Suggestions for integrating into your group and working to develop a strong relationship with your PI and daily supervisor.
Developing strong positive relationships with your PI, other research supervisors, and members of the research group will help you thrive at NIH. At the outset, it is important to clarify three functions provided by your PI and other senior leaders in your research group:
Supervision - Making sure work gets done, setting assignments, and focusing on the needs of the group.
Mentorship - Supporting the scientific, personal, and professional needs of individuals. Mentorship functions are sometimes in conflict with the overall needs of the team or supervisor; appreciating the potential for tension in these two domains is critical.
Advocacy - Speaking up on behalf of an individual in the group to support their career advancement. Advocacy generally happens later in a relationship especially as it develops in healthy ways.
Your PI and other supervisors provide all three of these functions, especially when it comes to your development as a scientist. However, one person cannot meet all of your needs and it important to cultivate relationships with other mentors and advocates. To help you build positive relationships with your PI and others who can support you, we offer guidance in four areas:
Understand and establish expectations
Guidance on what you should expect, and what it expected of you.
Integrate into your research group
Tips for success and common issues during the transition to a new work environment.
Develop a network of mentors
Advice on how to expand your mentor support system.
Where to turn when issues arise
Resources and guidance for navigating workplace conflict.