Lab managers do not have easy jobs. Their duties go much deeper than just the science in the lab. They oversee laboratory growth management, inventory tracking, employee retention, and many other responsibilities similar to managing a small business. In most cases, newly appointed lab managers have little formal training in managing lab budgets and people. Lab management requires work organization, leadership, supervision, and communication. Here are tips for being a great lab manager:
Develop a straightforward strategy for ordering reagents and tracking other inventory regularly to make ordering more efficient and easy. Developing a plan ensures that the ordering process is consistent no matter who takes care of it, increasing efficiency and productivity in your lab.
Your PI (Principal Investigator) is responsible for safety and compliance in the lab. They will help you ensure a high accuracy level, professional integrity, and optimal productivity in your research. Keep an open line of communication with them by informing them of the latest lab news and seeking their advice when necessary.
Being a good listener is essential in your lab manager role, and you can learn a lot from communicating with your lab staff. Consider hosting brainstorming sessions to encourage creativity and innovation as a group. Teamwork offers a more unique perspective on your laboratory research than working in isolation. Keep your communication open and inviting to all lab staff for the best possible laboratory outcomes.
As a lab manager, you should be aware of cutting-edge technology, industry-related news and developments, and other information that impacts your work. Make time in your schedule for research and reading to stay updated on essential information. Many lab managers overlook the importance of continued education, so plan attendance at skills workshops to stay informed on changes introduced to various lab techniques, research reagents, and kits. Then, you can ensure that your lab has all of the information required to remain productive, profitable, and effective for years to come.
Plan weekly lab meetings to keep lab members informed about the overall progress of your lab. These meetings are an effective tool for brainstorming as a team and keeping the laboratory organized and focused on its goals. In addition, holding weekly meetings allows you to listen to staff feedback and concerns to resolve problems as a team and keep the lab efficient and productive together.
As we mentioned before, lab management is not only about science. Leadership, communication, and people management skills are equally essential to keeping your lab as effective and efficient as possible. Consider investing in management training through online courses or workshops to improve your skills and be more productive in your position.
Use these tips for being a great lab manager. And contact Hankins Consulting today for your lab growth management needs.