I’ve also come to realize that working toward a common vision is much more motivating to me than my own personal reasons for carrying out a task.In a way, that could possibly be the single most important issue in academe: How would the system change if we all worked together towards the common good instead of focusing on our own individual motivations?While working in the lab, I knew my place within the team and, as a naive early graduate student, I at first saw my PI as “the boss” who could do no wrong.
Picking a good team can make or break entire organizations because it takes multiple motivated people to succeed.
When each member can bring different perspectives and strengths to the table, it often creates the best path to success.
Collaborating towards a common vision is something I have tried to impart to any team that I have led -- and will emphasize with those I lead in the future. Most people are busy, and if you want something from them, it is best to let them know well in advance.
So give them plenty of notice for meetings or tasks you want them to perform and schedule meetings at a time when everyone can participate.
I was lucky enough to be able to discuss issues that were important to me with my Ph. mentor, who explained why my views were wrong (which they were most of the time, at least in the beginning) or why my ideas were good when that was the case.
I appreciated not only the criticism but also the praise, which can be rare in academe these days.That’s the case especially in academe, but it is also true outside of it.I’ve now had experience being part of a team or leading them at various nonprofit organizations, and I again appreciate how much other people have supported and helped me.I continue to be amazed at the level of confidence they have placed in my ability to perform multiple tasks, which has positively influenced both my personal and professional development in significant ways.I am grateful to everyone who has ever put their trust in me to tackle a project and then stepped away and let me lead it.Create a detailed plan so that each person knows what they are supposed to be doing.Perhaps it is just personal preference, but I am much more productive when I know what I need to do, when it’s due and how it fits into the grander vision.Although it takes practice, I do my best to give the volunteers whom I have led on various committees a good sense of those things. Knowing what the final product of my work will be (whether it’s a publication, poster or something else) has always been helpful to know ahead of time.That allows a team to work backwards in thinking about how to accomplish the small, gradual tasks leading up to the ultimate goal.Having a team of people in whom you have confidence backing you up and doing the work behind the scenes can allow you to take a break and just let things happen sometimes.As a leader make sure to follow up with them, but also trust them to do their job, and they will thank you for it.