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Group of scientists celebrating and high-fiving each other
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Three Keys to Celebrating More Effectively

How to improve morale by improving celebrations

Scott D. Hanton, PhD

Labs constantly execute detailed scientific work. Much of this work is difficult, highly detail-oriented, and often is new research dealing with technical uncertainties. Good scientists and lab managers often spend time problem-solving and studying experiments that didn’t generate the desired results. We get used to focusing on the things that don’t work and spend too little time or attention celebrating the things that work properly. This focus on the problems can lead to a pessimistic outlook on the work in the lab and can lead to an environment that puts more emphasis on what is going wrong than on what is going right.

However, a little time celebrating the successes in the lab can have a big impact on lab staff and their morale. Everyone appreciates a little recognition for the hard work, significant effort, and good ideas that drive the successful lab. Improving at celebrations can bring significant benefits to the lab and the work environment. Here are three tips to improve celebrating in your lab. 

#1 – More thank yous

 “Thank you” might be the most important phrase in the lab. It provides an opportunity to recognize staff for something done right or done well. It ensures that staff know that their work is recognized and allows lab managers to have a personal interaction with every staff member. 

#2 – Celebrate little successes

Too often we wait until we have a big success to celebrate. This wastes too many opportunities to celebrate all the little successes. Little successes occur often. Celebrating them drives a more positive culture for the lab and ensures that everyone can participate in the celebrations. Ignoring them makes staff question their visibility and importance to lab management. 

#3 – Bring food

Humans bond over shared effort and shared food. Lead by example and bring in some tasty treats to share during celebrations. Free food offers a way to bring everyone in to participate in the celebration. It doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Some cookies, brownies, donuts, or healthy snacks will be appreciated. Bonding over the food and the celebration goes a long way to building stronger work relationships, which will drive future success and more opportunities to celebrate. 

Thanks for reading. I hope you can use this information. I am very interested in hearing from you. If you have feedback or comments on this set of tips, or suggestions for future Manager Minutes, I'd love to hear from you. Please reach out to me at shanton@labmanager.com. I'm looking forward to our conversations. Thanks.