Leadership Program

Atlanta BEST Program: Leadership Series Pilot

YEAR 3 (2015-2016), Cohort 3

For this Leadership Series, we decided to take a different approach based on lessons learned through the first 2 years in implementing a Leadership Series with previous cohorts.

Thing we changed:

  • Have one main facilitator lead all of the sessions
  • Integrate leadership topics throughout the series, instead of stand-alone sessions
  • Incorporate a team project to not just role play or simulate leadership issues, but enable the use of real time examples to work through as the project teams progress 


  • Starts May 2016-July 2016
  • 28 Trainees: 4 teams of 7
  • Project Topic/Problem Presented: How can universities better help PhD students and Postdocs in the biomedical areas explore and prepare for a variety of careers?
  • 6 sessions, each 4 hours. First 3 sessions will focus on introducing leadership concepts, then teams will have 3 weeks off to work on their projects. Teams will return for the last 3 sessions, topics will be driven by issues and challenges the teams encounter
  • Facilitated by Dr. Wes Wynens, Georgia Tech Director of the Leadership Education and Development Program for Student Affairs. He has 20 years’ experience focusing on adaptive leadership and the effects of challenge and loss on leadership capacity


Intro to Leadership, 4 hours

  • Intro to the leadership series
    • Homework and reading will be assigned, they will be encouraged to meet informally
  • Introduce the W model for design thinking
  • Demystify Leadership Activity

Team Dynamics and Performance, 4 hours

  • 5 dysfunctions of a team
  • Bring Birkman reports, focus on interpersonal need
  • Teams will be formed to be as diverse as possible according to Birkman scores
  • Team Building Activity to get to know team dynamics
  • Outline the team project assignment and set expectations

Culture and Managing Conflict, 4 hours

  • Cultural differences in leadership
  • Hidden bias
  • Gender leadership is not what you think

Intro to Coaching, 4 hours

  • Introduce coaching concepts and techniques
  • Activity: Trainees get in pairs and practice coaching/being coached
    • Identify a strength to amplify and weakness to address
    • Practice coaching each other on a particular issue

Coaching and Project Teams Issues, 4 hours

  • Continuation of coaching principles and practice
  • Layering topics in as need as team progress

Leadership planning, 4 hours

  • Introduce the concept of a T-shape action planActivity: Have trainee explore these questions
  • Activity: Have trainee explore these questions
    • What leadership legacy do you want to leave?
    • What are the skill you want to work on to make that happen?
    • Set goals around what experiences they need so they can grow out these skills