STEM leadership programme

This transformative programme is based on many years of experience working with scientific and research-focused organisations, and provides specialist leadership training for scientists and researchers taking the step into management.

Delivered as a series of carefully tailored modules, the programme builds the people skills and confidence vital to translating success in the lab into success as a scientific leader.

Research driven syllabus

The syllabus of the STEM Leadership Programme is evidenced-based, and informed by hundreds of interviews and conversations with scientists, as well as the best peer-reviewed science. There is a special focus on negotiating the apparent contradiction between the traits and skills associated with success as a scientist, and those that are most important for success as a leader. (See the evidence)

By pinpointing the moments when this tension becomes most apparent, we have developed processes, tools and techniques to address these issues head-on. The result is a course underpinned by research insight and practical understanding that speaks directly and credibly to scientists’ experiences.

Bespoke training spanning three domains

Leadership & management

Emotionally intelligent leadership is a learnable skill, and there are many tools, techniques and processes that you can use to help you get the best from those you manage.

Personal impact & comms

The importance of soft skills is often underestimated in scientific environments, but great communication is vital to maximising your influence and visibility as a leader.

Strategy, politics & resilience

Long-term vision, negotiating relationships and power, and coping with setbacks are vital skills for advancing your science and the interests of your team.

"I learned new skills that are not taught in graduate training, but are quite critical for the success of those managing large teams and programs. This program equipped me with the necessary tools to excel in my new role and face challenges with confidence."
Dr Danielle Roubinov, Associate Professor
University of North Carolina

Typical learning outcomes

The content of our STEM leadership training is always adapted to meet the specific needs of your delegates and organisation, but a typical set of learning outcomes might look something like this:

  • Develop an authentic and flexible leadership style
  • Build confidence tackling difficult issues with their manager, colleagues and team members
  • Increase emotional intelligence
  • Improve communication skills
  • Increase their presence and positive impact on those around them
  • Boost their ability to navigate the political landscape
  • Become better at thinking strategically
  • Widen their networks and influence
  • Increase their confidence and resilience

Example content

1. Leadership & management

1.1 Engagement and Emotional Intelligence

  • Engagement science – understanding engagement of teams and motivating individuals
  • The top 12 predictors of staff engagement
  • The 12 categories and 4 domains of emotional intelligence
  • The link between emotional intelligence and effective leadership
  • Ways to develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence in yourself and your team

1.2 Leading and managing your team

  • Management – what does it mean and how do we do it day to day?
  • Leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Developing a flexible leadership style
  • Managing up – working productively with your manager and senior colleagues

1.3 Coaching and mentoring your team

  • Setting clear objectives for yourself and your team
  • Giving and receiving effective feedback
  • Coaching models
    Skills practice
  • Carrying out an effective one-to-ones

2. Personal impact & comms

2.1 Personal impact and influence

  • Circle of control – identifying what you can control and influence, and what you can’t do anything about.
  • Discovering your natural influencing style.
  • Developing a flexible influencing style to increase your impact
  • Adapting your tone and body language to create the impressions you choose.
  • The difference between intention and behaviour.
  • Increasing your visibility

2.2 Communicating and presenting with impact

  • How to present yourself confidently
  • Using your voice to create impact
  • How to ‘fake it till you make it’
  • Delivering clear and impactful messages

2.3 Different types of challenging conversations

  • Different types of tricky conversations and how to manage them
  • Managing challenging attitudes and behaviour
  • Communication skills during challenging conversations

2.4 Handling challenging emotions

  • The role of words, tone and body language
  • Identify your own trigger points and how to manage these
  • How to gain the other person’s attention / buy-in
  • Five communication styles and which ones are used in different situations

2.5 Preparing for your own challenging conversation

  • Questions to consider before you have a challenging conversation
  • Anticipating the other person’s responses and how you’ll respond
  • Optional skills practice using scenarios written for your own organisation

3. Strategy, politics & resilience

3.1 Strategy

  • Where would you like to get to, and how are you going to get there?
  • Thinking strategically about your career
  • Planning strategically for yourself and your team
  • Working ‘on the business’ as well as ‘in the business’
  • Seeing the bigger picture

3.2 Widening your influence and network

  • Power and politics
  • Understanding the political landscape and how to influence it
  • Increasing your personal profile at work
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes
  • Making the most of networking opportunities at conferences etc.

3.3 Developing personal resilience

  • Definition of resilience and wellbeing.
  • How are you resilient? Understanding own resilience through the Cooper/Robertson Questionnaire (completed before the course)
  • Managing your energy throughout the working day and week
  • Responding to change and how this is linked to resilience

3.4 Building Emotional Resilience – Dealing with pressure and overcoming setbacks

  • Reframing and Cognitive Restructuring – identifying thinking patterns to deal with setbacks positively:
    • ABC thinking
    • Multiple perspectives
  • Making the most of your own time – switching off and recharging
  • Mindfulness
  • Developing ‘bounce-back’


Optional coaching and assessment tools

As well as training, a STEM leadership programme can also include psychometrics to help develop self-awareness along with one-to-one coaching sessions.

We use a range of psychometrics and personality assessments to help individuals understand their strengths, style and development needs in an objective way.

Gallup’s respected CliftonStrengths® tool is a popular option, as well as an Emotional Intelligence 360° assessment, but our consultants are qualified in delivering and coaching on a range of tools, including MBTI, Belbin Team Roles, DISC and Firo-B amongst others.

“We’ve worked with STEM Leadership Academy to build our scientists’ project management skills, with a focus on improving communication and collaboration. The training and coaching were carefully tailored to our needs, and were extremely well received by the team. We’ve seen a marked improvement as a result of the programme, and our scientists have become much more aware of the value of building and maintaining relationships to the success of their projects.”
Craig Mills
CEO, Vizzuality

Track record

The STEM Leadership Academy grew out of twenty years of experience working with scientific and research organisations in the Cambridge STEM Cluster and beyond, helping to develop a generation of new science and research leaders.

Over that period, our consultants have delivered training for thousands of people from some of the biggest names in British and global science. Click here to read some of the feedback we have received.   

Find out more or get a quote

The STEM Leadership Programme can be delivered as classroom training at your lab or office in the UK, or live online as virtual training worldwide.

For an idea of pricing or to arrange a call with one of our consultants to discuss the programme in more detail, please get in touch with some basic information:

  • A rough idea of how many participants need the training
  • Whether you want the training delivered at your premises or virtually
  • The leadership experience levels of potential participants 

Contact us via: 
call: 0845 226 0624