Building relationships for a successful academic career

In a recent Inside Higher Ed Careers post, John Frazee explains how building good relationships with colleagues is essential in building a successful academic career.

He argues that, while it is important to develop a great publications record and a successful approach to teaching, the importance of developing good working relationships with colleagues is often overlooked. However, not only will having good relationships with colleagues make life at work easier and more enjoyable but, within academia, your peers are the ones who sit in judgement on your work, providing feedback on your teacing and research, accepting or rejecting your conference proposals or journal articles and acting as referees for promotions or job applications. It’s obviously important, then, that those who you work with have a good sense of what you do, how you contribute to the life of the school and why you’re a valued colleague. Frazee also points out that we’re “more kindly disposed to those with whom we have a cordial relationship than to those whom we don’t know”, and I hear time and time again from frustrated researchers that getting an academic job often relies on who you know as much as what you know.

It’s surprising, then, that so few researchers place any real value on developing the kind of skills that might help them to work better with those around them. While scientists who research in teams often see the value in training which allows them to understand different working styles and different personality types, and therefore helps them to manage teams more effectively, many humanities and social science researchers don’t see how this type of training might benefit them. However, Frazee makes it clear that good relationships and an understanding of what makes others tick can be beneficial to any academic (or non-academic for that matter!) career.

To read the full article, go to:  http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2010/10/22/frazee

If you’re interested in training opportunities that might help you to get a better handle on working with colleagues or team-members, look out for ‘Working to the strengths of your personality’ coming up in February…

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