What are the traits of a good biomedical department head?
We all know that any department head in our profession must have knowledge of biomedical instrumentation and its applications, but what other traits are necessary? Listed below are some that I think are important.
Work Like A Manager
If you want to be a great manager, you must learn to spend time managing. That means you take off your technician or engineer’s hat and put on your manager’s hat. Good managers let their technicians perform the day to day work of the department. Instead of rushing off to service calls, good managers spend time managing to assure that department technicians have every possible resource to do their best work.
Long Range Vision
You must have long range vision for your department objectives and a plan for how you will achieve them. This might include the range of new services that you want to provide to your institution and committees on which you would like to serve. If you don’t have a vision and a plan, your department will not have any direction and someone else will ultimately determine what happens to you.
You must be prepared to lead. Good managers are leaders who not only are capable of leading their own department members, but also are capable of influencing and leading other departments. Without leadership and an ability to influence others, your department will not grow.
You must be a good communicator. If you wish to influence others, you must develop good writing and speaking skills. Your speaking skills should include a thorough mastery of power point. If you lack speaking skills, consider joining a group like toastmasters where others like yourself have the opportunity to build their confidence as they develop speaking skills.
Creative thinking or “thinking out of the box” enables you to find innovative ways to achieve your objectives. If you think creatively, you do not have to take “No” for an answer. You learn that the word “No” just means that it is time to find another way to get what you want. Reading about how people in other professions and industries have solved problems can give you great examples of innovative ways to approach problems.
Planning and achieving your objectives sometimes can take years and multiple approaches. Patience gives you the ability to stick with your plans.
Ability To Delegate
Effective leaders are willing to delegate responsibility to others and trust them to do the job correctly. Delegating means standing back and letting others prove themselves and their ideas without your intervention.
Willingness To Hire The Best
If you want your department to grow you must be willing to hire people who are the best at what they do. Look for people whose technological knowledge and skills are superior to yours.
I am certain that there are many other important traits, but these are some that come to mind.
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