If you “Google” leadership theory, you will be inundated with all sorts off philosophies, strategies, and advice. But what’s different in a research management context? Leaders in research management are often dealing with very brilliant people such as scientists, physicians, and academics with the highest degree levels - this can be intimidating. Research managers are often influencing people over whom they have no direct line management and indeed, in some cases, where there is no culture of line management. At the same time, within their own institutions, research and its management are often seen as a secondary issue to the “real” administrative issues like finance, HR, IT, etc. Research managers must therefore be skilled advocates for research management with other senior administrators within their own organizations. To rise through the ranks (as many research managers do), and have an impact on both very intelligent researchers, and senior administrators, research managers must hone a very special skill set. It takes inner strength and confidence to rise to a level where top professionals will listen and learn.
Debra Schaller-Demers, Research Outreach and Compliance, RCR, IACUC, IBC, ESCRO, and Export Control Administration, Research Laboratory Safety Committee (RLSC) Chair, Research and Technology Management, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center