When asked to describe the personality of a scientist, some might revert to the Sheldon Cooper stereotype made popular on “The Big Bang Theory” and describe an anti-social, uncreative, analytical and somewhat dull personality.
But Lina Echeverria knows better. As an engineer and scientist with a PhD in geology and more than 30 years of experience as a scientist and a senior manager at Corning, she knows that scientists aren’t dull or uncreative. She knows scientists like to jitterbug. And cook. And collect butterflies.
It’s those more creative attributes of scientists and other workers, she says, that help drive innovation in an organization – and too many companies and leaders are ignoring them to the detriment of the bottom line.
When Echeverria was at Corning, she was known for constantly asking team members how they felt about things, whether it was a project or hobbies in their life. Such conversations often led her to a better understanding of how to help her team members stretch and grow. She learned that technicians – who loved to cook gourmet meals – don’t always have to be assigned to technical roles, and can fit better into a human-relations role.
“Your hobbies let you be unrestrained,” she says. “That’s the same flow of energy you need at work to be innovative. A manager’s job is to discover what you have to offer and then let you unleash it.”
She says she encourages team members “to bring (read more here)