To improve and develop as a leader, you need to develop your leadership styles. In this month’s Career Tips, we hear from an ASCP pathologist and a laboratory professional about how they have gone about honing their leadership style.
“My leadership style has evolved over time as I’ve moved from the research lab to a position more focused on clinical diagnostics and medical education, and taken on greater responsibility. I’ve definitely learned from a few mistakes along the way!
“In the research lab, there was a clear hierarchy, largely based on seniority. You have the PI (lab head), post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduate students. For the most part, the people responsible to me were also junior to me, and my role was to educate and mentor as much as lead. So I mostly took an approach of graduated responsibility, giving people more and more latitude to make their own decisions until they eventually reached full independence.
“When I transitioned to medical education, I was still relatively junior, and I found myself in the position of directing a course where many of the instructors were senior to me – and, in some cases, had strongly held views about how pathology should be taught that were at odds with the prevailing philosophy of the curriculum. So, I adjusted my approach and became more delegative, giving more responsibility to individual instructors to tailor their teaching styles to their own educational philosophies and expertise. I also became much more conscientious about soliciting and passing along feedback from students, since I usually couldn’t be there to observe in person. It was a challenge at first, but we are now four years in, and we have a well-organized system with a dedicated core group of instructors committed to the curriculum.”
Scott B. Lovitch, MD, PhD, FASCP
“I’ve have worked with some outstanding leaders who set good examples, and I learned from them. For example, I try to engage my staff in developing solutions to challenges they encounter. I work with a highly knowledgeable staff, and I agree with their solutions most of the time. Allowing them to help develop the solutions empowers them and, when your supervisor agrees with you, it’s validating.
“From a big picture perspective, my goal for our team is to have staff members feel safe speaking up. It’s extremely important that staff feel they can speak up in order to improve patient safety.”
Raquel M. Martinez, PhD, D(ABMM)