Leadership and management are general skills that apply in most walks of life, but in the scientific domain they require some special characteristics. Science thrives on challenge, whether it is the technical challenge of trying to do something which has not been done before or challenging a widely held but poorly supported hypothesis. Scientists are trained to challenge, and for the manager of science this can itself be a challenge. In the past, when science was on a much smaller scale and less subject to public scrutiny, a less formal 'back-of-the-envelope' management style was acceptable, but those days are long-gone. Science costs much more and is rightly more accountable. Excellent scientists, however, do not necessarily make good managers and may not make good leaders. Nevertheless, like all skills, leadership and management can be enhanced and developed and even instinctively good managers can improve.
While the science of management and leadership is well developed, the management and leadership of science is less so. This book aims to introduce the working research scientist to the art and techniques of management and the skills necessary to be a good and effective manager and leader of science and scientists. This includes understanding the organization and functioning of scientific research establishments (universities, laboratories, research councils, etc.) and how to deal with the associated committee work, recruiting, and team building; how to deal with difficulties managing projects and handling risks. The approach is pragmatic not dogmatic. Leadership and management are people skills, and each person is different and needs to be treated differently. The focus is on the principle and practice. While the subject is serious, the approach is conversational, with anecdotes and practical examples.