Leading Technology Transfer Professionals: Quality #8: Empowered

You show me an office full of tech transfer professionals that fear their director/VP and I’ll show you an underperforming office. Don’t believe me, then you are probably that Machiavellian leader or someone lucky/selective enough to work with/under someone that understands what it takes to grow an effective office in this profession. You see, the best technology transfer offices are increasingly becoming less about paper-pushing and more about developing commercial relationships and developing new ventures—fewer processing agents and more innovation catalysts. And in this “world”, empowerment, not fear, creates leading technology transfer professionals.

Empowerment is something that must be both given by leaders and earned by employees. From my experience, empowerment is triggered by a combination the following three factors in the tech transfer environment:

  • Trust: A bond built between leader and employee based on successful demonstration of work ethic, judgment, and past record
  • Confidence: Leaders must be strong enough to give up some control and the employee must be willing to take and so something with it
  • Resource necessity: Sometimes leaders may not have the money, time, or skill sets required to lead in particular areas or initiatives. Empowerment of those employees with the capability to help is a necessity

Whether you are a tech transfer professional assessing your current or future situation, or an office leader seeking ways to signal empowerment, here are three some possible things to look for:

  • Meeting structure: What are the meeting formats and schedule. Too many meetings, with low levels of active participation, structured like a entry-level college lecture, may signal micromanagement
  • Press Coverage: Does the employee or leader receive the quote in a delegated initiative? Leading by empowerment means publically rewarding those employees that succeed in their responsibilities
  • Website/Office Directory: I’ve observed that there is a statistically (in)significant correlation between some of the best functioning offices and where their leaders position themselves in the employee directory—part of team vs hierarchal. Something that may seem insignificant can signal much to employees and the outside world

Looking for quality candidates or seeking your next opportunity? Contact me directly, Glen Gardner at glen@vortechsgroup.com. Visit us anytime at https://vortechsgroup.com

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