Lab Manager | Run Your Lab Like a Business

The Human Side of Business

Is there any other side of business? We say no.

by Pamela Ahlberg
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“What other side is there?,” asks Dean Lindsay in this month’s Lab Manager Academy article.

Answer: There is no other side.

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Business success depends upon people. Lab managers who fail to acknowledge the importance of their staff and see to it that they are paid fairly, acknowledged, and challenged, do so at their peril. “Leaders who do not take the individual into account and do not plan for the human side of progress often find themselves scratching their heads about where their plans went wrong,” says Lindsay.

Our September issue looks at all aspects of the human side of running a lab, beginning with our cover story, in which lab managers discuss their greatest sources of job satisfaction. No surprise that the answers vary widely depending upon the individual and their particular responsibilities.

“Once you engage with the staff or upper management, [the discussions] keep growing, and I think that—being collaborative and professional, and treating people with respect—is really the key to all of it,” says Paul Colonna of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

For lab manager Becky Martin, job satisfaction comes with what she calls “halo moments,” when her staff understands their mission and embraces it with enthusiasm.

Participants in this year’s Salary & Employee Satisfaction survey identified other sources of job satisfaction, including salary, benefits, coworker and management relationships, workplace flexibility, and opportunities for advancement. Job satisfaction is obviously not one-size-fits-all. However, based on what we learned from our survey participants and those interviewed for the cover story, job satisfaction does rely heavily on human relationships.

Another important component of the human side of business is the role of networking. “Enhancing your skills, getting feedback on your performance, interacting with co-workers and management, having a social presence, and increasing your certifications all fold into the networking equation,” says Mark Lanfear in this month’s Science Matters.

“By being proactive in your networking approaches and setting achievable goals, you can build a professional network with mutually beneficial relationships for future career success,” says Donna Kridelbaugh in this month’s Leadership & Staffing article on the same topic.

A similar sentiment is echoed in this month’s Insights on Pesticide Analysis, in which International Food Safety Training Laboratory manager, Janie Dubois, discusses the reasons her company works hard to help analysts build their networks. “A conversation over coffee can save two months in the lab.”

Humans, coffee, networks, relationships, business success. Bingo!

Pamela Ahlberg