Leadership and Management for SRL Managers
The Francis Crick Institute, United Kingdom
Core facilities, or Shared Resource Laboratories, can grow from a simple start. It may just be one person looking after one to two pieces of equipment, training users and developing the core. But as an SRL grows, there is a need to recruit staff. Choosing the correct people for the job is a skill that we are not taught and it often relies on the intuition of the hiring manager. Once in place, an SRL manager will have responsibility for the development of that staff member which will include competency training, responsibility for provision of personal development as well as performing one or more specific functions within the Laboratory. Often new managers arrive with staff already in place who may be used to different management styles and have varying expectations, skill sets and needs.
All these situations require leadership and management knowledge. Many of us who run SRL s have no formal training in these aspects. There is also the issue of dealing with the management structure above the SRL. Aspects such as how well is SRL viewed by management or Institute; How do staff feel the Lab is moving forward; Is there a clear pathway for the Lab (introduction of new technology, increased user-base, increased profile locally, nationally and internationally); Is there space for personal development?
Managers and staff will have expectations. There is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Nor is that solution the same depending on Institutional setting e.g. University v research Institute v Contract Research Lab v Biotech. In this tutorial I will discuss, using anecdotal evidence gathered over 20 years of managing a flow cytometry facility, the important points that must be considered to successfully manage and lead a facility as well as being able to liaise with upper management. At the end of the session, attendees should have a greater appreciation of the range of skills needed to lead a successful SRL.