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Three Tips to Boost Team Engagement and Performance

Laboratory leaders should aim to create an environment where team members feel valued and motivated to reach their highest potential

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Tywauna Wilson

Tywauna Wilson is an accomplished medical laboratory leader, author of "Some Leaders Wear Lab Coats," and co-host of the "eLABorate Topics" podcast. As founder and president of Trendy Elite Coaching...

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Lona Small

With nearly 40 years in medical lab science and over 20 years spearheading transformative projects, Lona Small, bring invaluable experience to the realm of medical lab leadership. As the founder...

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Stephanie Whitehead

Stephanie Whitehead is the Executive Director of Pathology Services at a prominent health system in South Texas and the esteemed co-host of the renowned podcast "eLABorate Topics". With a focus...

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Leadership is essential to the success of any laboratory team. It can make the difference between success and failure. Effective laboratory leaders can drive employee engagement and improve team performance by following certain strategies for guiding, motivating, and connecting with team members. 

In this article, we offer three tips to help laboratory leaders create an environment where team members feel valued and motivated to reach their highest potential. 

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1. Set clear expectations and goals

Ensure that your employees know what is expected of them and how their performance will be measured. As a leader, take the time to establish and develop clear and concise objectives so that everyone is on the same page. 

The SMART Goal framework provides a great template for leaders to follow when setting employee goals. Following this method will provide a well-structured path for employees and provide a blueprint for success. 

Unforeseen circumstances may arise that require your team to change its course of action, so it’s important to remain agile and be willing to adjust expectations and goals when needed.

2. Create a supportive work environment

Fostering a healthy work environment is key to driving engagement and performance. Equip your team with updated resources and technology, and support their professional growth through continuous learning opportunities. 

Prioritize work-life balance with flexible hours and mental health initiatives. Maintain open communication, ensuring staff feel heard and valued. Recognize and reward achievements regularly. 

Emphasize a safe, collaborative culture and manage workloads to prevent burnout. Offer stress management resources and champion a diverse, inclusive workplace. This approach not only boosts morale but also enhances the quality of work, which is vital to practicing laboratory medicine.

3. Lead by example

To effectively inspire your lab team, you must act as a role model they can look up to. Demonstrate your commitment by being thorough, visible, and showing a genuine passion and interest in your work and team. 

Engaged leaders, consistently look for ways to actively participate in lab activities, and contribute to an “in this together” culture. This approach will not only build a foundation of trust but also encourages your team to follow suit. 

When you lead by example, your team is more likely to be motivated and committed. This fosters a high-achieving lab environment where everyone strives to give their best, resulting in quality patient care. 

Inspiring and guiding your lab team

Effective laboratory leadership is pivotal for driving employee engagement and enhancing team performance. Leading well is more than just managing tasks; it's about inspiring and guiding a team toward excellence. By leading by example, setting clear expectations using the SMART Goal framework, and creating a supportive work environment, leaders can cultivate a culture of excellence and collaboration. These three tips will not only motivate team members to reach their highest potential but also foster a productive and positive laboratory environment. Embracing these approaches will help your team navigate challenges successfully and achieve innovation in your laboratory. By utilizing these tips laboratory leaders have a great opportunity to improve morale, encourage collaboration, and maximize team performance.


Tywauna Wilson, Lona Small, and Stephanie Whitehead will be featured speakers during the clinical lab track of the 2024 Lab Manager Leadership Summit, taking place April 29-May 1 in Denver, CO.  Together, they will host a seminar expanding on the topics discussed here, as well as the role of psychological safety in enabling lab staff to thrive. 
This flagship event is dedicated to lab professionals who are eager to boost their skills and advance their careers. Learn more and register at: summit.labammager.com/leadership.