Do You Have What It Takes to Go to Mars? Lead Like an Astronaut in Your Own Office. The team to Mars will be stuck with each other for about nine months in some close and cramped quarters, so there are specific skills and characteristics required to make this mission work.
Most workplaces are, at times, stressful. It comes with the territory. But how do you think you would react if you were stuck with your colleagues for roughly nine months at a time, in some quite close quarters -- with a lot riding on your success or failure.
Those are precisely the conditions under which the first astronauts to head to Mars will be dealing with on their way to the big red planet.
Lauren Blackwell Landon, a psychologist who works at NASA's Johnson Space Center, laid out the skills and traits required of the brave souls that are going to make the trip in a recent paper.
People who are adaptable, agreeable, conscientious, highly emotionally stable, resilient and not overly introverted or extroverted will have the best chance at thriving on board the long journey.
Landon noted that some of the issues that the Mars astronauts will deal with are long stretches without communication with their supervisors back on Earth, meaning that they will have to be very self-directed. Teamwork and collaboration are also key: there must be a strong rapport and trust between the crew members for when conflicts arise from both internal and external sources.
"Successfully negotiating conflict, planning together as a team, making decisions as a team and practicing shared leadership should receive extensive attention long before a team launches on a space mission," Landon explained in a summary of the findings.
What's more, these skills and characteristics for the team to Mars don't sound that far off from what's needed for a strong and harmonious work culture.