Mentoring Thought of the Day

I find myself increasingly trying to hold back and let the trainees have the ideas.

Meaning when I'm discussing one of the projects with a postdoc or two, there are gonna be a lot of ideas that we all could possibly arrive at in the discussion.

I think I used to just ramrod ahead with my ideas and let them state theirs if they could get a word in edgewise. Now I try to hold back more. Let them say the more obvious, and not so obvious, ideas in their own ways.

I am uncertain if I am getting older, better* at mentoring, worse** at mentoring or if it even matters.

*recognizing the power and "style" differential?

**babying them?

7 responses so far

  • This is one of the advantages of having more stuff going on in the lab than the PI can keep an eye on at the experiment-by-experiment level.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    Well, that is more on the "can't" side, PP. Agreed there. But that doesn't require any holding back....

  • BugDoc says:

    I think it is a great mentoring approach to let your students and postdocs lead the discussion on their data and ideas before weighing in yourself. I also agree that it's really hard when you see a really cool result and have 25 ideas for a new model or next step!!!

  • Pinko Punko says:

    I think holding back a little is probably the right way to go mentoring. You have enough experience you will always be 20 steps ahead and in your enthusiasm you might take all the "eureka" moments away from the students if they can never get there first.

    I'm saying this to you but I am really saying this to myself.

  • Exactly. My own ignorance is my friend!

  • drugmonkey says:

    Don't get me wrong, CPP, some of the greatest experiences as a lab head are those when the postdocs are dreaming up and doing kewl stuff that the PI didn't think of yet.

    I'm just talking about those other situations....

  • Dude, don't underestimate the power of my ignorance!

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