About Leadership

Individuals generally get selected into leadership positions because of strong technical skills; however, they excel in these positions based on their ability to interact successfully with others and communicate in effective ways. There is a need to understand one’s self and work to develop strong competencies in others.

The comprehensive curriculum - developed by knowledgeable and successful leaders in the research administration - provides an overview and introduction to the communication and other necessary skills to lead research administration and management offices. Elements of the curriculum include personality and leadership assessments and sessions in conflict management, change, delegation, diversity communication skills and using metrics to help with team effectiveness.

Certificate Course Requirements

Leadership is comprised of one full-day workshop, six required sessions and two elective sessions. The required courses are listed below; the electives may vary from meeting-to-meeting.

Required Workshop

Full-day workshop. 

Leader of the Future OR another Leadership Development Workshop offered in a full-day setting

Content Level: All Levels

This workshop, intended for individuals new to leadership or those with an interest in enhancing their leadership abilities, includes taking a personal assessment to review leadership competencies. Topics covered will include multiple theories on leadership attributes and competencies. Discussion of admirable attributes in a leader and identification of one’s opportunities for growth. Similarly, discussion and group activities necessary for becoming a true leader in research administration.

Required Sessions

Must take six. 

Must take one session within each category. Session titles may vary from meeting to meeting.

Conflict Management

Resolving conflict is a critical part of a leader's role. Conflict occurs in every organization and with various people in differing positions. When goals and objectives do not align conflict occurs. A strong leader recognizes that conflict can be both good and bad so the effective leader deals with conflict effectively by taking a positive, courteous and non-confrontational approach.

Examples of sessions would include:

  • Dealing with Difficult People;
  • Conflict Resolution Strategies;
  • What’s My Personality Style in the Workplace; and
  • Problem Children-Addressing Performance Management Issues.

Change Management

Change is something we can always depend upon. Managing change in an effective manner is an important part of a leader’s role and a key leadership attribute. Doing this in a respectful and appreciated manner is important for simply getting things done.

Examples of sessions that would meet this requirement include any session related to change management, Leadership-Change Management-Overcoming Barriers to Implementation & Optimization, Management tools for Changing Times.


Effective Leaders use tools to be more effective and create results driven workplaces. To do this, leaders need the tools, techniques and ideas to build effective models to analyze and utilize information. Sessions will provide attendees with ideas to be more effective with information and metrics that support ideas.

Examples of sessions that would meet this requirement include introductory sessions Management Tools for changing Times;

  • Advice from the Management Gurus;
  • Teamwork: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage and How to Achieve it;
  • Negotiating Resources to be a Successful Leader in Research Administration.

Communication Skills

The ability to communicate effectively with staff, superiors and colleagues is essential, no matter what industry in which you work. Leaders and administrative managers in the digital age must know how to effectively convey and receive messages in person as well as via phone, email and social media. What skills are employers seeking? Which communication skills will help ensure your success? How do we communicate with a broad community with varied preferences in forms of communication?

Examples of session content on this topic include:

  • Everything DiSC Workplace – What’s my Personality Style?;
  • Problem Children-Addressing Performance Management Issues;
  • Soft Skills Essential to Success as a Research Administrator;
  • Conducting Effective Meetings;
  • Communicating with the Research Community at Your Institution;
  • Customer-centric Communication.

Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity awareness is an exceptionally important part of effective leadership. Respecting differences in thought creates an atmosphere of collegiality. Recognizing differences and using the diversity of thought and experience creates a great workplace environment and enhances our ability to provide effective support to a diverse research community. Qualifying sessions for this topic will look at building strength in your team through diversity and/or considerations for providing research support in a diverse research environment.

Examples of sessions that would meet this requirement include introductory sessions:

  • You Just Don’t Understand;
  • Perspective Taking in a Multi-Generational World;
  • Women Leaders in Research Administration;
  • Breaking the Glass Ceiling; Team building in a Diverse Work Environment, Providing Research Support in a Diverse Environment.


Delegation skill is the ability to effectively assign task responsibility and authority to others. In other words, delegation skill is your ability to get things done by using work and time of other people. Effective delegation is a critical survival skill for leaders and one of the most challenging skills for leaders. Letting go is difficult.

Examples of session content on this topic include:

  • Effective Delegation;
  • Setting Expectations in the Workplace and
  • Succession Planning: Training the Next Generation of Research Administrators.

Elective Sessions

Must take two.

The elective sessions will vary from meeting-to-meeting.

Topics will include those that will help in the development of leadership ability and will vary from meeting to meeting. These may include such topical areas as:

  • employee engagement;
  • workplace stress;
  • professional development of staff;
  • employee recruitment and retention;
  • mentoring;
  • considerations for employee termination;
  • and workload distribution in lean environments.

Other topics that are relevant to building leadership ability may also be considered for elective sessions.