At some point in my career I would like to become an advisor (or at least have some people working for me). I would like to start learning the skills to be a good advisor before becoming an advisor. Having in mind that most skills will be similar to those needed by managers outside academia:

How can I acquire the skills needed to become a good advisor before becoming an advisor?

Here's what I've thought of so far:

  • Organize congress/symposium ... (Do it within student organizations)
  • Advise students

Some background of my situations: I have recently completed a MSc in Bioinformatics (Europe) and I still haven't started a PhD, but I already have almost 2 years of experience in research in Bioinformatics and would like to keep working on this field.

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    Only one skill, learn how to choose good and right ppl, if you cannot, be careful with personalities.
    – SSimon
    Feb 8 '18 at 10:11
  • @SSimon nay tip about how to choose people?
    – llrs
    Feb 9 '18 at 8:30
  • @liopis Yes, please ask that as a separate question, you will get more upvote. and it is better question. I think you are not aware that academic advisors dont care about personality, they are highly egocentric, including me, and others I know.
    – SSimon
    Feb 9 '18 at 9:17
  • I'm not sure how to ask that question, as there are other question related in the site and I don't want to create a too broad question. But I think that academia varies a lot (as much as people do).
    – llrs
    Feb 9 '18 at 9:22
  • something like, how to consider good candidate or how to develop or train student, but ask first on META academia @Llopis in order to help you elucidate which question is appropaite and doesnt eexist yet
    – SSimon
    Feb 9 '18 at 9:27

Communication skills are very important, maybe more important than academic ones.

Stay human and be empathic. When you ask someone 'how are you' make sure you actually mean how the person is, not just the result. People need to be treated and seen as people, not as machines. Never ask judgemental questions, never say: 'I have told you so!', 'I have already shown/told that', 'why don't you know?'.
You must gain people's confidence and you can only earn it if you are open and non-judgmental.

Before becoming an advisor, it is important to improve your communication skills through activities that might be outside your curriculum: courses about public speaking are a must have, but theatre is a good and funny way for achieving this as well.

Moreover, it is important to discover if you really like being an advisor.
You could be a trainer for various small events, like a workshop.
Or you could teach school kids different topics, as a volunteer in an ONG. Even if it is not your topic, even if they are not students, you will have the experience of teaching.

  • 1
    "Never ask judgemental questions' -> I guess you've never encountered poor students who understand only a small fraction of what you say in every meeting, or non diligent students. Be honest to students, and let them know when they fail. No point leading them on. End of the day, they waste your time and theirs. Feb 8 '18 at 23:59
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    You will meet students with different cultural and academic backgrounds. Something obvious for you, might be hidden for them. You definitely loose a student when you rush to consider him/her as a waste. And if you explain the same thing, multiple times, but the student still don't get it, then you should change your explanation or your approach.
    – Newbie
    Feb 9 '18 at 0:04
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    Even that doesn't help. I've done this for decades and know when a student has no hope, and he/she is kidding him/herself. Best advice is to be honest, and put them on a non-PhD path. Feb 9 '18 at 1:01
  • @Llopis you see? the case study of ego...as I mention below your question
    – SSimon
    Feb 9 '18 at 9:19

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