Everyone knows that a great manager can be the difference between employees loving their jobs and workers not being able to wait until Friday afternoon. The traits that make a great laboratory manager aren’t anything unique. However, when combined in this environment, they help create an ideal leader and an environment worth investing in.
Lab managers need to have excellent character, more than other managers. Science needs truthfulness and honesty to work. Labs that support research or healthcare can’t have the type of leadership that is one to “brush it under the rug.”
Not only do they have to be honest with their work, but they also need to be sincere with other staff, stakeholders, and upper management. Yes, even when scared about the repercussions for their mistakes and money wasted.
A great team is what makes a lab thrive. The manager’s responsibility is to create clear roles for everyone, with plenty of training to get them started. They should stay responsive, adapting to people’s needs and providing opportunities for their employees to develop their skills to grow their careers.
Laboratories are frequently changing with new regulations, discoveries, techniques, and equipment. As such, managers should always be learning and staying on top of recent trends. They also need to be on top of lab quality management to ensure consistent methods and product safety.
Trust and Respect for Their Team
Like all great leaders, employee trust and respect are other traits that make a great laboratory manager. Appreciate people for the skills, knowledge, passion, and hard work that they provide the lab. Prioritize the well-being of their employees, not just their productivity.
Cultivate a safe and comfortable working environment to allow workers to thrive. This might even mean allowing employees the space to express their own workstyle, like flexible work schedules or listening to music (depending on the lab).
Laboratory managers have influential roles. They aren’t just any generic workplace leader; they are responsible for influencing the direction of research and other people’s health. While a great lab manager has a solid foundation with these four traits, they shine with so much more.