Being a professor is amazing: a lot of academic freedom to investigate and teach very interesting subjects and a considerable and secure salary until retirement. However, the way in which to obtain this position can be pretty hard and more than 90% of all PhD holders find a job *outside* of academia.
If you want to become a professor how do you qualify?
In the US postdocs are often “lab rats” who primarily create experimental data. In Europe, they have more management functions. They are in a sandwich position between the crazy professor and the demanding PhD students, technicians, bachelor and master students and industry partners. They need a complex set of leadership and management skills to perform well. However, at most universities there is no specific leadership training to prepare postdocs for their current management functions – although these skills are desperately needed when they become the next generation of junior group leaders in academia or industry.
When young scientists start thinking about leading a research group they feel overwhelmed by the number of transferable skills they have to learn. There is now considerable agreement that young scientists should develop their leadership skills. To make a good start it is important to get an idea of which skills are important and where to begin.