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Leadership: An Interview by Colleen T Hinrichsen, MT(ASCP) SBB, DLM

By Jessica Lawless posted 07-19-2020 21:50


Leadership in the lab…

I believe that being a successful leader does not come always come naturally, it is learned activity that can be fine-tuned during your career and life. I wanted to know what some of my colleagues thought about leaders they encountered during their careers, and so I asked them 3 basic questions. Here’s what some of them had to say…

Harry Ryttenberg, MLT generalist

What does a good leader mean to you?

A good leader leads by example, doesn’t micromanage as a rule, and is concerned with the well-being of not only the department, but his/her employees as well. A good leader communicates clearly and often and follows through on the issues that are brought to them in a timely manner. A good leader understands the details of what day to day life is like “in the trenches” and makes sure that their employees have the tools they need to perform their tasks properly. Most importantly, they treat their employees as valued colleagues and will always go to bat for them when needed.

What advice has a good leader shown you over your career?

When learning a new skill, concern yourself with being accurate and detail oriented. Speed will come later through repetition.

If you have any advice for future leaders, what would that be?

There is an old managerial saying: “People don’t quit a job, they quit a boss.” Strive to be a champion for your employees.  Treat them with respect and take care of them and they will take care of the business. Be a leader that your employees want to work for.


Lisa Shave, MLT Program Coordinator

What does a good leader mean to you?

A “leader” is not always someone who holds a special title. Some leaders may not even realize that they are “leading”. Good leaders share similar qualities- stimulates interest and brings others together to share in a vision or common goal, is transparent and communicates clearly and effectively, upholds integrity and ignites passion for moving forward and looks for progress in all of those who look [up] to them.

What advice has a good leader shown you over your career?

Coaching is a leadership style that can be described as the embracement of partnership and collaboration. For example, early in my career, a veteran medical laboratory scientist provided me with some directives that pushed me and allowed me to fulfill my potential. She guided me so that I learned from errors, and remembered not to make them again in the future. I find that good leaders constantly motivate and support you, and so there is little room for discontentment. I will always be eternally grateful to this tech-who is still my colleague today-for having led me in this fashion during my early career, a time when I was most vulnerable.

If you have any advice for future leaders, what would that be?

It is important to remember that leadership is not static. It is a very dynamic process with many moving parts: the group, the environment and the task/goal/vision. It is okay to NOT have all the answers. It is okay to utilize the strengths of others within the group. The climate or the environment can be steered by you, but you want to ensure that you take time to hear everyone’s concerns and suggestions. There are going to be challenges as you aim for your achievements, but you are never alone to tackle and overcome these feats. Always be the one that promotes growth.


Deborah Blecker-Shelly, MS, SMcm Microbiology Supervisor

What does a good leader mean to you?

Someone who is empathetic, approachable and consistent in how they manage staff.  Someone with good critical thinking skills that sees the big picture and does not have a narrow view of a situation.  Someone who empowers individuals and mentors them to grow professionally and personally. A good communicator that sets clear expectations, is credible and demonstrates the behaviors they expect.  A good leader must have integrity, be honest, and always do the right thing.


What advice has a good leader shown you over your career?

That it’s ok to not have all of the answers.  To never stop learning.  To treat people with respect and be an advocate for their team.


If you have any advice for future leaders, what would that be?

Listen well and be empathetic.  Seek ideas from those on the front lines – they often know best what is needed operationally. Check your ego at the door. Network.  Take risks.  Be accountable.

1 comment



07-19-2020 23:13

Love this!