Four Tips for Excellent Lab Management

Lab Manager obtaining samples to be processed with LIMS workflow
Great lab management comes down to the people, products and processes … and how managers lead all three.
Business leader Marcus Lemonis has preached a simple, clear three-step approach to success: people, product, and process. If you are a lab manager or executive, those three concepts are essential to providing the right management to keep your lab working efficiently and safely.

Regardless of the size or scope of your lab, having a deep understanding of your employees, the work they do and how it is done is paramount. Without this basic comprehension, you are at risk of creating products – lab results – that are inaccurate, inconsistent and unacceptable.

To ensure that your laboratory management systems, employees, and processes are performing properly. Here are 4 tips for excellent lab management

1. Practice the emotional arts
Many lab managers are hired because they are excellent scientists, with the education, experience, commitment, precision, rigor and dedication necessary to be good professionals. However, these skills do not always translate to good management. As scientists gain promotions, they need new skill sets to excel.

Emotional intelligence means having a firm understanding of your emotions and your team’s emotions, learning and appealing to their motivations, allaying their concerns and providing the vision that others hunger to follow.

2. Foster open communication
Lab managers can fall into the trap of being too externally focused. They spend most of their time on business development, client communication, sponsor reporting and interaction with accreditors and evaluators.

The risk of such an approach is that leaders can fall out of touch. The danger of not having a firm grasp on day-to-day successes, challenges, and issues is that employees will not seek out the manager.

From the newest lab technician to the most senior scientist, it’s important to communicate regularly with the whole staff to provide a vision and shared goals. It’s just as important that team members know that their leaders are approachable and want to hear insights, obstacles, and triumphs.

3. Know the place
A good manager is the captain of the ship, and like Captain James T. Kirk knows how the Enterprise is running from the purr of the engines, so too should a lab leader have a good feel of the buildings, labs, and equipment.

Not only is information about space usage, instrument calibration and sample storage essential for proper daily management, such questions are often asked during assessments by inspectors or potential customers.

Lab Managers must know their biorepository workflow to be successful
Great lab managers need to know the processes used in deep detail.
4. Perfect the processes Processes matter dearly in labs. Laboratory management systems need to manage, store, track and report upon the procedures done, samples analyzed and processes used. A manager needs a deep understanding of how processes are completed and, when there is a flaw in a process, rectify the situation quickly.

Lab software to help management
For years, Freezerworks has provided laboratory managers a system that helps labs perform at the highest levels. With intuitive, configurable lab software and extensive support, Freezerworks helps labs effectively track samples, manage workflows, empower users and recover costs. Request a demo.