Continuing her occasional series, “survive and thrive”, Katie Hoare from Careers Network explores a key skill sought after by employers in the post-COVID-19 world. It’s likely that you are already developing and using these highly transferable skills in your research.
During a March 2021 PG Skills workshop, UoB PGR alum Rob Pilbrow provided a useful definition of each of these three inter-connected skills. Persuading is the ability to convince others to take a desired viewpoint or action; negotiating is the ability to discuss and reach a mutually satisfactory agreement; and influencing is the ability to effectively persuade and negotiate.
It is also important to emphasize what these skills are not. Proper use of persuading, negotiating and influencing should NOT be confrontational or antagonistic. It is not about arguing, forcing your will, harassing, pestering or using a power imbalance. Applying these skills should result in a positive, supportive, beneficial and evidence-based discussion, underpinned by an understanding of the person or people being addressed.
Ahead of running the Virtual Consultancy Challenge in 2021, Katie Hoare from Careers Network spoke to some of the previous participants to find out what they learnt and whether they enjoyed it.
In spring 2020, as lockdown hit, postgraduate researchers from across the University and the globe were gaining valuable professional skills as well as work experience as consultants, and they were doing so completely online via the Virtual Consultancy Challenge. The Virtual Consultancy Challenge is an online self-access training programme and competition where inter-disciplinary teams of postgraduate researchers work together in virtual teams to solve their “client’s” real-life challenge.
Whenever you start something new, whether that’s a new job or joining a membership society for the first time, there’s a lot of learning to do. What are the requirements? What are the expectations? Do I have the equipment and/or the skills that I need? Where can I find out all this stuff? Much of this learning is set out for you through formal channels, but often we learn some of the most valuable information informally, stumbling upon it while looking for something else, or while gossiping with a peer.
A research programme is no different (you probably saw where I was going with that!). And in 2020, there are new ways of working for us all.
In July, Leanne Campbell, a current PGR in the College of Social Sciences, went to the Lake District for a course on team building. Here, she tells us what she did and what she learnt.
Earlier this summer I took part in the Coniston PGR trip as part of the PGCARMS programme. This is an advanced transferable skills module which focuses on team skills and collaborative working. This may seem a strange choice given that my doctorate in Education is essentially a solo endeavour, but that’s exactly why it appealed to me; doctoral research can be isolating and pretty lonely at times, so I jumped at the chance to do something interactive, learn new skills and to meet new people, and of course spending a week in the beautiful Lake District was also a bonus!
At Coniston we were split into two teams and each day brought new challenges, from paddle boarding to rock climbing to navigating our way back from the village pub in the pitch black at night which definitely tested our skills as a team! Each activity had a collaborative element and at the end of each day we were asked to reflect on what we had learned about being part of a team. We also had a session on the different Belbin team roles and reflected on our own Belbin profile and how it fitted in with the others in our team. Continue reading “There’s no ‘I’ in Team – but there is in Coniston!”
The relationship between a PGR and their supervisor is unlike any other relationship that you might encounter in professional or personal life (although it has been compared to that between a physician and patient).
A successful relationship can benefit both parties, and nurture a PGR towards a brilliant thesis and blossoming into a highly effective researcher with all the skills and behaviours (both research and transferable) that entails. What can you do, as a PGR, to increase the chances of building a super relationship with your supervisor? Continue reading “SUPER-visory relationships”