Surrender your angst

By Michelle Davis posted 09-11-2020 08:17


Research administration can be one of the most frustrating fields.  Working with stakeholders who have no knowledge of or no wish to follow operational guidelines can be a struggle.  The word compliance to an investigator can sometimes mean, ‘restriction’, ‘block’, or ‘barrier’ to their ultimate goals in their study.

The true job of an RA is to maneuver the boundaries of regulatory compliance and institutional guidance in such a way as to allow smooth passage for their stakeholders to complete their tasks.

This is our ultimate goal.  The one that brings us the gold star of acceptance and support in our institutions.  We provide a service through a delicate and complex system of fundamental guidelines and internal system controls.  We are the mediators, the expeditors.  We understand and manage the complexities of the grants process at our institutions and organizations.

I write about this as often we find ourselves mired in the mundane and so focused on our tasks that we forget our purpose.  I want to encourage all RAs new and veteran to take time when you feel that frustration and stress rising to step away from the problem for a short period.  Remember you are the expert, the one with the skills and knowledge to accomplish the goal.  You can do this.     

I want to share some books that have helped me in my practice to ‘surrender my angst’ when working with stakeholders, everchanging process, and systems.

  • “People Smart”, by Mel Siberman
  • “People Skills: How to Assert Yourself, Listen to Others, and Resolve Conflicts”, by Robert Bolton
  • “Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard”, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  • “The Things you can See only when you Slow Down”, by Haemin Sunim
  • “Goodbye, Things” by Fumio Sasaki

I post this in the hope that others in the community will also begin to post their thoughts so that we can all benefit and become part of a greater network.

Be Strong – Be Happy – Be Confident




09-24-2020 10:43

Hi Michelle,
I just noticed this blog posting as I was bopping around the communities.  Thank you for sharing these resources. I look forward to investigating them.  Good ideas shared here!