Article focused on PhD candidates: the most common pitfall is to think that if you are academically exceptional you will turn to be a great manager. That’s an erroneous thought. During my career I’ve came across extremely talented scientists who were a complete fail in terms of managing.
Here the main reasons:
Dealing with people is not like dealing with spreadsheets
Most PhD candidates tend to have technical approach when managing people. Soft skills like communication, leadership, motivation, managerial courage are key during building and developing teams. The technical skills will be relevant at the initial phase of your career when you need to show mastery of the functional domain you are leading. At more advanced phases, the soft skills will prevail and deliver higher impact on your career development. Some soft skills can be learned using case studies based on real situations. I recommend you to have a look at these: Case Studies for PhDs in the Pharma Industry
The future cannot be analyzed
PhD candidates are very strong analytical thinkers. Hypothesis testing, data processing, drawing conclusions from complex data is the routine while working on a scientific project. In business, very often managers need to make some decisions in context ambiguity. The ability to evaluate scenarios (using the analytical skills) combined with the control and understanding of emotional factors (emotional intelligence) will definitely play a more important role than data crunching only.
Lack of team skills
it is very rare to find a research lab in the academia where the staff are exceptionally working as a team. Why? Because each individual has his/her own interest. The research outcomes of a thesis is mostly rated based on individual contribution rather than overall team efforts. There are few cases where several universities and/or research centers cooperate, however the final rating during the thesis defense is attributed to the individual contribution of the candidate. This article exemplifies the main mistakes done by PhDs: Main Mistakes made by PhDs with their Dissertation. Traditional education lack the framework to evaluate performance based on teamwork.
Most PhD candidates still lack self-awareness
PhD candidates are usually above-average smart people. The issue of being extremely smart is to think you do not have much to improve and the world is yours. Self-awareness is the first step for the continuous improvement. The ability to reflect on own strengths and weakness, to acknowledge constructive feedback and to use it as a tool to work to improve yourself will determine how much you are able to grow in comparison to your competitors. This article indicates the steps to bridge the gap to the industry: 5 Things You Should Do In Order To Bridge the Gap between the Bench and the Industry
If you identify yourself with this situation, we compiled a guidance document to help PhD candidates to transition to the industry: Ultimate Guide to Secure a Job Offer and to Negotiate your Salary.