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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

find the 15th term of the geometric sequince whose first is 18 and last term of 387
Jerwin Reply
I know this work
The given of f(x=x-2. then what is the value of this f(3) 5f(x+1)
virgelyn Reply
hmm well what is the answer
how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
is it a question of log
I rally confuse this number And equations too I need exactly help
But this is not salma it's Faiza live in lousvile Ky I garbage this so I am going collage with JCTC that the of the collage thank you my friends
Commplementary angles
Idrissa Reply
im all ears I need to learn
right! what he said ⤴⤴⤴
what is a good calculator for all algebra; would a Casio fx 260 work with all algebra equations? please name the cheapest, thanks.
Kevin Reply
a perfect square v²+2v+_
Dearan Reply
kkk nice
Abdirahman Reply
algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
Nancy Reply
rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
ramon Reply
Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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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
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