When leaders show fear or other strong emotions, often, those feelings quickly spread to their employees. That’s why it’s so important for leaders, including lab managers, to learn how to control their negative emotions to avoid infecting their workers with anger or doubt, which could drag down productivity.
In a recent Harvard Business Review blog post, “The Contagion of Leadership,” author Justin Menkes identifies two important keys to managers in keeping their personal feelings under control as well as harnessing those emotions in positive ways. Those positive feelings rub off on employees, helping them stay productive and be successful in the face of tough times:
- Put the requirements of your workers and your laboratory ahead of your own feelings.
- Create a straightforward mission statement and focus on it during difficult times.
You can keep yourself and your lab workers on task by taking a few minutes to figure out and clarify what makes your organization’s daily work so important. With that higher cause in mind, any problems you’re facing will naturally become less of a bother and you won’t be as likely to lose your cool. For example, a lab involved in food safety would keep their main goal of protecting people from contaminants in mind rather than letting their thoughts be dominated by challenges such as funding.
As a lab manager, it’s easy to flip out under the pressure of the many responsibilities involved in running and staffing a lab. Staying calm and confident and transferring those feelings to your workers is much more difficult, but it can be done. All you have to do is focus on the reason your lab exists.