Currently playing: Leadership
The playlist provides an introduction to leadership, delivered by Dr Robin Henderson, to encourage you to uncover what you think makes a great leader, your own leadership skills and other leadership styles you might wish to try out.
Welcome to the introduction to leadership resource. My name is Robin Henderson, I’m a management consultant who works exclusively with higher education, supporting University academics and professional service staff develop and think about their leadership. And this short video is going to introduce you to what to expect from the resource and to enable you to work through it as effectively as you can.
What the resources here to do is to support you develop an understanding of what we mean by leadership, and to explore what leadership is and also what it’s not. And in that, we’ll be exploring the difference between leadership and management, and talk about some of the behaviours that you would expect to see effective leaders demonstrating.
So we’re going to be exploring that within the resource, we’re also going to explore and give you the opportunity to reflect on your own attributes as a leader. And I think this is really important in terms of how you support yourself, develop as a leader within the community that you’re operating within, and to enable you to become more effective. And then the final thing is to identify spaces where within your postdoctoral research work, or other work that you’re undertaking that you can identify spaces and opportunities for consciously developing your leadership skills.
And we’ll also be thinking about how you can evidence those skills. In terms of what the resource contains it, first of all, contains a number of short videos like this, exploring key leadership concepts. Some of these videos are based upon the workshop that we ran with the Prosper programme, and builds on inputs from their participants on those workshops. Others will explore specific leadership models and concepts.
Alongside the videos, there’s a series of reflective documents to complete and I really encourage you to complete these documents as at the heart of good leadership is the ability to be reflective and understand your own attributes, styles and behaviours, and to identify where you perhaps need to modify or update or change something to become an even more effective leader. And the other thing that resource contains is a series of resources, additional websites, videos and the like for you to explore concepts that we discussed on the programme in more detail.
So I hope you enjoy working through the resource. And if you have any questions, please do get in touch with myself and my email is at the start of this video.
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Welcome to this video which is part of the prosper introduction to leadership resource. What we’re going to do in this video is discuss three key elements.
The first one is to have a conversation around about what do we mean by leadership. Leadership is a word that is often used in management leadership in organisations. But what do we really mean by that word leadership, and in particular, what might distinguish the word leadership from the word management. We’re also going to spend some time looking at the attributes of leaders.
And finally, we’re going to talk about one leadership model, the Kouzes and Posner leadership practices model, which highlights the attributes of effective leaders. And that will help us explore and reflect on our own practices as leaders, and also identify areas where we could improve our leadership.
Within the workshop, which we ran alongside the development of this resource, we had a group discussion around about what do we mean by leadership. And it was interesting to see what some of the discussion groups came back with. There was a general theme of guiding others to achieve was part of leadership, helping a group achieve a common goal, steering a team of people, and inspiring others all were the definitions that the participants on the workshop came up with. If we were to look at a formal definition of leadership. Leadership could be regarded as an act of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.
So I think the first thing to recognise is that leadership is about motivating, it’s not about telling people, it’s not about your position, leadership is about this process of motivating others to head in a specific direction. And I think the other thing here is the sense of leadership towards a common goal, that you’re trying to achieve something. And by working towards that common goal, and inspiring those people and motivating those people to head towards that, that is when you are leading them. It is important to differentiate between what we mean by leadership and management. And an awful lot of has been written on this. And we will put some resources in the pack to differentiate these two for you to read in more detail.
But from my perspective, the key difference between leadership and management is that leadership is different from management in that you lead by consent, not due to position. So for example, you might be a postdoctoral researcher working in a laboratory, and you might lead elements of that laboratories process.
And it’s not because you’re a postdoctoral researcher, it is not because you’re in the more senior person, but you lead it by that process of motivating others towards that common goal. So recognise that leadership is about this idea of consent from the other people. So to lead people, they need to agree that you will lead them and that also, that is not about position. So no matter where you are in an organisational hierarchy, you can be demonstrating leadership.
Often people misconstrue the idea of leadership as being about a formal position, whereas actually leadership is about a behaviour set. Management is about when you use a formal position to achieve a specific goal.
Another way of thinking about differentiating between management and leadership is this amazing quote from Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis, who said that “Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things”. So for example, in an organisation, you might manage a process, for example, an expenses process or PDR, performance development review process, and you may manage that process and do the process correctly.
But if the process doesn’t work inherently itself, then management isn’t going to fix that. Leadership is when you go you know what that process isn’t working, we need to do something different. At an organisational level management is about making sure the activity to the organisation run smoothly. Leadership is taking the organisation in the direction to do the things that are really important to the organisation. Another quote that is useful is from Grace Murray Hopper, who was a Admiral in the US Navy who was heavily involved in computer science. And what she said was that “you manage things you lead people”.
So a thing might be a process or might be a resource, but the people are the things that you lead, you need to lead people and recognise that leadership is about the people that you lead, not about the rest of the organisation processes and systems.
So before we move forward in this video, if you haven’t already done so, we’d ask you to go into the reflection around about what are the attributes of effective leaders which you’ll find in the resource. Please do that before continuing on in this video where we’ll be discussing what came out of the workshop in terms of those attributes of effective leaders. And also then thinking about that in the context of a leadership model.
Within the workshop, we asked people for what is an effective leader, and doing exactly the same exercise that is in the reflective activity that you’ve just completed.
And the areas that came up in the workshop were things like people who supportively challenge you. So not just somebody who says yes, who just contributes to your work, but somebody who supportively challenges you to be better in your work, that they’re approachable, that you can access them, and that they are good listeners, and that you can actually feel like you can connect with them, that they’re enthusiastic, passionate and positive. And that doesn’t mean that they need to be outwardly extrovert, it means that they are positive and passionate about what they do in a way that is authentic and meaningful for them.
They will usually be a skilled communicator, a lot of leadership is about communicating ideas, vision, passion, engagement, and motivating people. So most leaders are effective and skilled communicators, I think it’s important to recognise the value of listening in there, that most effective leaders are excellent listeners, as well as talking, as well as communicating by talking and writing.
But listening is a key communication skill for those leaders. They often act as an advocate, they promote and create opportunities for people. I know certainly when I was a postdoctoral researcher, one of the people who I worked with was amazing, as a leader in terms of creating opportunities for me to develop, and that I saw as a real value of his leadership.
There tend to be relatively inspirational, and we come back to that word passionate. Again, inspiration can happen in many ways. So what we mean by inspirational is that they motivate people to want to do something. They know individuals, and what skills and talents and what those individual skills and talents are. So that recognition that individuals have skills talents, and that they can utilise and access and enable those people to use those as effectively as possible is really helpful.
Many leaders are patient, that they’re willing to take time to explore and get to the right solution, that they’re open so that they communicate not just about the facts of the situation that they might communicate about how they feel, they share information to enable people to understand more broadly, what’s going on, that they create trust, you trust them, and they trust you, and that they have that ability to build that trust.
And within that the sense of building trust, something that I think a lot of leaders do really effectively is to create a safety net, to allow you to explore, if you think about this in research leadership, a really good way to think about this and research leadership is a great PI will create space for the postdocs and the PhD students in the research group to go away explore issues, and to know that they have that permission and space to explore those new challenging areas.
Knowing that there’s a safety net there if things don’t work out for them. Within the workshop, with identifying these leadership attributes, we started to create our own leadership model. It is worth pointing out that if you go into a bookshop, or you go into Amazon, or look on Wikipedia, there are very many leadership models, authentic leadership, quiet leadership, value based leadership, and so on. What we will do is we’ve put some resources in the lntroduction to leadership resource, which you can explore some of these different leadership models. What we’re going to do in this video, though, is look at one particular leadership model.
And that leadership model is the Kouzes and Posner leadership practices. And the reason we’ve picked this model is that it’s well researched, it is based upon evidence. And also, researchers have looked at that about how applicable it is to higher education. And a number of authors have felt that this one is a good example of leadership practices, which translates well to higher education context.
The model is called the five leadership practices because there are five behaviours and practices that the authors believe every leader should demonstrate. The first one of these practices is about modelling. Modelling what we expect of others, we need to model the values that we would like the organisation or the people we’re leaving to demonstrate. And we have to set the example by which we want people to behave.
You will all have heard of the phrase lead by example and this is exactly what this is about. If you expect somebody to do it, then you need to model that behaviour. So leadership is about modelling the behaviours that you expect people to see. You can see this in organisations where perhaps the organisation has espouses one value, for example, it’s about equality and diversity, or creating a safe working culture where however, the leadership might be undermined by people within the senior leadership of those organisations, not necessarily modelling those behaviours effectively.
The second practice is the practice of inspiring others. And in order to inspire others, you first of all need to envisage the future. What do you want the organisation or the team or the group you’re leading to be thinking and being in the future. And so there is an essence in leadership, but this forward looking visioning process, you then need to inspire others to be involved in that future, and enlist them into your future into that future vision. So it’s really about how do I inspire people, both by the visionI presennt, and also how I get them involved in that vision.
A useful practice in here is to recognise that the vision is not just the leaders vision, but it can be a co created community vision of where the organisation or group is going, rather than it being about an individual’s vision of the organisation. The next practice is around about challenge. So leadership is not about the status quo remaining as it is, it is not around about just managing processes to make the organisation or team work as it is, it is about challenging the behaviours and practices in the organisation to enhance those organisational practices.
A really simple example of this would be Imagine if you’re in a research group, and there’s some process that doesn’t work very well. The challenge process would be to go, that system process is not very good, I need to improve that that would be you be demonstrating that challenge. Implicit in challenging existing behaviours and the status quo is an element of opportunities seeking, experimenting and taking risks. So it’s really important to recognise that risk taking, being experimental and how you approach things is an integral part of leadership.
The next practice is around about how you enable others. And enabling others is often around about fostering collaboration. How do you support individuals work with each other in order for the team to be more effective? So how do we foster that collaboration? What behaviours and practices do we have, which enables that to happen?
The second thing in the enabling is to enable others to be better at what they do, often through coaching, training, supporting development, but how do we strengthen others in order for them to be able to more effectively contribute to the vision that we’re trying to achieve. And then the final area is around about how we encourage each other. And how, as a leader, we encourage people.
At the heart of this is the process of recognising contributions. Leadership is not about you, as a leader taking the kudos and his esteem for having delivered something. Leadership is about enabling a group of people to achieve and the group collects esteem and kudos. And so you explicitly as a practice, need to recognise individual contributions, and to celebrate values with victories for everybody in the group.
And I think that’s a really interesting concept on this is in research is that when I was an academic, I wasn’t very exited,about getting a poster presentation accepted into a conference. But for a new PhD student, they might have been amazingly excited about that poster presentation being accepted into a conference.
So it’s about recognising values and victories for the individuals at the level at which they experience them in the organisation, not just highlighting these high level huge research grants, for example, victories, but recognising that as a leader of a team you need to be celebrating all those successes through the organisation. So that’s the leadership practices model by Kouzes and Posner. And what we’re going to do in the next phase of the resource is that you have an opportunity to reflect on the practices and behaviours that are recognised by Kouzes, and Posner.
But if we go back up through the slides, and explore the attributes of effective leadership from the workshop, what we will ask you to do is to complete the reflective document which is the next part of the resource, to explore where do you think you’re a strong leader and where are the areas where you feel you could develop your leadership more effectively?
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There are many, many models of leadership. And one of the things that is useful to think about is finding leadership models, which mean something to you and can be applied in real situations to help you think through your leadership. One of the most useful models I have found is that by Daniel Goleman, and you’ll find the link to the article about the leadership styles that he wrote in the Harvard Business Review in the resources. But what this video is going to do is just talk through some of those different leadership styles.
The first of the leadership styles that Goleman talks about is the visionary leadership style. This leadership style can be thought of as setting the overall goals, the outcomes that you’re looking to achieve, and then letting the people in the team, the people responsible for the delivery, work out how to achieve that end goal.
If you thought about that, within a research context, a really good example of that is where a PA may set the overall target for the research and the overall high level questions that they would expect the postdoctoral researcher to explore, but not necessarily provide the detail of how to get there and leave the how to get there to the researcher themselves. It’s a great style of leadership, especially when you have competent team members available to take the research forward.
The next style of leadership, and again, one, which I think is a really useful leadership style in many, many situations, especially in research, however, is the coaching style. And in the coaching style, the leaders role is to enable the person or people that they’re leading, become more effective through effectively coaching them. Now, that could mean coaching within the very formal structure of asking questions and supporting them work through to find solutions. But it could also mean by supporting them learning new skills, teaching them, training them supporting that learning process. So the coaching style of leadership is all about enabling you, the people you lead, or the team that you’re leading, become more effective in their ability to move forward.
The next style of leadership is the affiliative style of leadership. And what this is about is about leading in a way, which creates harmony. And there will be times in any leaders journey, where they need to think about how they create harmony within a team and focus on the people rather than on the outcomes or a piece of the leadership task.
A really good example of that has been that often the leaders who have been respected and valued through the pandemic have been those who have really care and attention to supporting the team, and creating ways to find individual support and team support in the way that they’ve led, perhaps focusing more on the relationships that people have had, and how they have supported rather than neccessarily the outcomes that they achieved. Obviously, this style, perhaps has negative impacts, where if you’re overly affiliative, too much of the time, then you can end up in a situation where there’s not enough focus on goals and outcomes.
The next style of leadership is what’s called a democratic style of leadership. And in this democratic style of leadership, what you’re looking to do is put decisions to those who will be affected by those decisions. Now, in many ways, this is a really useful leadership style, especially where the team is very qualified, and maybe knows more about the situation than you do as the leader. So asking others to suggest ideas and for the group to make a decision collectively on the outcome is a really useful methodology.
However, there is an issue here that sometimes when you use democratic decision making, it leads to poor quality decisions, because perhaps the group is not aligned to the overall goal of what the organisation is trying to achieve. So that democratic decision making takes in a different direction to the organisation. You often see this in universities, where if a decision is put to a staff meeting, perhaps of a department or school, then they can make a decision, which is maybe counter to the overall direction of travel of the institution itself.
The next style of leadership that Goleman talks about is that of pacesetting. And in the pacesetting leadership it is really about how the leader sets an example and often it is a very hard working motivated, high paced, leadership style. And that can be really, really helpful when deadlines are tight where there’s energy and commitment required to move a project forward.
However, there is a risk with pacesetting that it can focus too much on achieving goals in the short term and can lead to burnout and challenge for the people that are led. The final leadership style is one that Goleman referred to as directive and in the directive style is where you’re being very direct, as it suggests in telling people, not just what the overall goal is, as you were doing the visionary style, but also how to get there.
And it’s a style that I don’t believe is appropriate most of the time when you’re working with people like you will be working within universities. But there is time when being directive is helpful. For example, in a situation where there is no opportunity to deviate from a specific way ahead. So for example, roundabout health and safety, being directive in that situation is perfectly reasonable. Being directive also works well in crisis, and often works a lot better than, say, democratic or coaching methods in a crisis situation.
The key thing here is that if you’re going to be an effective leader, you need to develop skills and abilities in each of these styles, and be able to choose the appropriate style for the appropriate situation.
So what you’ll find in the materials is a reflective document to help you think about situations which you face in your day to day activities as a postdoctoral researcher, in order for you to go: actually, this is where visionary would be useful. This is where a coaching approach would be useful. And just to reflect on whether or not you’re using the approaches in the way that is best suited for the leadership situations that you encounter in your research activities.
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Welcome back to the introduction to leadership resource. In this video, we’re going to be talking about how you can develop your leadership skills within your postdoctoral work.
I think it’s important given what we talked about earlier in the resource, around about recognising that position doesn’t necessarily enable or facilitate leadership to think about where within your postdoctoral research work and beyond your university work, where you can start to develop leadership skills. And just as a quick example, I’ve pulled out some examples of situations where I’m very aware that postdoctoral researchers have taken on leadership roles.
So for example, if you’re in a research group, and you’re working on a collaboration, that collaboration gives you the opportunity to take leadership, it might be leadership about a sub project, or maybe leadership about the broader project. But that collaborative project gives you the opportunity to take a leadership role. Perhaps as your career develops, you’ll start developing your own collaborations. And again, that gives you an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and develop your skills.
Other areas where you can be developing leadership, within your day to day research work, for example, would be supporting other researchers. Are you helping PhD students or master students with their research, leading their research directions and supporting them in that way. Perhaps you are working in a laboratory where there’s an opportunity to change a process or a system and you can take leadership for that. Perhaps you’re working on a research project where you’re developing a website, and that gives you an opportunity for taking leadership of that task as well. So look at the citizenship tasks as an opportunity to take leadership.
Similarly, things like organising seminar series, or organising writing groups give you an opportunity to develop and also evidence your leadership. Beyond your core work, there are a number of areas where you can start to think about how you can demonstrate leadership. Whenever you’re involved in any activity, which is engaging externally, whether or not that science communication research outreach, or that is working with industry or policy partners. All of those situations give you an opportunity to demonstrate leadership skills, and to build your portfolio of leadership.
Another area where you can really demonstrate leadership is through taking on roles within committees and being really active in that process. A good example from my early career was that I was involved in the Institute of Materials, which is my professional body, younger members committee, and that involves getting involved in a number of projects, including organising conferences and events, and also taking a leadership role in shaping their regulations for chartered engineering status.
So it was something that was really rich and meaningful on my CV, which was a clear leadership responsibility that I had taken on during my PhD and postdoctoral work. So be involved, get active. I would recommend, however, that you don’t try and take on too many roles, you’re better to have one or two roles, which you actively do, rather than having many roles, which you can’t really demonstrate where you’ve taken that leadership role. The other area to think about is around about activities you do outside of your postdoctoral research.
For example, I’ve been involved in a cycling club in the past, where that involved degree of leadership, taking people on bike rides, being involved in committees and shaping that cycling club. So anything that you do outside of work has the opportunity as well to demonstrate leadership, if you choose to take on board that responsibility. The key thing here is to recognise that you can find opportunities for leadership everywhere you look. And it’s about taking some of those opportunities.
And coming back to that concept we’ve been talking about in the module, thinking about how you reflect and learn from those experiences to develop your leadership. And also think about how you evidence at leadership, which we’ll be talking about in the next resource where we will be examining how you use the STAR model to evidence your leadership.
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