Sunday, 21 August 2016

Managing a Research Lab...


I was watching this roundtable the other day of mostly senior faculty giving advice on managing a research lab when it hit me that I knew exactly what they were talking about.

I am pretty sure if I had watched this video in my undergraduate years, most of the contents of this video would have gone right over my head.

The video was enlightening for many reasons. For one, it reminded me that many of the skills I learned coming out to work were soft skills. It also reminded me that managing people is a skill we don't often think of as a skill. There are still days when I have to remind myself to take a step back and let people "do their thing" even when I want so desperately to say something, and other days, when I wake up and have to make the decision to step in.

The video also reminded me that people are all different. Some require hand-holding all the way, like the child who needs the parent to walk him/her right to the entrance of the school every day, even when s/he knows his/her way. Others...prefer that you pretend you didn't know they were struggling but wants the option to come to you if things come crashing down. Yet, others, need just a simple invite for a drink to spill all anxieties on the table and have a good cry.

At the end of the day, managing people is about realising that no matter how long you have done it, there is always something new to learn. And that's why it is important to have your own network of people to go to. And, sometimes, that means having a giant jar of chocolate on your table to dip into.