How To Be a Research Manager

  1. Make sure you never walk into a plane and turn right. If queried by your subordinates, give a fatuous excuse that this is necessary in order to do all the work you will have to do on the plane.
  2. It is essential that you have an office large enough for your managerial duties such as: interviewing interns, entertaining visiting big-shots, conducting personal performance reviews of your staff, and storing your book collection (funded by your institution).
  3. Encourage your researchers to work in teams. But when it comes time to evaluate their performance, remember that real research is only by individuals. All that matters is your researcher’s “individual contribution” – after all, that is easier for you to assess in the 3 minutes that you should maximally allot to the task.
  4. Researches need dynamic targets if they are to excel. An easy way to achieve this is as follows. If your researchers are very strong on theoretical work, remind them that they should strengthen their applications side. At the next annual review, you should say how important it is to not let their theoretical work slide.
  5. Researchers’ performance is perfectly modelled by a Gaussian distribution. Your performance management system  should reflect this – it should be very unlikely that your researchers deviate from mediocre performance.
  6. All researchers are statistically independent and so you can be sure there will be no communication between them. Thus you can tell them inconsistent things.
  7. You were chosen to be a research manager because of your name and reputation. Thus, you must not confuse the media and your admirers by giving credit to your subordinates – they are there to serve you, not to share in your deserved glory.
  8. Your job as a manager is leadership. Thus when you discover that your organisation is going belly-up, lead the way and depart from the organisation before your subordinates find out.