This residential module was focussed on knowing oneself. We undertook the seemingly necessary personality trait profiling, identified our key strengths and braced ourselves for the results of our 360 degree review. These revealed few surprises, but dispelled some stereotypes. We learned that an introvert, for example, can be pretty good at public speaking. An extrovert can be reenergised by strolls in the park, meditation and Tai Chi. The key is that we need to know these things about ourselves so that we can structure our work patterns to give the most and also get the most from our profession. It was useful to also to better understand the psychological approaches to personalities and their relevance to leadership.
A most useful insight was to discover that females have the propensity to be over-mentored…when really they can do much better with other senior people better sponsoring or advocating for them on their journey towards breaking the so-called glass ceiling. This requires creating a “critical mass” of senior female academics at UQ. This cannot happen without senior men being aware of the need to have more senior women and purposefully sponsoring women in their advancement.
We entered the first module of three in the program with some lingering questions that remain unanswered. Is leadership different in academia to other sectors? Does leadership in academia equate to executive style (i.e., admin) roles mostly? What are the differences and similarities between men and women in their leadership styles and career advancement challenges?
We are ready to forge a new path to achieve our goals when needed. We owe it to ourselves and to the large number of excellent young females that are yet to make it down the leaky pipeline to senior academic and leadership positions in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).
Wish us luck! (Though we get the strong sense this will have very little to do with luck…).