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Lessons for Lab Managers Found on the Mountain

Many people have learned what they needed to know about themselves on a mountain. Its this psychological association with mountains that have made them awe-inspiring in both their beauty and their challenge.

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"It was a lot more challenging than I thought, both physically and mentally. You really have to be prepared for this, and it really tests your will." –Roger Goodell on climbing Mount Rainier

Many people have learned what they needed to know about themselves on a mountain. It’s this psychological association with mountains that have made them awe-inspiring in both their beauty and their challenge.

Kathy Barker’s outstanding article, Leadership on the Mountain; Lessons for the Lab, offers an alternative form of inspiration for lab managers who find themselves more motivated by the “science and the challenge” than the emphasis on getting rich and pleasing stockholders found in typical management and business leadership books.

Like many lab managers, mountain climbing guides assume leadership positions without any business or management training. This makes their stories relatable as well as inspiring. Barker uses the experiences of guides leading mountain climbing expeditions to provide three specific lessons for lab managers:

1. Choosing and Cultivating Your Team
2. Choosing a Project: Risk Versus Certainty
3. Independence or Nurturing? Guide or Climber? Colleague or Acolyte?

As a result of reading this article, who knows, maybe you’ll become a mountaineering literature enthusiast or take up climbing yourself . . . or maybe you’ll be able to find some practical applications for the types of lessons learned on the mountain.

Read the article Leadership on the Mountain; Lessons for the Lab