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Research skills & transferable skills

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The leadership training program, delivered by True Colours, consists of two modules that are organized independently from each other.

Throughout this first module we aim to support and strengthen the personal leadership skills of you as a postdoc within a context of challenges. We also investigate how you can really have an impact, how you can get people to go along. We learn that influencing effectively starts with you: you can consciously choose how you want to deal with others, instead of responding automatically. You learn to connect with the other before influencing.
The trainer and your fellow participants will help you to reflect on your strengths and your challenges as a leader. We explore different leadership styles. We help you to become more skilled in coaching your collaborators and in solution focused communication. This will allow you to be more comfortable as a leader in handling all kinds of situations, even complex and challenging ones.

The workshop is ran by Jochen Bessemans, using interactive teaching, experiential exercises, self-reflection, and exchanging and learning from each other (both plenary and in subgroups). In addition, participants will be practising in simulations based on real-life cases (which will be asked for in an intake questionnaire) to ensure maximal transfer to the own work context. When organized online, an interactive learning environment will be ensured with a big focus on bringing tools and insights into practice.

Learning outcomes

After this first module, you are able to...

  • handle complex and delicate problems and leadership challenges in a solution focused way,
  • clearly formulate specific tasks and expectations,
  • gain insight in the qualities and pitfalls of your own personal leadership style,
  • continuously check whether the leadership style (still) corresponds with what is expedient and to adjust the style when needed,
  • establish open communication & come to clear agreements,
  • coach others and help them to find solutions without taking over,
  • support a PhD student (or master thesis student) in managing his/her PhD project (or master thesis) by using some practical tools,
  • have a clear view on your own motivation in your role as a postdoc,
  • give and receive feedback in a constructive way to take performance to a higher level,
  • be clear about your expectations and needs with respect to others.


An important part of preparing for any further professional step is becoming (more) aware of the competences you have developed and/or want to develop. In the current workshop, the following competences from the UHasselt competency overview are actively dealt with:

  • interpersonal competences:
    • assertiveness
    • leadership
    • oral communication
  • personal effectiveness:
    • flexibility
    • responsibility
    • self-confidence
    • self-development


For whom?

  • postdocs
  • min. 6, max 12 places available


  • October 04 & 05, 2021 - 9:00-17:00


  • October 04, 2021: campus Hasselt, Old Prison, green room
  • October 05, 2021: campus Hasselt, Old Prison, yellow room


  • For UHasselt participants: registration is closed since September 15, 2021.
  • For external participants: registration is closed since September 15, 2021.
  • Please register only if you are sure you can attend both days.
  • As places are limited, registering does not automatically imply that you will be able to participate. You will be notified by email after the registration deadline has passed.
  • Please cancel your registration at least one week in advance in case you cannot make it (cf. cancellation & no-show policy).



For me, it was one of the most effective trainings I followed up till now during both my period as a PhD student
and as a postdoc. During all courses I have learned new things, but now I really feel eager to use all the tips in
practice because I feel they will help me become a better postdoc.
(participant in 2021)

This training provides you with a lot of practical tools for different aspects of leadership. A lot of room is left to
apply the frameworks that are taught using case studies, role-playing and open discussions. You are encouraged to think about and share real situations (that you found tricky) to discuss with the other participants and the instructor. Listening to how others would approach a specific situation is very valuable. You gain a lot of insights into your natural leadership style, and it makes you reflect on how you can tune your style to best match a certain situation. Overall, I highly recommend this module on academic leadership for postdocs.
(participant in 2021)