Building a high-performing team in your institution or lab takes time and dedication. To help with this challenging task, SfN has created a new Career Skills Toolkit to help members enhance their leadership, management, and team-building skills. This resource provides informative steps to help you and your colleagues grow and exhibit your professional skills, efficiently collaborate with team members, and attain leadership roles.

The toolkit includes a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation that is ready to share with an audience, such as institutional staff or an SfN chapter, or to use as a resource for yourself.

“The content and skills discussed in the toolkit are relevant for any leader or manager, regardless of work environment,” said SfN Councilor Kenneth Maynard, former chair of the Professional Development Committee. “They can be applied by anyone seeking to improve their impact in the workplace.”

Inside the Toolkit


Leadership skills in the workforce need to be strengthened and prioritized, according to 89 percent of executives surveyed in the 2016 Global Human Capital Trends report. In order to achieve leadership status, basic skills that one should obtain include integrity, vision, and communication. While some leadership skills can be learned while in graduate school or pursuing postdoctoral fellowships, many require additional training.

SfN Councilor Magda Giordano, a member of one of the SfN committee that helped create the toolkit, emphasized that leadership skills are beneficial for everyone. “In almost all professionals, we need to interact with other people to achieve our goals,” Giordano said. “It is important to reflect on our strengths and on the skills that we need to acquire.”


Strong management skills, such as problem solving, planning, and organizing, are necessary to support a team. Management skills are different from leadership skills, as they play a more direct role in helping employees achieve their goals in a timely manner.

Jennifer Stripay, a member of SfN’s Online Programs Steering Committee, said the toolkit is especially important for those in STEM fields. “Scientists need to be well versed not only in experimental design and critical interpretation, but also in communication, team management, finance, etc.,” she said. “Many of these skills are gained passively throughout the course of scientific training, but their active refinement is essential to long-term career success.”

Team Building

Encouraging collaboration among employees creates a positive work environment. Open communication helps individuals in the workforce trust in one another and develop productive relationships that achieve higher results for the team.

“As the world today is more connected, globally, working in effective teams is becoming imperative,” Maynard said. “The messages in this toolkit are key principles and cross all industries and cultures.”

The Career Skills Toolkit serves as a resource for all professionals in both identifying their skills and talents and working to enhance areas that need improvement. Access the Career Skills Toolkit on Neuronline today.