Laboratory management is a crucial part of modern science and healthcare. The risk assessment and control measure put into place by a proper lab workflow is crucial to successful experimentation and procedures. Meanwhile, even the best scientists in the world can’t function without proper leadership.
Running a lab isn’t easy, but those who succeed have commonalities. This guide is an overview of everything you’ll need to successfully manage your lab.
4 Common Skills of Successful Lab Managers
Lab managers aren’t just scientists — they need a mix of scientific, financial, marketing, and managerial skills to be successful. There are four key areas where you need to focus on becoming your strengths.
1. People Management
Hiring the right people is crucial to laboratory management. No matter how good your people are, they’ll also need strong leadership. Be sure to set the right company values from the start and hire skilled people who fit into the team and create positive outcomes in the specific position you’re filling.
You’ll also want people who can mentor others to follow their lead. This helps the organization scale to handle larger workloads and generate bigger revenues. Also, understand your people are people and treat them with respect, offer benefits, etc.
2. Project Management
Your lab will be working on several projects at any given moment, including research, development, and testing for a variety of clients. Navigating between these projects and properly allocating resources determines how efficiently your lab operations run.
The resources you dedicate to each project will directly impact its success. Adaptable management and an agile approach that uses iterative sprints is the key to remaining nimble through project management.
3. Financial Management
Although you’re all scientists, a laboratory is ultimately a business. Like any other business, it needs to generate revenue streams and pay the bills. Accounting and payroll are just a few of the normal business operations that need to be covered, and you’re better off hiring professionals than handling it yourself.
You also need to be ready to raise funds and keep bringing in business.
4. Safety Management
The most important aspect of running a lab is safety. Ensure all processes and procedures create a safe work environment and that all your clean rooms are ISO and OSHA compliant. This will keep your people safe while protecting your business from legal liability.
Get Started in Lab Management
A career in research management and administration is rewarding. When a great scientist becomes a manager, there are a lot of struggles to overcome. You’re out of your comfort zone and working on business aspects they didn’t teach in school.
When you overcome the challenges, you’ll find a rewarding career at the other end.