<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
This module offers guidelines for leading an effective research team and is authored by Susan Margulies (University of Pennsylvania).

Are lab directors leaders or managers?

Leader Manager

  • influences opinions and attitudes of other to accomplish a shared goal
  • makes sure people and processes are in place to achieve goals. Develops plans, oversees budgets and resources, organizes, solves problems
Lab Directors must be Leaders AND Managers

If I had one piece of advice to give it’s that although you’ve been hired for your scientific skills and research potential, your eventual success will depend heavily on your ability to guide, lead, and empower others to do their best work.
--Thomas Cech, HHMI

Lab Director Role = Vision + Relationships + Tasks

Developing a vision or mission statement

  • A summary of goals and inspirations
  • A clearly stated vision inspires, and sets a course for the lab
  • Create a distinct future that distinguishes your lab from your competitors
    • Describe the kind of research you want to do
    • Motivation for your research
    • Atmosphere, Values: scientific excellence, teamwork?
    • Historical and current challenges
    • Short- and long-term goals
    • Tie into departmental or institutional culture

Directing and motivating people

  1. Behavior
    • tell people what to do and how to do it, when to do it, and then monitor closely
    • listen, provide encouragement and assistance, facilitate their involvement in problem-solving and decision-making
    • Lab Directors must provide BOTH - behavior type depends on lab member’s level of competence and commitment.
    Delegate those activities that someone else could provide both direction and support
  2. Communication

      Be accessible

    • Daily time in the lab
    • Open office door
    • Weekly lab meetings (presentations, progress reports)
    • Small group meetings (technical issues, alt. approaches)
    • One-on-one meetings
    • Journal club (teach good/bad exp design, analysis, reporting)
    • Strategy sessions (new directions)
    • Group lab activities in non-work setting to build team spirit
    Make sure you reserve time to be alone to think, read, and write!
  3. Give and receive feedback
    • Timely
    • Specific
    • Objective
    • Reinforces expectations
    • Constructive
  4. Make decisions
    • in isolation
    • after consultation
    • as a group
    • allow others to make the decision (only if can you live with the outcome!)
  5. Set rules of behavior for lab members
    • Work hours (focus on productivity) (your hours set the pace!)
    • Vacations and maternity leaves
    • Authorship guidelines
    • Scientific ethics
    • Project ownership
    • Projects leaving the lab (fund 6 mo independent research?)
    They’re watching…always watching! State rules, be a role model, and be consistent and fair.
  6. Motivate the lab
    • Importance of vision statement
    • Recognize and appreciate each person’s contributions
    • Make sure lab members understand their role
    • Provide training, recognize progress
  7. Manage conflict
    • Assess the problem, each person’s interests, acknowledge constraints, encourage parties to participate in resolution

Managing projects

  • Allocating, using and tracking resources to to achieve a goal in a desired timeframe
    • publishing a paper, getting a grant, tenure
  • Reduce wasted effort, track progress, respond quickly to hurdles
    • Define distinct steps to goal&expected time to complete
    • Who does what, when? (1-2 wk blocks) (sequential or parallel?)
    • Identify constraints, necessary collaborations, supplies, equipment, resources
    • Anticipate bottlenecks (pair post-doc with UG, have technician work out and revise new methods)
    • Track work closely (lab meetings, use clear indicators (“blots are done”))
    • Implement contingency plans
    • Maintain team focus and motivation (communicate project vision)

When do i learn to do all of that?

What relevant Lab Director skills do you have already?

  • use it to analyze situations in the lab
  • use it to organize your time, resources, and manage projects
  • you will make mistakes
  • will guide you in directing your lab


At The Helm: A Laboratory Navigator by K. Barker

Making the Right Moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Post-docs and New Faculty by L. Bonnetta (HHMI)

Questions & Answers

what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, 2009 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position. OpenStax CNX. Feb 24, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11185/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the '2009 nsf advance workshop: negotiating the ideal faculty position' conversation and receive update notifications?

Jill Zerressen
Start Quiz
Szilárd Jankó
Start Quiz