Some people just want a job. Others want a career. For those who want a career, they tend to want to work for a LIMS Leader rather than a LIMS Manager.

Noting the Difference: LIMS Leader vs. LIMS Manager

LIMS managers are paper-pushers. They have people who work for them and they keep track of the time spent, budget used, and other facts. A good manager is organized and keeps things humming.

LIMS leaders are the people who inspire us.

Hopefully, the project has both good managers and good leaders. Some people have both qualities, others have neither.

When Times Get Tough: LIMS Leader vs. LIMS Manager

When times get tough, this is the time we see a clear difference between a LIMS leader and a LIMS manager. When work falls behind and the workforce is too lean to get everything done, the team begins to fray. They tire. They’re grumpy and difficult to deal with.

When someone in-charge looks at this sad-looking, worn-out, overworked team of people, what they say next is what separates them.

The LIMS manager tends to be critical. They’re the ones who say things like, “Come on, people! Get it together. I shouldn’t have to beg you to do your jobs!” Next, the team slumps off and spends almost all their time in side-conversations about how miserable they are, hate working there, can’t stand the boss, etc… This anti-pep talk doesn’t usually get anything moving any faster. In fact, sometimes, it actually slows things down, considering the team is now spending more time griping than working.

On the other hand, the LIMS leader minimally keeps things from falling apart. It’s not even what they say as much as how they say it. They tend not to place blame but to talk about how to get around problems. They tend to spread more of a, “We’re all in this, together,” kind of feeling. Sometimes, the team comes out of the leader’s pep talks with renewed vigor and enthusiasm to get to the next milestone.

Some Links for You

Based both on my own experience working for a variety of people in-charge, and the fact that leadership as a topic seems to rear it’s head, on occasion, here’s more reading for those of you who are interested. Here are just two noteworthy articles. However, there are many out there, as well as great books about the great leaders in our current world and our history.

Here’s a short one from LinkedIn that you can read in less than 5 minutes: Be a Leader of People, Kees, van der Ent, ABN AMRO Bank, N. V.

Now, something longer from Harvard Business Review: Crucibles of Leadership by Warren Bennis and Robert J. Thomas

Here’s a past post from this blog about learning to manage and project manage.

Food for Thought

There are many articles that come out that talk about getting the best people and being good leaders to them. Nowhere in these articles does it say the leader has to be a domain expert.

I’ve worked on a multitude of projects. Also, people tell me about their projects and their job searches. In that, I’ve run across a common and well-documented issue. That is the issue of promoting someone with a domain expertise into management without giving them any management training, only to find they struggle to make the transition.

When a person has so long been a domain expert, it’s not that easy to transition out of that role and into a management role. In that, we run into a multitude of managers who are so stuck in their old role that they haven’t yet managed to become leaders. Some never will.

We’ve all heard the manager who spends their time bragging how good they are in what you’re doing (and why you’re doing it wrong) instead of working toward resolving the actual issues holding the team back.

It’s not uncommon to run into managers who are so insecure that they don’t want to hire the best candidate for fear of being shown to be a fraud (i.e., not “the” expert, after all).

This is their manager’s fault. Companies that want better have to encourage this from the top down. However, one company seemed to feel that their lower level of expertise was good-enough to service their customers and they didn’t need a change. As long as they recognized this, then that’s their prerogative.

What About the Consultants?

In consulting, it’s not this straightforward. Some people do have something like a manager who sends them out on projects. They might bent to provide services either from a software vendor or an independent services group. Regardless, they often have someone that links them back to the company they actually work for.

However, with all their time spent with customers, consultants don’t necessarily have much contact with the people at their own company. Instead, their lives tend to depend more on the customer’s leadership teams.

And, with that, consultants see the good, the bad and the ugly. They see the leaders out there and everyone who isn’t, as well. Consultants can hope for the best but, in the end, the best project leadership we’ve ever worked with will be an experience that is too short-lived. Then, we move on to face whatever comes next.

Leave a Comment