Evidencing Leadership and Management within a PhD

By Dr Paul Seldon

As researchers we are used to talking about our research to different audiences, explaining the ideas and findings. Often we are less able to see the wider value in our practices and how these can be translated to other roles and positions.

This became very relevant for me when having completed a PhD and several post-doctoral positions I wondered if I had relevant experience that I could evidence to gain full membership of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). The challenge was to examine my academic progress through a leadership and management perspective. Looking through the activities of my PhD I found evidence in the five areas below.

  • Research vision – knowledge progression and impact, understanding of different research areas and importance of working across interdisciplinary boundaries,
  • Leading a research project – meeting deadlines and miles stones, delivering project deliverables and generating outputs. Upward trajectory in quality of research and innovation. Challenging, original and productive research. Outstanding independent research, with impact in the field. Problem solving and creativity, innovation and application
  • Development – Training of others, process, technique, subject expertise
  • Performance review – report generation, peer review publication
  • Finance – negotiation of quotes, use of ordering and invoicing systems, managing a research budget

The process of examining my research experience allowed me to identify and translate these into the leadership and management context. As a result of this I was approved for full membership of the CMI, this is and has been very useful for career progression.

Thinking about the examples above and other possible areas, what evidence could you provide of leadership and management. Other potential opportunities might include:

  • Leadership – Organisation of peer activities, Public engagement – Outreach? Innovation? Commercial awareness
  • External visibility – volunteering, job placements and internships – leading? Supporting others?
  • Development of excellence – Design and leading of Undergraduate research projects
  • Finance – Application for funding, success securing funding, for example Research Community Funding from the Graduate School
  • Self-development – undertaking Management and leadership training

Leadership and management may not be on your mind now, but in a few years your career progression may depend on providing evidence and taking the time to undertake appropriate activities is a worthwhile investment.