Can Darth Vader be a good mentor?
So far, the lockdown is being a bittersweet experience. On one side, working from home is being challenging with a 10-month old demanding so much attention (although my partner takes care of her half of the day so as I can work, there are still biological needs that daddy cannot attend). On the other side, it´s being great to be able to slow down and dedicate some time to the things that we have been neglecting a little bit because of our hectic lifes. One of these things is reflecting on leadership and mentorship.
Yesterday I had a skype meeting with a prospective postdoc candidate. We spent quite a bit of time chatting about the lab atmosphere and structure, and my mentoring style. I referred him to our webpage section 'Lab Phylosophy', where I tried to convey how important mentoring is to maintain a healthy and productive lab, and how we make it happen in the lab. After the meeting, I felt happy. I felt accomplished. The essence of all the leadership workshops I attended in the last years, of all the reflections about my PhD and postdoc advisors' styles (about the things that I wanted to keep for my future lab and the things that wouldn´t work for me) and of all the books and papers I had read on the topic were finally crystalized in a clearly defined leadership strategy that I´m proud of. And it couldn´t feel better.
That same afternoon, a friend of mine sent me this picture from one of the movies of Star Wars. I couldn´t help noticing how well it summarizes the type of mentor I want to be: a little bit like Darth Vader, after all.