I will use what I learned from this Mini-Course to help make me a better manager in my current lab environment and when I eventually start my own lab.

Genevieve Housman

Postdoctoral Fellow

Strategies for Successful Team Management

Team leadership plays a key role in driving success in the lab and workplace. To thrive as team leaders in these settings—whether in academia, industry, policy, or other science-related careers—it is paramount for graduate students and postdocs to know how to manage and evaluate a team of people with diverse talents, skillsets, and personalities.

In this course, you will learn strategies for supervising employees on a team as well as students, interns, and other temporary workers who may be team members. You also will sharpen your understanding of how a team leader can function successfully within the larger organization of which her or his team is one part. Strategies and tactics for successfully managing a team working virtually (in whole or in part; all the time and sporadically; domestically and internationally) are interwoven throughout the six-part course.

The course consists of lectures, case studies, problem scenario discussions, and experiential activities delivered in virtual classroom format through six 2-hour live Zoom sessions. Asynchronous (pre-recorded) lectures will support each 2-hour session and will be made available approximately one week prior to the associated session.

Dates: September 13, 15, 20, & 22; 9 AM – Noon
Course Capacity: 30
Course Fee: $10


SESSION 1: Monday, September 13, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 1 focuses the ideal employee: one who is both able (knows what to do and how to do it) and willing (is motivated). Skills covered include delegation, delivering positive feedback, acknowledgement, and reward. We examine how leaders facilitate team development during initial stages of team formation. We review how to support a high-performing team member in-person and virtually.

SESSION 2: Wednesday, September 15, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 2 deals with the employee usually experienced as the second easiest to manage: the person who is willing but unable. This employee usually presents an attitude of openness to learning, enthusiasm, and motivation. However, he or she lacks the “know how” (skills and knowledge) to perform successfully. Skills included are training, instruction, job aids, and subject matter feedback.  We cover students, interns, and temporary workers in this session.

SESSION 3: Monday, September 20, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 3 focuses a very challenging employee: the individual who has skills and knowledge to perform successfully but who lacks motivation (willingness). We review how team leaders can diagnose lack of motivation, often manifested as having a “bad attitude.”  We cover how to establish and reinforce commitment to combat sluggishness, lack of progress, and torpor.  We conclude session 3 by examining “social loafing,” in which capable team members take on the work of non-performers to avoid team failure.

SESSION 4: Wednesday, September 22, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Session 4 examines the employee who is both unwilling and unable. This employee lacks the skills and knowledge to perform successfully and does not want to invest the effort to obtain that “know how.” Skill building centers on how conducting difficult conversations, establishing limits and nonnegotiable deadlines, and terminating employment. We conclude our 4-part course by examining the team leader’s relationship to her or his direct supervisor or supervisors and lateral relationships with colleagues in the organization.


This course is useful for almost all facets of day to day life, but is especially useful for mentoring in the workplace.

Juan Vazquez

PhD Student

Workshop Instructor

Arnie Aronoff, PhD

Arnie Aronoff, PhD

Adjunct Faculty, Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice; Adjunct Faculty, Master of Science in Analytics (MScA), The University of Chicago

Dr. Aronoff is an organizational development consultant and educator with over 25 years of experience helping organizations improve performance. He has also taught management and team dynamics at the graduate student level for many years. Dr. Aronoff has expertise in health care, higher education, government, and social service sectors.  His specialties include team dynamics, especially at the executive and director levels. Additionally, Dr. Aronoff specializes in leadership development, organizational change, performance management, strategic planning, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion.

Follow Us