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1. Governance and Organizational Dynamics 2. Business and Clinical Operations 3. Financial Management 4. Strategic Planning and Marketing 5. Human Resource Management 6. Quality Management for Patient Safety 7. Information Management and Technology 8. Compliance and Risk Management 9. Medical Decision Support 10. Professional Development

Reproduced with permission from Clinical Laboratory Management Association Body of Knowledge for Medical Laboratory Management, November 2010 Edition.


1. Ability to do it NOW 2. Ability to delegate effectively 3. Not too busy to support/encourage staff 4. Able to prioritize tasks 5. Able to learn from mistakes and move on 6. Are fair when reviewing and assessing employees’ performance 7. Are committed to strong team membership 8. Accept limitations on relationships with employees.

Adapted from an article by Martin Seidenfeld (published 15.5.2009 in Leadership and Staffing/Lab Manager Magazine)

If you are a democratic (participative)

manager, you consult with your subordinates when appropriate and you allow them some degree of participation in the decision-making process. A delegative (laissez-faire) manager allows his or her


group to have complete freedom in the decision-making process and provides minimum or no guidance. It is not surprising that studies have shown negative correlation with leader effectiveness based on the authoritarian and laissez-faire styles. A transformational leadership style (this builds on the democratic style) is shown to be the most effective. Inspirational motivation is the key. Such a leader has a vision and the ability to sell that vision. He mentors and empowers his subordinates. At the Medlab conference I posed this question to the delegates: “Does an excellent medical laboratory technologist necessarily make an effective laboratory manager?” I didn’t except a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer but I certainly received many negative nods. The answer I had on the slide was: “The best leaders are those with the best people skills”. Alice Sapenzia, author of the book ‘Managing Scientists: Leadership Strategies in Scientific Research’ confirmed this in her study. When she surveyed scientists from the US, Europe and Asia and asked them what qualities they most admired in a scientific leader, the three top answers, in this order, were:  Caring and compassionate  Possess management skills  Demonstrate technical skill. If you are looking for the common traits

of the best manager I strongly recommend Martin Seidenfeld’s article (see table 2). An easy trap to fall into with laboratory

management is to micromanage your staff. Low employee morale, high staff turnover, reduction of productivity and patient dissatisfaction can all be associated with micromanagement. It is important to equip and empower your staff so that you can trust

them. Mentoring is showing them how to do it and not insisting on doing it for them. Over the years I have read extensively

concerning leadership. I have listened to many speakers and received a lot of advice. As a leader, I have also made mistakes on the way. It seems to me that at least the following four qualities are essential for

“An easy trap to fall into with laboratory management is to micromanage”

effective leadership. It is important to have vision. Someone told me once that without vision we perish. Unless your values are clear and specific, you cannot hope to reach measurable targets. An effective leader is humble. If you are humble, you are able to learn and grow. You will be genuinely interested in your team and you will be a more effective listener. An effective leader will persevere to get results. This means continually focusing on your team’s needs and strengths. And finally, be yourself. It is useful to know about different leadership styles. It is good to admire great leaders. But ultimately, you have to apply yourself to the job. This means an honest evaluation of your style and a willingness to adapt, and perhaps change, it successfully. ■


 REFERENCES References available on request (


Part 2 of this article will feature in the next issue of Medlab magazine.

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