As a lab manager, one is required to ensure that all experiments aim for a common goal. The capability to see the more significant picture lets lab members calculate a project’s growth and decide future projects, grants, and manuscripts
FREMONT, CA: A lab manager's job is not an easy one as it is not always about being associated with science. Their job is similar to managing a small business. Most newly appointed administrators get formal training on managing the people and lab budgets. So, the capabilities to put in order the work along with being a point of contact, leader, and a supervisor are some critical managerial skills.
Lab management Requires a More Directed Manner
Management skills are an essential part of all types of careers in the field of science. Whether one chooses to work at the bench or away, the aptitude for organizing the work and administering people is vital.
• Learn management skills.
• Have a five-year plan for the lab.
• Set clear principles and expectations.
• Enhance the management style for each lab member.
• Listen to the lab members.
• Know the people at the institution.
• Celebrate successes with the lab.
Management skills can be divided into four major categories:
The approach facilitates a lab manager to know the intent of how is the lab fulfilling its objectives. As a lab manager, one is required to ensure that all experiments aim towards a common goal. The capability to see the more significant picture lets lab members calculate a project’s growth and decide future projects, grants, and manuscripts. So, a five-year plan helps lab administrators to gauge the development of the research and keep it goal-oriented. Having a long-term plan also is useful for tenure-track faculty so they can stay on schedule and accomplish the requirements needed for tenure at a suitable time.
The category is a crucial job for lab managers as they get to determine what project lab employees undertake and the techniques involved in it. Additionally, they also get to manage the budget and timelines for multiple projects along with keeping a check on the varied researches in the fields.
In lab management, the organization takes several forms. Time, people, and the physical lab space must be orderly for research to run smoothly. There may not be sufficient time in the day to complete all the tasks that one hopes to achieve. So, a lab manager must keep everything well-organized. Lab meetings are an excellent way to help keep a group of people structured and focused on their goals. Scheduling a meet with the whole group permits lab members and the Project Incharge (PI) to remain conversant of events within the lab. Furthermore, the meetings can also be the right forum for troubleshooting and brainstorming.
One study found that most top labs have regular lab meetings—formal and informal. Additionally, one-on-one sessions also are essential for both the lab member and the PI, as experiments and the issues can be discussed in greater detail. Conversely, lab meetings can become an unproductive use of time if they are not planned. Having a meeting schedule can keep dialogues on track and avoid the need for multiple sessions about a single matter. Reports of lab gatherings also can be used to evaluate research growth.
Leadership is an essential quality that a lab manager should hold to set the environment and the tempo of the lab. Having a manager with competent headship can inspire the lab staff toward creativity and productivity and help members work together.
The first step toward reaching the leadership potential is to recognize the leadership style. Several resources exist online that let managers acknowledge and examine the way they lead. Then lab administrators can focus on the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership style and work on improving it. Moreover, one can also compare the type of leader they are to the kind they would want to be.
Besides, lab managers should also walk the talk. The action builds trust and respect from fellow scientists and colleagues. Furthermore, a good leader not only directs lab staff and tells them what to do, but also listens to the employees. Taking time to listen is also imperative because a lot can be gained from fellow lab members. So, one way to carry forward the approach is to organize brainstorm sessions. Not only does listening make lab members feel appreciated, but it also offers them a learning experience. Most importantly, it gives lab mangers a different perspective on the research than one would have if working in isolation.
To be in command of a lab involves the evaluation of lab members’ and projects’ progress along with the ability to correct problems as they arise. One best way to prevent issues with the workforce is to be clear about standards and expectations from the start. Each lab member comes from a different background. Most of the problems arise from a lack of communication about prospects. Without clear expectations, managers should not expect lab members to do something as per their liking. It is equally essential for lab values to be maintained, or they will not be pursued.
Motivating lab members is significant if lab managers are keen on ensuring employees’ success. Also, people are expected to be productive and create high-quality work when they are happy and working toward an objective rather than fearing punishment. So, lab managers ought to make sure that they tell staff when they are performing well. In case if they see that things are going slowly, then administrators can give workers encouragement along with advice. Lastly, try to give lab workers a sense of control over their work. Also, a sense of pride and ownership can go a long way to encourage workers while freeing managers to spend time on other issues.