Managing Expectations

It’s our job to make life easier for the investigators we work for – and we all know this. Deep down though, we all wish that our investigators understood how much work we have to do to accomplish a proposal submission, execute a subcontract, manage a grant or close their project out successfully. To add to this, there isn’t a research administrator on the planet who manages just one investigator. The result? Making it look easy is much harder than it seems!

Five Tips on Managing Expectations with Investigators

1. When asked to meet with an investigator, schedule your meetings within 24-48 hours. You show the that you are responsive, but that you plan your meetings according to your calendar (and if there is something more pressing you can still address it).

2. Use caller ID and voice mail. If you are working on a pressing project, send calls to voice mail, but return them by the end of the day.

3. If asked to handle something by an investigator, provide a realistic deadline that you will complete the item, and provide updates if the deadline moves.

4. Report on what you have accomplished to an investigator, not what you will do.

5. Provide information to the investigator in more than one format (do not rely on verbal communication) but use the format the investigator prefers best. Compose e-mail carefully.

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