of critical leadership characteristics needed for success and satisfaction with the most prominent position in higher education.