Dagmar Ehrnhoefer

Who are you?

Name: Dr. Dagmar Ehrnhöfer

Profession/Position/Enterprise: Principal Research Scientist / Head of Laboratory, AbbVie Germany GmbH&Co KG


  • you are a leader… in what context?

I lead a scientific research laboratory, which involves the daily management of 5 scientists as well as cross-functional project leadership.

  • What is most important to you in leading?

To understand why people act the way they do and find mutually beneficial solutions to problems.

  • What do you enjoy about it? Why?

I enjoy working with a variety of different personalities and to foster a collaborative and productive working atmosphere.

  • What were important steps on your way to leadership?

Understanding that people can be motivated by very different things, and how to tap into these sources of motivation. Furthermore: Parenthood! My children force me every day to: multitask, focus on solutions, make sure my communication is clear, set expectations and get buy-in from reluctant team members…

  • From your perspective…How does being female contributes to your success in leadership?

Women are often raised to be diplomatic and understanding of others. If these attributes can be coupled with clarity in setting expectations and boundaries and being goal-oriented, they can be very powerful for team building and leadership.

  • How does being a scientist contributes to your success in leadership?

An analytical mindset, which helps both in understanding people as well as projects. Most scientists have developed a high tolerance threshold for frustration, which makes it easier to keep emotions at bay if problems arise. Well-honed troubleshooting skills are also extremely helpful.

  • What tips do you have for young female scientists who want to take a leadership role? 

Seek out role models and mentors! Ideally you would feel comfortable asking them any type of question. Find out about their leadership style and personality, things they struggled with and how they solve issues. Then pick and model behaviours that would suit you- pushing yourself is good, but you don’t need to change your whole personality to be a good leader.