Team Leaders - Coaching for Success


At the institutional level in large and complex institutions change is a marathon, not a sprint. It is in small organisations and at the team/laboratory head level that change can often be generated quite quickly by leaders who are focused, who know and understand their team, who support their colleagues to achieve their goals and who achieve the balance of simultaneously providing autonomy and support.

Many of the resources identified in this Toolkit for senior leaders are useful for team leaders. In particular establishing local level baseline data to guide change is essential and the relevant three key questions for a small organisation or team are again:

Key question #1 Where are the women currently?

Key question #2 Are we retaining our women scientists?

Key question #3 Are we developing our female staff? [see Data Collection]

A key role for team leaders is to diagnose and manage the pressure from above (senior leadership priorities and expectations) and the pressure from below (colleagues’ goals and expectations) to address additional key questions:

Key question #4 What factors do I have the power and resources to influence?

This is an especially important question for team leaders in organisations where the senior leaders have not developed a strong diversity commitment and strategy. It is a reality check rather than a reason for inaction – a reminder to develop, with colleagues, a strategy and tactics Engaging Men In Gender Initiatives What Change Agents Need to Know for change within a constrained environment.

Key question #5 Am I inadvertently reinforcing the status quo and fostering a competitive and heroic rather than collegial model of science research?

The exercise of leadership in teams is complex and highly contextualised but there are some key principles that are useful when framed in relation to exercising leadership in science. [see Key Dimensions of Leadership]

Women in the Science Research Workforce: Identifying and Sustaining the Diversity Advantage, was funded as an ARC Linkage project 2011-2014 (LP110200480).
Project Cis were Professor Sharon Bell and Professor Lyn Yates. The project was hosted by the University of Melbourne.