I have recently transitioned from an individual contributor at senior scientist level to a team lead role, where the first task has been to build my own team from scratch. It has been an interesting transition to say the least, as building and leading a team of data scientists is very different from doing data science yourself.
As a part of my 1-2-1 meetings with my senior leaders, it was pointed out that it would be helpful for me to think about my own development as a leader, specifically working on concepts like:
- learning to delegate
- time management and prioritisation
- dealing with stress and resilience
I agree that these areas have been the most difficult in the past months, particularly the first two points essentially leading to the third. Having done the work hands-on previously and in meticulous manner, I find it difficult to "sit back".
- it is often much easier to do so stuff, then to endlessly try and explain what you want done, and to the level of quality you want done.
- in many cases the newly appointed team members (who are typically coming directly from academia, with a PhD or postdoc) are not necessarily capable of navigating the large corporate landscape, so they are often lost trying to sort out how to solve the problems at hand
So either I get to stand for less-than-desired delivery, or I get stretched too thin between all the new administrative/leadership duties, and doing the work together with my team members. Which leads to being constantly behind on schedule and stressed out by overly populated schedule.
I am keen on improving on both my leadership skills, and realise a big chunk of it is likely exposure and experience. However, is there anything in particular I can do to facilitate individual growth on these areas?
Some web searching reveals a large amount of training companies that have many stock photos and big words but seems to me to be more of a money trap than anything else. Any thoughts or advice?