Management for Scientists: Managing vs. Leading

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Mar 31, 2015 12:08:00 PM

This is the fifth in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

We are inundated with articles and books on the topic of leadership. Perhaps one of your advisors or mentors has urged you to work on developing your “leadership skills”. Leadership is prized at all levels of an organization and is also one of the most common criteria required for a promotion. Yet little explanation is given for how someone can or should demonstrate this quality.  

I am often asked to give career seminars on Leadership Skills. After attempting to put together such a presentation many times, I could never actually figure out what skills were really leader-specific. How is leadership different from good management? Aren't all career skills leaderhsip skills when done well? Do you just have to know it when you see it?

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Topics: Career, Management for Scientists

Management for Scientists: Delegating is Key

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Feb 20, 2015 3:30:00 PM

This is the fourth in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

Once you are responsible for managing others you will only be successful in your role if you become a master at delegating tasks and responsibilities. The manager is not expected to DO all the work she is expected to make sure the work gets done and done well. Involving your team effectively is now your new measure of success. It is imperative that you resist the temptation to “just do it myself” or micromanage you don’t have time for that and you won’t be as productive. For example, the many resources avaliable on the Addgene website didn't come into being through the actions of a single person but hrough the coordinated efforts of many individuals.

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Topics: Career, Management for Scientists

Management for Scientists: Giving Feedback

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Feb 6, 2015 9:46:00 AM

This is the third in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

Feedback is help and it should result in authentic assistance for the recipient to become more effective and successful. Giving timely and useful feedback is an absolutely required aspect of being a successful manager. Great bosses tell people where they stand clearly and routinely. They are clear with each employee about what they do well and where they need to improve, and they’re also clear about how the person is doing overall. Employees hate to wonder what you think of their work.

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Topics: Career, Management for Scientists

Management for Scientists: Seeking Feedback

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Jan 8, 2015 9:34:00 AM

This is the second in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

This second installment in the Management for Scientists series will focus on an aspect of communication especially important for a manager – getting feedback from the team. Successful management can almost be boiled down to one, key concept: Creating a culture of excellent, effective communication between all members of a team. As described here in a 2012 Intuit blog post, a study coming out of MITs Human Dynamics Laboratory identified five characteristics of very successful teams.

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Here they are annotated with my comments:

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Topics: Career, Management for Scientists

Management for Scientists: What Makes a Good Manager Anyway?

Posted by Joanne Kamens on Dec 9, 2014 9:22:00 AM

 This is the first in a 5 part series on Management for scientists. Subscribe to the Addgene Career Advice Posts here.

 

“I'm slowly becoming a convert to the principle that you can't motivate people to do things, you can only demotivate them. The primary job of the manager is not to empower but to remove obstacles.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert cartoonist

If that is all it takes, then how come there are so many bad managers? New managers are rarely chosen because they have demonstrated skill at managing and this is especially true in science. It is assumed that if you are good at science and you are smart, you can be a good manager. The kind of smarts and the type of skills that it takes to be a good scientist are not the same ones it takes to be a competent manager (much less a really good one). While getting your PhD or doing a postdoc few science trainees will have opportunities to work on Emotional Intelligence or to hone delegation skills, for example.

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Topics: Career, News, Management for Scientists

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