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The Importance of Leadership Training and Development

Lab managers of any experience level can benefit from additional learning

Scott D. Hanton, PhD

Scott Hanton is the editorial director of Lab Manager. He spent 30 years as a research chemist, lab manager, and business leader at Air Products and Intertek. He earned...

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Developing staff is an important leadership responsibility. As leaders, lab managers have to plan for training and development for the lab staff. But how often do you include training for yourself in these plans? The challenges that lab managers face are complex, and you can benefit from continually improving your skills to address them effectively.

Richard Branson said, “learning and leadership go together.” Being an effective leader for the lab means having the desire to be a life-long learner. Here are five reasons why training and development are important for lab managers.

#1 – Expand your curiosity

Much of leading and executing science requires an appreciation for exploring the unknown and learning throughout the journey. This doesn’t stop at the lab manager’s desk. All of the curiosity and ability to probe the details of the science are valuable traits in lab management, too. Enable your curiosity to lead you to new aspects of leadership and management that you can explore and master.

#2 — Establish a growth mindset

Learning is a lifelong pursuit. There are always new problems to solve, new situations to resolve, and new challenges to address. Investing the time and money to attend training and development sessions will enable you to grow and develop in your role, so that you can execute it better for yourself, your staff, and your organization.  

#3 – Improve skills

Independent of your experience as a lab manager, it is important to improve your leadership and management skills. Some lab managers are new to the role, and benefit from training to build new skills that are required. Experienced lab managers can also benefit by finding the situations that make them uncomfortable, and improving their skill set in specific ways to address persistent or important challenges.

#4 — Boost your confidence

Lab managers need to make hard decisions and handle difficult situations around the lab. Further training on leadership and management skills will provide a broader foundation with which to address these challenges. One of the benefits of training is the opportunity to think through different scenarios and practice using new skills before they are needed in the lab.

#5 – Create opportunity

One of the many benefits of training and development is to create new opportunities. Lab management doesn’t have to be the last step in a career progression. The leadership and management skills developed in this role are highly transferable, and can be extremely valuable in many other leadership roles, including organizational line management.

Training and development aren’t things you only do for others. Lab managers require ongoing development, too. It isn’t selfish to share the same aspirations around self-improvement that are expected of the rest of staff. It is necessary for everyone to thrive in their roles, and to develop them for the next opportunity.

Scott D. Hanton, PhD

Scott Hanton is the editorial director of Lab Manager. He spent 30 years as a research chemist, lab manager, and business leader at Air Products and Intertek. He earned a BS in chemistry from Michigan State University and a PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Scott is an active member of ACS, ASMS, and ALMA. Scott married his high school sweetheart, and they have one son. Scott is motivated by excellence, happiness, and kindness. He most enjoys helping people and solving problems. Away from work Scott enjoys working outside in the yard, playing strategy games, and coaching youth sports. He can be reached at


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