Managing a lab is a challenging and rewarding position. While everyone puts their own flair onto their management style, there are some tips and practices that can help you be more effective. Today we have rounded up 10 tips for successful laboratory management.
Maintain a good relationship with your PI
Your PI’s job is to help maintain accuracy, integrity, and productivity and you want to form an alliance. This will make everything in your lab run smoother and it will be much easier to get things done.
Be clear about standards and expectations
An effective leader knows how to be clear about expectations up front so that employees know exactly what they need to do in order to be successful. Down the line, if expectations have been set it will be easier to coach employees on areas for improvement because everyone will be on the same page.
Be a good listener
The most effective managers are good listeners. The ability to hear someone’s concern and address it in a way that makes everyone comfortable with the outcome in an invaluable skill.
Learn how to say no
In your role, you will be pulled in many different directions and a lot of people will ask you for help. This is a great time to learn how to effectively decline requests you can not handle. Telling someone no and referring them to someone who can help is a better approach than agreeing to too many things and giving none of them the attention they deserve.
Read the latest publications in your field
You will want to stay up to date on the latest work coming out of your field. Any easy way to do this is to dedicate some time every week to reading new publications. Maybe you do this on your lunch break or commute, however you fit it in, it is a great way to keep up with what’s going on.
Improve your people skills
As a lab manager, you will be interacting with a lot of people everyday and having great people skills will make this easier. I love this article for ideas of how you can begin to hone these skills.
Creating a broad professional network can help you connect your lab to others doing related work. This network will also give you the opportunity to help other labs and when you need a favor there may be someone to step in. Networking can be difficult, but start by getting on LinkedIn and attending a few events related to your line of work.
Take a lap, daily
The best way to stay on top of what is going on in your lab is to see it for yourself. Get in the habit of taking a lap around the lab everyday to check in on safety, cleanliness, equipment, and to connect with staff. This hands-on approach will help you identify and address problems faster and will make you more connected to others in the lab.
Keep safety at the forefront
You know that safety is important, but sometimes over time labs can become slightly complacent in their safety practices. As a lab manager, you can combat this by sending around reminders about safety, running trainings, and holding everyone accountable to safety standards. A safe lab is a good lab and you can help enforce this!
Manage your time well
Time management is a critical skill that plays into your ability to do all of the above steps well. You want to make sure that you are not just busy, but also that everything that you are doing is the best use of your time. If this is something you want to work on, write down all of the tasks that we do over several days and how much time you spend doing them. Then, rank them by priority, the things that are most important are the things that should be getting the most of your attention.
We hope these tips help you to manage a lab where things are productive and successful! Have your own tips? Share them with us on Twitter, @Conserisapp.
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