The benefits of leadership training for career growth

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Participation in the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Mid-Career Leadership Institute was invaluable in navigating challenges and opportunities experienced by behavioral scientists at key mid-career transitions. Professionals are expected to take on more responsibilities at mid-career, often with minimal guidance and/or relevant training in the requisite leadership skills. The SBM Leadership Institute provided concrete practical strategies for managing time, work email, planning/goal setting, and conflict resolution. The purpose of this commentary is to review the impact of the SBM Leadership Institute on new leadership roles obtained by three SBM Leadership Fellows. Practices adopted as a result of the Leadership Institute will be discussed (e.g., right sizing the workload, “inbox zero,” starting with priority work, and single tasking). The use of these strategies resulted in increased productivity and reduced work stress. Furthermore, one-on-one executive career coaching and participation in our learning community cultivated the direct, effective communication skills needed to take on new leadership roles/projects (e.g., transitioning to department chair, running for SBM board, launching ACSM Exercise is Medicine On Campus program). The leadership projects helped to push Fellows out of their comfort zones and provided excellent opportunities for networking and increased involvement in organizations and professional societies. In sum, the SBM Leadership Institute helped instill the confidence and focus needed to surmount midcareer obstacles and accelerate into the next career phase.


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