Become an Effective Leader: 5 Techniques Practiced by these Famous Scientists


Scientists are typically judged on their ability to innovate, but it is more important than ever for ambitious STEM professionals to cultivate their leadership skills as well. Some of the greatest scientific minds in history have realized this same fact, and they have passed along wisdom that can help guide your career path and make you a strong leader in addition to an accomplished scientist.

Bill Gates

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”

Few people understand the overlap between science and commerce better than Bill Gates. This quote illustrates the importance of providing your team with constructive criticism and ongoing feedback. Good leaders have to make their expectations clear, and then continually judge the effectiveness of a project. Without this kind of input, it’s unreasonable to think that things will improve.

Louis Pasteur

“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My only strength lies in my tenacity.”

This quote reaffirms the importance of leading by example. As a manager of scientists, you have the twin obligation to delegate responsibility while also setting a positive example for your subordinates. If you don’t embody the same qualities that you expect to see in your team, you compromise your ability to lead with respect and authority.

Thomas Edison

“Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something.”

Edison is one of the greatest innovators of all time, and his quote reveals a lot about his character. Scientific innovation requires your to focus on the future, not the past or the present. And rather than focusing on what is probable, you have to stretch the limits of what is possible. Good leaders motivate their team to go above and beyond, even if it means foregoing conventions.

Jonas Saulk

“The reward for work well done is the opportunity to do more.”

Salulk’s quote teaches us the value of rewards. It is not enough to simply ask your team to do more, you have to create a frame work in which improvement is paired with incentives. That could mean more compensation, the opportunity to advance, or other perks.

Marie Curie

“I was taught that the way of progress is neither swift nor easy.”

Leaders must be patient, as Marie Curie learned over her distinguished career. As a leader, it is your responsibility to accelerate the pace of progress while also being realistic about what is possible. If your expectations are unreasonable, you will disenfranchise your team and compromise the goals of your project.

No one ever said being a scientific leader is easy. But if your learn from the lessons of the past, you can better navigate the challenges of the future. Work with the recruitment specialists at Bayside Solutions to learn more about becoming an effective leader and find the scientists you’re looking for.