Leadership and Management Skills for Women in Higher Education



National Workshop


Leadership and Management Skills for Women in Higher Education


Sponsored by

The Association of Commonwealth Universities,

United Kingdom


(16-17 February 2018)


A National Workshop on ‘Leadership and Management Skills for Women in Higher Education’sponsored by The Association of Commonwealth Universities, United Kingdom, was organized on 16-17 February 2018 by The IIS University, Jaipur. The two-day workshop comprised of the inaugural session, seven technical sessions and the Ending ceremony. The workshop was attended by forty participants from different higher education institutions in order to discuss various dimensions of leadership and management specific to women.

DAY I (16 FEBRUARY 2018)


The first day of the workshop began with the Inaugural Session in which after invoking the blessings of God through a Saraswati Vandana and Lamp Lighting, Dr. Ashok Gupta, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor, The IIS University, Jaipur gave the welcome address and extended a warm welcome to the participants. He expressed his gratitude to ACU, UK for giving the required grant to organize the workshop. He emphasized upon the need for development of management skills among women so that their representation in leadership roles also increases in number in the higher education sector. He assured the participants that this workshop will prove to be a milestone in developing women leaders.

Prof. Raakhi Gupta, Workshop Organizer and Rector & Registrar, The IIS University, Jaipur stated that women are an untapped resource whose representation at senior management positions is alarmingly less and thus need to leverage their individual strength to acquire the competence required to perform leadership roles. Further, in line with the aforesaid scenario, she highlighted the following aims and objectives of the workshop:-

  • To analyze leadership styles, team building and working in teams.
  • To discuss issues related to balancing professional and personal lives.
  • To examine motivation and delegation strategies
  • To explore strategies for successful management of conflict



After the inaugural session, the resource person for the day Prof. Kranti Jejurkar, Former Chairperson, Women Development Cell, University of Mumbai, Mumbai began the first session ‘Leadership and its Styles in Higher Education’ through ice-breaking self-introduction of the participants.

Prof. Jejurkar discussed at length about the different leadership styles like democratic, strategic, transformational, laissez-faire, facilitative etc. that can be adopted by the women leaders to suit their needs. She emphasized that although a leadership style depends upon the culture of the organization yet democratic style is one of the most effective options. She emphasized that leadership should be result-oriented and all management activities should be carried out as per the vision and mission of the institution. In this brainstorming session, the participants were asked to examine the philosophy of higher education and identify the linkage between their selection of profession in higher education and the core values of the same. They were asked to reflect upon their leadership style keeping in mind the variety of culture, background, food habits, upbringing etc. of the team members that need to be equally respected. The responses, strengths of the participants were discussed at length to find an appropriate solution to the problems faced by them in leadership roles.


Tea Break (15 minutes)


In the second session, Prof. Jejurkar reflected on the various aspects of team building. The participants were asked to ponder upon how would they like to be managed and led in order to get an idea how to build a team. They were asked to narrate their experiences of working in different types of teams to find a solution to the problems generally faced in the scenario like being unwelcomed as a leader by men and women both, gender bias, etc.It was concluded that apart from communication, planning and decision-making activities other attributes like negotiating, motivating and building trust were essential for effective team work. Everybody agreed to the inference that as a team leader, a woman should be patient as well as assertive while tackling behavioral issues of gender stereotypes. Being accorded the status of a leader, the approach should never be one of taking revenge or teaching a lesson. It should only be of leading the team towards accomplishment of common goal. Punctuality, discipline and allowing everyone a space to give their opinion are important aspects to be considered to build a team. This was an interactive session and proved to be an enriching and enlightening experience for the participants.


  Lunch Break (30 minutes)


In the third session, all the women participants were asked to undertake personal reflection in order to recognize their own professional needs like identification of obstacles in their path of upward mobility. They were asked to ponder upon those aspects of professional life that used to affect them as a member of a team; like long working hours, unequal workload, insufficient leaves or maternity leaves, mental/ physical harassment, gender discrimination, unequal pay or admiration etc. Keeping in mind these factors, the women participants learned how to be an effective leader and not let anyone in the team face any of the above mentioned situations. Responsibility, achievement, recognition and space for personal growth were collectively identified as the key motivational factors. The future women leaders learnt that the credit for success should be given to the team members and the responsibility of failures should be borne and accepted by the leader. They learned that as a leader positive attitude, inculcating personality traits of a role model, appreciating the efforts and resilience to overcome adverse circumstances can be some of the ways to keep the team motivated. The session was very informative and proved to be a good learning experience for the participants.


  DAY II (17 FEBRUARY 2018)


The resource person for the second day Ms. Tejal Raut, Programme Manager, Piramal Foundation Initiative, Mumbai, started by asking each participant to introduce her professional profile. Through an activity of giving and taking instructions, Ms. Raut elaborated that how one set of instruction can be interpreted in several ways by the members of the team and emphasized that it is very important to give precise and clear instructions to each team member. She said that a leader should also make sure that each member clearly understands his/her role and the task to be completed. She also discussed how and to whom a work should be delegated and stressed that a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the team members should be conducted before assigning any task. She concluded that the contribution of each team member should be acknowledged and they should be given proper space to execute their work.

  Tea Break (15 minutes)


The participants were divided into six groups. Each group was asked to identify three problems related to the balance between professional and personal life and to suggest solutions for overcoming these problems. Some problems identified were stress carried over from work to home and vice-versa, family duties and responsibilities calling parallel to urgency at work, lack of family support and appreciation, time management between household, family and professional requirements, responsibilities of various relationships affecting the quality or completion of task at work, effect of stress on health and the like. Group activities like role play, chart making and verbal presentations not only made the learning process interesting but also gave a food for thought to the participants to find solutions to their respective problems. They also undertook a self- assessment on where are we (WAW) basis to whichthe resource person concluded that conflicting situations in personal and professional lives can be resolved through negotiations and open communication with family members and colleagues.


Lunch Break (30 minutes)


This session focused on positive interventions to manage stress and anxiety. The participants discussed internal conflicts and their individual mechanisms to deal with stress. Ms. Raut stated that emotional wellbeing is essential for increased productivity and motivation. Time management and setting priorities is important for managing stress and conflict.  Stress management starts with identification of personal stressors at home and workplace. She apprised the participants with relaxation strategies like indulging in physical activity, practicing mindfulness, adopting a let-go attitude, meditation and pursuing hobbies.

Tea Break (15 minutes)


Before beginning with the Ending ceremony, some case studies were discussed by the resource person as well as the participants to learn about the various problems one might face in carrying out the management responsibilities and the solutions to them. The whole experience sharing session made them relate to their respective professional and personal situations.

  The workshop concluded with the Ending Ceremony. Ms. Raut summarized the day’s events. The participants were asked to share their experience of the workshop by identifying the low and high moments and their key takeaways.


The workshop brought together female academicians from diverse disciplines to share their experiences of leading or being led at the professional front. The participants were sensitized towards the various challenges and opportunities that lie in the path of leadership and management skills for women employed in Higher Education. It also provided a broad platform for convergence of various skills in the field. We hope that the deliberations at this two-day workshop and exchange of knowledge will prove to be benchmarks in the development and grooming of leadership and management skills among the participants. The workshop proved to be an enriching mix of experiences and perspectives.

Action Plan

The participants left with a beneficial action plan and new ideas to bring about positive change in themselves to prove to the world that while deciding whom to hand over the responsibilities of a leading or managing position, women also stand at an equally deserving platform. The key takeaways of the workshop were:

(i)                 Organizing programmes in their institutions for reviewing the leadership and management skills of female faculty members.

(ii)               Enhancing communication with colleagues in terms of effective and efficient interpersonal dialogue.

(iii)             Ensuring proper alignment of goals and strategies.

(iv)             Delegating work and responsibilities as per the capabilities of the team members

(v)               Stretching the comfort zone and taking steps to recognize one’s own potential.

(vi)             Strengthening team work through positive interventions.

(vii)           Balancing professional and personal life by speaking out against injustices, explaining and requesting family for support, accepting that one cannot be perfect always and everywhere, facing any fears that hamper the growth etc.

(viii)         Motivating one self, paying attention on mental and physical health, finding time for interests and hobbies and learning the required coping strategies.