The Art of Leadership
Dale Carnegie, whose self help empire is built on the premise that dealing with people is man's most difficult challenge, once said "Even in such technical lines as science and engineering, only about 15 percent of a person's financial and career success is due to technical knowledge -- the other 85% is due to skill in human engineering and the ability to lead people."
Whether you are on a scientific or management track in your company, developing the skills to lead people should be a part of any career plan. Many scientists and engineers seem to think that it is the professional manager, that person dealing with the administrative details of people and projects, who must develop skills in leadership. Too often we see examples of technical people who are brilliant in their own respective fields, yet who have failed their organizations due to poor leadership ability. Here are some examples of leadership styles that are commonly seen in the world of industrial R & D:
The Autocratic Leader 52422bkj51kue7s
This leader has little concern for his or her colleagues and refuses to see them as individuals with unique skills. Instead, to this person they are tools to get a job done. An example of an autocratic leader could be a project manager who shows great results when in tight deadlines, but who has trouble keeping the results from falling apart when the team demoralizes and breaks down. Autocratic types need to focus more on the contributions of the individuals on the team, recognizing and nurturing each as the project progresses.
The Democratic Leader
This is the leader who believes that the best decision is one that is made in a truly democratic fashion. Everyone gets a vote, and as a result the project gets bogged down by the process itself. Momentum takes place only when there is a consensus of opinion (which is in no short supply in the biotech industry). This leader needs to recognize that he or she has been given the opportunity to lead others because of the ability to make decisions. [One recurring nightmare that I have as a corporate recruiter is working for a Democratic Leader of this sort -- where decisions are never made without a vote, and the recruiting process goes on, and on, and on . . . ] ku422b2551kuue
The Parental Leader
This type of leader will take the team in hand as a parent would with children, protecting and sheltering them from the elements of the organization. The parental leader would prefer to have the team members emotionally dependent upon him or her, leading to a subtle frustration of their scientific growth and development within the company. These leaders, oftentimes the firm's most respected scientists and managers, need to remember that a part of the job is to develop their staff into leaders themselves -- by cutting the "apron strings."
The Hands Off Leader
At the other extreme of the scale of involvement, there are leaders who feel that their people can do what they wish, even to the point of letting the organization's goals flounder, or allowing individuals to get into scientific quicksand. Working for a "hands off" manager is one of those situations that sounds great until you get into it -- and find that you are out on a limb(apdraudēts). Everyone likes independence, but the hands-off leader needs to remember that everyone also needs a touch of support and some occasional direction.
The Driven Leader
This person has the best interests of the organization at heart, but manages by imposing his or her will. Forceful and objectives-oriented, this person requires scientific perfection but is not so caught up in that perfection as to miss an opportunity to get a product out on the market before the competition. Driven leaders tend to forget that their people want to be led, and not pushed. Although blessed with better "people skills" than the autocratic leader, this sort of person still needs to concentrate more on making his or her team want to succeed.
The Consultative Leader
This person makes the assumption that there is a uniqueness about each individual's skills, and that it may outshine the leader in certain areas. Ideas are encouraged and shared, and decisions made that reflect the combined intelligence of the team members. This leader consults with them and smoothes the way for them to do a better job. Where a parental manager may give the team a sense of confidence in the leader, the consultative leader gives the team members a sense of confidence in themselves. By instilling this confidence in their work, the consultative leader sets the stage for what is known as "maintenance behavior", the ability to keep things moving along on an even keel. In that regard, this leader becomes a sort of organizational gyroscope -- valued by the company for the ability to develop internal harmony.
Volumes have been written about leadership skills. Study these tools and take advantage of training programs offered by your college, because those who exercise good leadership skills create their own future by their ability to motivate their colleagues.