"Where did you learn to be a leader?" asks DrdrA at Blue Lab Coats. Grad schools teach students how to hypothesize, design experiments, analyze the data, and write research papers, but not how to lead a group or become an effective PI, she says. They don't teach things like how to manage multiple projects simultaneously, or manage people, or keep track of money. For DrdrA, leadership comes naturally, but as she as learned from working with her own trainees, people tend to have a range of different leadership skills. "Some of my trainees came from very traditional grad labs where they had a project and they worked on that project in isolation," she says. "In these cases I think it is safe to say that such trainees haven't had the opportunity to lead in the way that you have to lead when you are a running a lab." But if leadership doesn't come naturally, then these people should have a chance to develop their skills alongside their scientific expertise. "I think one is necessary for the other," DrdrA says. No one can make it as a PI without a strong research program and a strong staff, and leading a lab and managing people is necessary to making that happen.
Are Leaders Born or Taught?
Jul 23, 2010