Jeremy Koscielecki, PhD, is the global analytical sciences manager at FMC Corporation in Newark, DE. Koscielecki was nominated by his peers for the 2023 Leadership Excellence Awards and received recognition as the recipient of the Excellence in Lab Leadership Award. This award focuses on the "people" side of laboratory leadership—how to manage lab staff effectively, how to improve employee engagement and satisfaction, and how to develop rising leaders among one's staff.
Koscielecki told Lab Manager about his background as an analytical chemist, where he learned his leadership skills, and misconceptions about management.
Q: Can you briefly discuss your background and what you do in your current role?
A: Shortly after completing my Ph.D. in chemistry, I began my career as an analytical chemist supporting manufacturing and new product development. A few years later, I had the opportunity to become a team leader for an analytical lab supporting a wastewater treatment facility. Since 2010, I have led several teams supporting both Manufacturing and R&D for Agricultural Crop Protection products. In my current role, my team of analytical scientists supports research, registration, and global operations in the development of novel Crop Protection compounds.
Q: What was your reaction to winning this award, and what does it mean to you to win?
A: I was quite surprised to find out that I was selected as this year’s award winner. The nominator had contacted me and said I should check my email, but I had no idea why. With many applicants, I was honored to be selected.
Q: What do you value the most about Lab Manager’s offerings/content?
A: I enjoy the magazine’s cover stories and feature articles about advances in new lab technologies such as green chemistry, ways to automate your lab, reduce solvents, and increase workflow. I also enjoy seeing photos of new labs that have been built with fantastic views!
Q: What resources or individuals did you learn your leadership and management skills from?
A: Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work with a variety of teams and leaders who employ unique and diverse styles. It is from this pool of various environments and approaches that I have curated my own individual leadership style and philosophy.
Q: In your opinion and experience, what is the most important quality or trait a good leader needs to have?
A: Trust. People work for a leader who they can trust to lead the team forward together toward the achievement of a common goal.
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
A: When away from work, I enjoy spending time with family outdoors. I enjoy all things about weather. Tracking storms and weather forecasts has become a hobby and, being an analytical chemist, I try to make sure my backyard weather station is providing good quality data.
Q: What do you think are some common misconceptions about good leadership and management?
A: I have come to learn that a “one size fits all” leadership philosophy is unrealistic and ineffective. Each team member has a unique set of strengths and work styles; a strong leader must hone the best parts of these and learn how to negate the shortcomings.
Q: What’s the best piece of management and/or leadership advice you can share with our readers?
A: Employees work for a person, not a company. Leaders should help to find the role each of their team members can fill to accomplish a common goal. Do not be afraid to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty. I would not ask my team to do anything I would not do myself.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years in your role?
A: I recently created a Global Analytical Forum to help connect teams working in remote sites to one another. I would like to continue to grow this resource for the mutual benefit of the teams it serves and to our organization as a whole.