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Impact Of Leadership In Science

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Leadership is an exercise that boost the efforts of attempt of other people in attainment of success through social influence. Leadership develops from social influence. There are no particular personality traits, attributes or title that defines an effective leadership. Leadership requires a vision of success which is a goal so that they can influence others by maximizing the efforts to turn a vision into a reality.(1) . Leadership is about motivating people to do things which they have never considered themselves of doing. A good leadership can lead the organization towards success by thinking strategically on goals and strategy, granting resources and assessing the outcome. Leadership generates eagerness, loyalty and respect among people. Leadership is not about working on the top powerful position rather it is about guiding the person in powerful position.(2). Some define key characteristics of leadership is being able to present a vision which is the ability to see a big picture, empathy for society and peoples, self-confidence, determination to change or most importantly to start initial necessary change from themselves so that they make others willing to change for good cause. Most importantly, courage is necessary to take risks for the initiation of improvement in the people`s lives. Moreover, leader should be encouraging, supporting and courageous. That makes other willing to bring out the best in them which is more like challenging themselves to make better today than yesterday. Rewarding those who are doing better is also a characteristics of a good leadership.(3)

“Leadership is understanding the social situation finding its needs and working to meet the need of that situation.” Philip Selznick. Leadership is an important element as it finds the solution for numerous complications. It brings out the enthusiasm in all member of a group to attain goals together which would have been impossible by a single person. It brings many people together who have common goals and thoughts. To make it possible leaders informs about the goals to the people which attracts the interested one towards him and he motivates the group member for common goal uses the energy of that group members to attain that goal. Leadership is necessary in everyplace and everywhere. Different situation requires different types of leadership. In context of science, scientist achieve defined goals of shaping the behaviors of others without even making the group of people to work.

To be a leaders there are many things that they have to perform. At first, they have to make decision, brainstorm the strategies this is they think ahead, assess issues that are likely to happen. It is like preparing for the situation ahead that is likely to happen later. It is more like starting out for climbing the mountain, they have to think ahead and prepare for the necessary tools and equipment, prepare the route, study about the pitfalls and alternatives and finalize where they will wind up. There are lots of helping hands behind a successful leaders. In order to achieve goals compromise is a common activity among leaders when they attempt to confirm a delicate negotiation. They have to accept the request of others, manage and solve out the conflict in the workplace sometime create conflict in a healthy way so that it brings the better solution to a problem. They value the good work of the subordinates by giving rewards and motivating. In order to make a clear goals they give voice about the vision. If they create any problems while carrying out their vision they go for counselling and issue statement about decision. If they have to advocate about them and their action they take stands. A goal of a leader is accomplished because of the support and help from the followers. To consider the attainment of the goal with the help and support from the people as followers in the leadership activity the followers must be the willing individuals rather than victims, slaves or trussed puppets.(4)

There are not any defined capacities or qualities of good leaders. However, a leader with the following characteristics can be considered as an authentic leader.

  • Being present: He is aware of the moment, connects with others, environment around people and present situation.
  • Whole system awareness: He can see the big picture which is vision, give attention to details, and understand what is in the system what are interconnected with the system.
  • Personal power: He can use the power to influence people to do activities that makes the world even better place.
  • Suspension and letting go: He can analyze the situation, problems that may create and to postpone those activities.
  • Compassion: He shows kindness and acceptance towards the hard work of the people.
  • Dealing with dualities and paradoxes: He can think of the situation through multiple perspectives.
  • Intention aligned with higher purpose: He has a passion for activity that has the greatest need in the world.
  • Whole self-awareness: He knows what he is doing and observes owns activities from others point of view.
  • Sense of humor: he is a light-hearted person. He does not takes others activities personally.(5)

After the capacities of the authentic leaders, leaders follow any one style from the following five leadership approach which are as follows;

  • a. Trait approach: Those leaders who follow this approach rely on their intrinsic qualities, intelligence, self –confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability. They are mainly focused on leaders and does not take the situation into account.
  • b. Skills approach: These leaders have technical skill, conceptual skills and human skills. They have problem solving skills, social judgemental skills high IQ, experience from many results, motivation to tackle problems, committed for a good social cause. Scientists are leaders are trained on skill approach and they are best at it.
  • c. Style approach: Different leaders have different style of leadership. Style approach is further divided into six leadership type. They are as follows,
  1. Commanding leadership: They want their followers to do as they say. It is usually useful when there is a problem in employees and crisis to change.
  2. Visionary leadership: They explain their vision to the people and organize people to achieve the goal. It is suitable when a clear direction is necessary.
  3. Affiliative leadership: They keep the people in their first priority, create peace and develop emotional attachment. It works best when there is a need to motivate team members in stressful situation.
  4. Democratic leadership: They make people participate and apply their suggestion in decision making. It is useful when there is a need for everyone`s involvement in decision making.
  5. Pacesetting leadership: They keep high expectation from others and want others to perform like them. It is important to form a highly motivated and competent team to get quick results.
  6. Coaching leadership: They teach people to prepare them for future. To develop long lasting strengths in employee and to motivate them.(6)

d. Situational approach: Leaders choose different leadership styles according to the situation. They are directive and supportive. This type of leadership is mostly found among the researchers and students who are assistants to the researchers.(6)

Science is the process which is developed through the interpretation of experimental and observational data applying theories and models in a fixed logical structure. Science is based on the empirical, theoretical and practical knowledge about the natural world given by the scientists after observation, explanation and prediction of real world. Science is such a field that research and teamwork is vital. Leadership provides vision to any teamwork in science that formulates the way the team and the team members should go in order to achieve the goals. Leadership is prominent in order to lead the team to the right direction. In past scientific discoveries were made because of the willingness to search for the new answers. Knowledge and technique were passed from generation to generation in oral tradition. Person who seek for the new answer led to the research and they were their own leaders. They worked to get the answer without knowing what the answer would be. Many of the scientific discoveries not successful as they did not achieve the goals. The leadership approach of that time was trait approach till 12th century. After that scientists shifted their focus from Aristotelian natural philosophy to chemistry and biological sciences (botany, anatomy, and medicine). The scientific way traditional consideration changed to the emphasized experimentation and reason. There were not many discoveries and development during those period. Thus leadership is one of the key factor that would lead to the success of the team and the research.

But after 19th century Science became professionalized and institutionalized, it started to be incorporated in the society and its knowledge grew in the society. After that scientist adopted skills approach of leadership. Many of the scientists were successful like Nicolaus Copernicus for heliocentric model of solar system, James Clerk Maxwell developed single theory of electromagnetism, Big Bang Theory by Gorges Lemaitre. During the world war II nuclear fission developed by Otto Hahn was practically applied for radar and atom bomb development. Chien-Shiung Wu became the leader of the Manhattan Project by applying the skill approach and became successful in separating uranium metal into U-235 and U-238 isotopes by gaseous diffusion. In chemistry, scientist applied the skill approach of leadership and they studied the work of the previous scientists, the major breakthrough was the physical modelling of DNA structure by Francis Crick 1953, Miller –Urey experiment in the understanding of the basic constituent of proteins and simple amino acids. In Geology, scientists only studied about the one part like about the rocks but with the leadership that emerged from the team work they have developed plate tectonics. Now they study the Earth as a planet.

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In biology and medicine the research and science were mainly focused on the curiosity of the researcher like Louis Pasture develop Rabies vaccine and invented pasteurization to prevent the spread of disease from food. In 20th century Human genome project was successful and practical because of the team work. They applied situational approach of leadership. In ecology, scientist followed the view of nature in general (Darwin`s Theory). But later in 1930 Arthur Tansley and other developed the ecosystem ecology field with physiological concepts of energy and techniques of field biology that is still in progress and application. This was successful because of the visionary leadership. In social sciences, scientists applied the situational leadership skills to use the successful scientific method into physical science. In political science, scientists studied the behavior of the people, the king, the state, the government superintendents, courtiers, enemies, invaders and cooperation in group in interactive and linear way and they were successful in determining how the political world works. They were successful in their study and research which is still in use to make the comparative political analysis, peace studies and conflict analysis. In terms of linguistics science, scientist only studied the differences between the different languages. But now that way of study has been changed and scientists work in a team to determine how languages change over time by the collaboration between linguistics and other disciplines.

In recent decades, science has moved forward and has advanced in several ways. People of modern age are almost dependent on the science and its discoveries. These success are possible because the leader in the different sector of science applied various leadership skills when and where necessary to lead people to such discoveries. Science has advanced in every field like in physics, chemistry, biology, geology, economics, astronomy, medicine, ecology, psychology, sociology, anthropology etc. The credit of development is because of the leadership and teamwork. Of course the science is a research and innovation the top talented person are believed to perform better. Leaders are scientists who have completed many research, learned from the experience and result, have enormous knowledge about the subject, studied the subject deeply. They have understood the possible conflict that might arise between the team members, within team. They understand the conflict in the workplace and deal with it, manage conflict as a leader so that none of them have to lose like win-win for everyone. Though there might be the conflict they motivate and encourage everyone so that the team becomes productive to get the fruitful results and achieve goals. They have studied the environmental and social condition and understand the problems and outlined the solution. Main thing is that they develop the vision of the solution. In order to get the solution he alone is not enough, so that he presents his vision to get the attention and enthusiasm from the possible followers and team members who have the similar goals. Study has shown that the scientists are determined, consistent, have skills, good communication approach with the team members and other people. Now a days, scientists work in various government and non-government they certainly have positional power and develop numerous network which they can use to inspire and motivate followers. Scientist are most importantly determined persons they rely on facts and experiment. They have developed certain power of influence with their works and contribution to the society. Nowadays, scientists create and maintain vision that can inspire several people. Overall nowadays scientists follow skilled and situational approach of leadership with a well study and analysis of the effect of their act and activities, others person point of view.

Moreover, networking is the foundation of new innovation. Like Prof. Nicki Packer who was a talented person was looking after her children after being mother leaving the science and research field. But due to her talent, passion for research and due to her earlier work she had founded many network she was able to come back to the research and played an important part in being a leader and a team member to establish Australian Proteome Analysis Facility. She is working on the application of glycans, their roles on cancer, therapeutics and microbial infection. She is an example of skill approach leadership that led to such discoveries and innovation. She is a leading leader in bioinformatics and biochemistry.

Another perfect example of leadership approach that lead to the foundation of innovation is Assoc. Prof. Joanne Jamie. She used the soft communication skills respecting their ethics and moral to influence lots of Aboriginal people to take and promote education through coaching leadership. Aboriginal people wanted their children to study like other children but their tradition and culture did not allow that. In such situation Joanne Jamie gave vision to them. She used the real situation to change the perception of those people to go to the hospital. She inspired and influenced them for the good cause. She is working in the discoveries of the medicine. She studied the environment of the Aboriginal people, their problems and went to help them with the vision respecting them. She did not let to arise the ethical issues as she respected their way and culture. Ethics is an important part while considering the innovation and research. She is a successful leader leading an inspiring innovation. It shows that scientists regard question about values and science is relevant to make moral and ethical decision.

Ethics are the important part in research and innovation. One has to responsible while conducting the research. They should not harm any living beings to get their work complete neither they should forget the moral dimensions. If a leaders is thinks ethically and works on the same way then he has many opportunities for the effectiveness of his work. He gets support from every place and everyone.

Another important trait of leaders in science that lead to the success in the innovation of science field is Building and maintaining of the team. Science is about research, skill and talent. It is a competitive field as well. Every day there is news about the new discoveries and new way to see a certain phenomenon. In such environment to get the top result in no time leaders must chose his team members wisely those who share the common goals and vision and are, motivated towards the goal. To get the best people as the team member one has to have good method to influence them. They have to engage proactively with the people, should keep their ego aside, make the team interactive so that opinion from different points of view can be understood, show they empathy , build coalitions and alliances with the team members, provide reciprocation, encourage commitments and consistency, building trust and relationship with the team members, led by example and being influenceable. Dr. Amin Besehsti used such approach to get the best team members in his big data project. He is Successful in his vision.

To be successful the nature of the vision of leaders play an important roles in achieving the goals. That is their vision should be achievable. It should have the characteristics of SMART. It should be specific so that the probability of attaining success will increase. The goal of the vision should be measurable that is it should state the time when it is going to complete. The goal should be attainable that is realistic, with the investment of time money, effort it could be achievable. The goal should be relevant to the field, research and the goal of vision. Time is everything, so the work to achieve the goal should be timed. Deadline to the goal should be set, and the work that needs to be done within the deadline should be completed in time rather than procrastinating. After applying all the smart rules in vision it will be easier to attain clear and realistic goals.

In the other hand, Scientist are human too. To reach to the conclusion, they make mistakes while analyzing and recording data or they even fake data which is a scientific fraud. But these fraud and errors can be pointed out by its principal of verification of independent replication of data. It’s the beauty of science. Thus, Leadership is very crucial in science. Leaders in science should have tremendous amount of patience to understand the details. Science can help to predict about the outcomes of the various actions which provide the deeper view of the consequences of the actions of our choices. Science can help to respect values and make moral and ethical decisions. Science has its own importance. Absolute honesty is necessary about the obtained data in science. On resolving logical contradictions intellectual honesty is necessary. Science is such a field where new evidences are common, so for the contradictory evidences scientist should be open and ready to modify their ideas. These are considered as the important values in scientist to progress science.(7). Negotiation is also crucial part in research to get the resources for research, to fit, support and to get the strategic position for personal and career development. Negotiation can help both the researcher and the research institution. For organization negotiation can help to prevent further negotiation which could arise due to the perceptions of injustice or dissatisfaction after establishing structures and systems that are comprehensible and transparent to researcher. While for the researcher it can led the organization to act more flexible and efficient as well as organization can facilitate for relieving the fear and worries of speaking out and initiating behaviors. This could be fruitful to work cooperatively between the researcher and research institution or organization(8)

Hence, to conclude leadership is of various types and different types of leadership approach is suitable in different situation. Leadership is an ability to influence relation or behavior of other people.(9) Now, the scientific ideas and knowledge are shared all over the world right after the finding of such ideas which is possible because of the good leadership in different branch of science. Leadership role brought science to this position today. The vision and thinking presented by the leaders are inspiring and motivating that grabs the attention and interest of many peoples. Unlike previous forms of science where the leaders researched because of their own personal interest. Nowadays, leaders research in their field after understanding the need and situation of the society. So that their work can at least minimize the certain existing problems. The right direction provided by the right leadership in the scientific field lead to the innovation in scientific fields. The achievement in science is the result of the good leadership. Leadership skills are developed over time they are not gifted. Leaders develop their distinct character of honesty, integrity, self-confidence, inspiring qualities, committed, passionate, good communicator, creative and innovative and showing empathy. Leaders have directed towards innovation after learning, teaching, observing, practicing and training nurturing and developing their vision.(10)


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  12. What are the characteristics of a good leader?(Quo Vadis?). (2012). Clinical Chemistry, 58(12), 1736.

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Impact Of Leadership In Science. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
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