Management Styles....a new thread?

Gus McTavish gmctavish at
Thu Jan 25 02:55:13 EST 1996

In article <Weller-2301962133050001 at>, Weller at (Sandra Weller) says:
>In article <4ds4gg$er at>, "Jennifer L. Potter"
><jras at> wrote:
>> Question:  What are the keys to people management in the lab?  I have
>> personally experienced a variety of managment styles, none of which I
>> have found to be particularly successful when used on myself or others, 
>> or that I would feel comfortable emulating if/when I am in the boss' 
>> shoes.  I worry that I would be too much of a "softie" when it comes to 
>> dealing with the people under me....or that I would swing too far the 
>> other way and be a B****.  How to achieve balance?  Does your management 
>> style get misinterpreted because you're a woman?
>Dear Jennifer,
>I have been running my own lab for 11 years now and have had many similar
>questions about styles of management.  I don't think there are any "keys
>to people management in the lab". I am particularly sensitive to being
>thought of as a B****, but I realize that I would be doing a disservice to
>my students and fellows to not expect them to do their best.  It is a fine
>balance and one which I struggle with daily.  Most of the time I try to be
>a cheer leader dispensing encouragement and enthusiasm.  I think each
>mentor needs to develop his or her own style of running a lab and I must
>say I am getting more comfortable with the role.  At first I felt like a
>student myself and it was very hard to feel that I was the "boss".  My own
>graduate advisor was a brilliant Nobel prize winner who (unintentionally I
>think) was very intimidating to me.  I became reluctant to voice my own
>opinions or ideas and suffered several "crises in confidence" through my
>graduate years.  I gained confidence as a postdoctoral fellow and have
>developed my own style of mentoring which does not closely match either of
>my former mentors, yet I have learned from each certain aspects of styles
>which work and styles which do not.  I am very pleased with the way things
>are going in my lab right now.  I am particularly grateful to a group of
>women faculty who meet regularly for tea (Thursdays at 3 in the
>cafeteria). We trade stories, cry on each other's shoulders and give each
>other encouragement.  I try not to worry too much about my style being
>misinterpreted.  I have experienced some success and I am trying not to be
>oppressed by nagging doubts and "crises in confidence".  I am doing the
>best that I can do right now; that's enough (most days).  Good luck and
>try not to worry.  It sounds corny, but I think your heart is in the right
>place and that you will have compassion for those that you mentor.   
>Sandra Weller

Hi there

I just wanted to add that it is our responsibility to encourage success in our 
people.  Primarily a person feels happy in any environment, when they feel they are achieving
something worthwhile and that they are appreciated and recognized for achieving it.

My own method is to ask for just a bit more than they fell they can produce, or a bit more than they
expect of themselves.  When they have completed that tast on time, they congratulate themselves,
and of course you must acknowledge it as well.  If you always ask for a little too much and always thank them
for a job well done, they will be happy and motivated and productive.  Ask for too much though and they
will give up, feeling like they will never make you happy.

The way I kept balance for myself was to ask for more than I needed to expect from them, so that when
some failed to complete on time, I had always built a percentage of failures into my plan.  And most importantly
when they fail you show no disappointement, but thank them for thier efforts, and get them some help.  Only if 
failure is constant will you have to discuss this with the employee.

hope this helped,

bye the way have a look at the web page at the bottom of the page - it may provide you with additional
information relating to your responsibilities toward your employer and staff.

Gus McTavish

Gus McTavish						MacQueen Taggart Resources Inc.
Vice President - Marketing				#630 -470 Granville Street
   & Business Development				Vancouver B.C.   V6C 1V5
gmctavish at					Ph-604-684-7768 Fx-604-687-2412
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