More than 50% of students drop out of STEM programs due to the intense ranking systems. Academic careers are marred by this effect and increasingly hold people in this mindset to feel inadequate until they’ve proven themselves. Most often this train of thought can extend well into their future career.
Your mental energy matters significantly, because knowledge work requires deep concentration and creativity. Many young research scientists struggle with time management, not only as a product of time, but that of mental energy. The cognitive load that one experiences can be tremendous, especially when it comes to intellectual focus and decision making. This is a critical resource that shouldn’t be taken lightly. The results can be catastrophic when we’re deciding whether to invest our time into completing a manuscript or completing another assay. Therefore, we need to make room to reserve our most critical thinking during times where we’re most refreshed and focused.
Many times, it’s not so much the changes that are difficult, it’s the purpose behind those changes that make it difficult. If we align the big goals and cause of our resolutions to our overall vision of who we want to be, the tasks associated with it become increasingly small and manageable.
Giving feedback doesn’t have to mean being aggressive with your lab members, nor does it mean you have to be overly friendly to them. It just means, helping your directs to reach their goal. Therefore, you have to change your mindset. There are three mindsets that tend to exacerbate the difficulty of giving feedback as a manger; Fights, Failures, & Focus.
Remember to always focus on the success of the science, and to let that focus manage your decisions. Remind yourself that the science is the main goal. It will help adjust your mindset about the importance of giving all types of feedback. Believe that it is for the betterment of the research vision.
Aside from the technical skill sets seasoned or novice research assistants can possess, they have 4 traits which can contribute to their work behaviors; motivation, mindset, perspective, and feelings. These dynamic traits can determine the productivity of your lab’s early success.