Lab managers are accountable for a wide range of actions and activities. Most lab managers earn the opportunity to lead their labs through excellent technical performance at the bench. However, being excellent scientists is not sufficient to prepare them for the lab manager role. Unfortunately, most lab managers earn the role before they really start to develop the skills to deliver the role with confidence and excellence. This learning process often starts with mimicking the ways their predecessors delivered the role, which is great if you were fortunate to have a good role model, but can propagate ineffective leadership and management when poor role models are copied. Developing new skills proceeds through the difficulties of on the job training, which for most lab managers involves making mistakes and learning from them. While this process can work, it is often frustrating, demoralizing, and time consuming.
While the new lab manager is working hard to develop the skills and knowledge required for the role, the lab staff are dependent on their decisions and actions for the organization to be successful. In the end, this process of development for most lab managers just doesn’t work well enough. A better way is needed.
To address this need, Lab Manager has created the Lab Manager Academy with a mission to provide skills and knowledge to current and prospective lab managers who wish to improve their ability to deliver the role with confidence and effectiveness.
"One of the key focal points of the lab management certificate program is that the lab staff are the most important asset of the lab."
The first training available from the Lab Manager Academy is the lab management certificate, a fully online, asynchronous training that provides information and guidance on the foundational skills required for lab management. The certificate program consists of 20 courses ranging in length from 60 to 90 minutes of instruction. Each course consists of informational slides, audio lecture, interactive actions, activities to incorporate the knowledge into the learner’s lab, and a quiz to confirm the learning. The 20 courses cover a variety of topics in managing lab staff, including improved leadership, lab management, and lab operations.
Leveraging actual lab management experience
The core of the material comes from my 20 years of experience as a lab manager. After suffering with poor leadership examples at the beginning of my career, I was tasked with managing a series of labs in an industrial analytical department. Following the examples of my early supervisors was not an option, so I had to learn. Much of that learning was on the job, with a long list of mistakes to learn from. Because I had so much to knowledge to gain about lab management, I became a student of the subject, seeking out opportunities to read, attend lectures and conferences, and participate in peer-to-peer discussions around leadership and lab management. I was fortunate to have some excellent line managers who showed alternatives and patiently worked with me through my many mistakes, allowing me to learn from them rather than be punished for them.
One of the key focal points of the lab management certificate program is that the lab staff are the most important asset of the lab. Everything the lab produces and everything the lab learns is driven by the staff. So, developing the right staff for the lab is a key concern. Recruiting, hiring, and developing the staff is a critical first step. Then, lab managers create an environment where the staff can flourish and succeed. This involves providing them with what they need to be successful and effectively resolving the problems that arise in any workplace environment. With a climate of accomplishment, the lab manager can turn to improving the relationships with line management to acquire the tools, space, and budget required for success. As these foundational skills are developed, the lab manager can improve the work processes and operations of the lab to enable it to deliver on its mission for the organization. Through the Lab Manager Academy courses, lab leaders can achieve each of these steps.
"Effective lab management and lab leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from lab managers continuing to grow, learn, and develop."
New challenges seem to be around every corner. Ongoing learning and development provide the background, skills, and experience to successfully navigate those challenges. There are many ways to build improved leadership and management skills, but the Academy offers an affordable way to do so at your own pace.
The lab management certificate program is an effective way to tap into the experience and expertise of a long-time lab manager, and the sources of information and inspiration that helped me navigate the same challenges you may be currently facing.
To learn more about the Lab Manager Academy courses and certificate program, please visit us at: academy.labmanager.com.