On Thursday 3rd November we successfully ran our first full-day event of workshops specifically designed for postgraduate research students to recognise and refine their knowledge of leadership skills. Under the title “Leadership Development Workshops”, sponsored by Science Think Ahead, PGR students across all faculties attended four sessions from 9:30am – 4pm in the Arts Tower computer room, with speakers from a wide range of disciplines and services within the University.

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Some of the resources that each of our attendees received

The first session of the day was given by Phil Wallace from the University’s Leadership Development team.  He discussed with the participants what it means to be a successful leader in today’s world, the role of the leader within the community, and the concept of living leadership. Researchers were also given the chance to reflect on that using their own experiences and achievements.

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Phil Wallace delivering the session “Leadership & Management Development”

The second workshop of the day was delivered by Rachael Roberts, a Careers Adviser for Researchers. Rachael’s session showed students that, while it is important to develop effective leadership and management skills, it is equally necessary to be able to highlight and promote these skills to others. Participants were able to spot some of the specific leadership and management skills employers are looking for, and also see how to demonstrate them in all aspects of the recruitment process, from submitting a CV through to interview or assessment centre.

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Rachael Roberts on “Marketing your Leadership and Management Skills”

Following Rachael’s session, the participants were given an opportunity to network and get to know each other over lunch & refreshments, before resuming with the third session of the day. Delivered by Dr. Alison Riley (Enterprise Education Manager – University of Sheffield Enterprise), this workshop allowed the researchers to develop and practise different negotiation strategies and tactics for conflict resolution. The session aimed to help students to identify what constitutes a successful negotiation and associated behaviours.

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“Negotiation: develop and practice different negotiation strategies and tactics for conflict resolution” – Alison Riley

The final session of the day was delivered by Anna Nibbs (Enterprise Education Developer – University of Sheffield Enterprise). Her workshop introduced participants to the different ways of problem solving and creative thinking originally developed by Edward de Bono, an expert in creativity and lateral thinking. Various interactive exercises were used to demonstrate and utilise de Bono’s techniques to analyse a variety of problems and scenarios, taking a 360-degree view and making sure researchers consider all aspects of their decisions fully.

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Lateral & Parallel Thinking: Alternative ways of problem solving and creative thinking – Anna Nibbs

The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, with everyone indicating the need for similar sessions in the future. We are currently working on the feedback from this first event, with the aim of developing something similar but on a larger scale, considering the large number of people who contacted us and indicated their interest in participating.

Many thanks to everyone who attended, also to our four speakers, and hopefully we will see you soon at other Leadership Development events!