It’s no secret; it takes a lot of work to manage a research team, not to mention having to conduct the actual research itself. In addition to being a researcher, a manager is also a team leader who is responsible for those who work under them. If you feel overwhelmed managing a research team, don’t worry. Here are some tips to help you lead your team successfully.
Make Sure Your Team Is Happy
It’s much easier said than done to make sure that you manage your team efficiently. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your team is happy. Your team must cultivate a relationship of mutual respect if you want to succeed in your research goals.
Show your team members that you appreciate them and value their contribution by demonstrating respect as a leader. Adopting a team player mentality is the easiest way to achieve this. Remember that you are all working towards a common goal, and everyone on the team has a role to play.
Start Out with The Right Team
If you’re in charge of recruiting your team, then starting off with the right people is up to you. Today, identifying potential candidates from around the world has become much easier, making it possible to recruit the best of the best.
When creating a team, choose members with varying levels of experience and skills, but make sure that each member brings something unique to the table. You should have a variety of career stages and backgrounds on your team, including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and more seasoned colleagues.
Find a Mentor Of Your Own
In the case of first-time managers, do not try to do it alone. Having a mentor will be hugely beneficial. You may be assigned a mentor, but mentors assigned to you may not always fit your work style or personality. In this case, you may want to consider seeking a mentor of your own. Learn from others within your organization by asking about different research teams and watching how they function. You may also have to seek mentorship from more than one person.
Focus On Good Communication
As a leader, you are responsible for facilitating proper communication between your team members. It’s crucial that you encourage team members to seek your advice and help when they have problems. It is also important to provide resources so that your team doesn’t have to depend on you for every small thing. If team members need help, they should not feel as though they are burdening you.
It can help to have a team meeting every week to facilitate good communication. Also, it’s important you check in on your team members for progress reports and to offer assistance.
Remember, You’re a Mentor, Too
Team members should invest in their individual success. Some members of the group will lack experience and require more guidance than others, particularly if you choose a diverse group. As a leader, you have the opportunity to mentor and empower your team members to achieve more.
Due to the different stages of their careers, you must ask your team members to share their personal goals. From there, you can help them come up with strategies to achieve those goals.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
Those who are new to managing a research team often make the mistake of not delegating enough. It can be far too easy to fall into the trap of micromanaging rather than delegating, particularly if you feel passionate about a certain research project. It’s no longer your job to perform their duties. The soft skill of empowering your team members to do what you hired them for is part of your many job descriptions. If you’re doing their jobs, it means you aren’t doing yours.
Micromanagement can be avoided by understanding your team’s strengths and weaknesses and assigning tasks accordingly. The diversity of the team also makes a difference here. If one member’s strength compliments another’s, then they can be effective working together.
Avoid micromanaging at all costs. It can be detrimental to your team and can make them see you in a bad light. It is a huge blow to morale if you micromanage someone and can make them feel as though you aren’t confident in their skills or abilities to do their jobs. You should mentor them through the negatives rather than micromanaging them.
Provide Easy Access to Resources
Provide your team with easy access to all the resources they may need to succeed. A lot of researchers struggle with bureaucracy. They can’t get the supplies they need to finish their tasks. Your team members shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get the equipment, advice, or money they need.
Ensure that your team members have all the resources they may require when setting up your project. You are not expected to handle it alone. Things can slip through your fingers. Especially at the beginning of a project, make sure you ask your team members for their resource needs so that you can make them available.
Always Celebrate Success
A paycheck probably isn’t what’s driving your research team to succeed, believe it or not. In fact, money aside, when your team believes that their work matters, they will be inspired to do their best. It’s critical that you celebrate successes in order for your team to continue to feel as though the work they are doing matters. Keep your team in the loop by thanking them for their work. You can try showing your team you care and that you see how their efforts lead to success by doing small but meaningful things each week.
Managing a research team can be very tricky, but by following these tips, you can manage them to success. It might take a bit of time and effort, but in the end, it’ll be worth it.