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Press Start: Lead an Empowered Life as a Clinical Laboratorian

Do You Practice the Olympic Spirit?

Published August 14, 2012 8:27 PM by Glen McDaniel

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London just ended. I joined billions of people around the globe to watch sports from track and field to BMX racing and many in between.

Not surprisingly, there were the stars and record breakers. US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian ever with an unprecedented 19 medals earned over his Olympic career.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt clinched the evasive so called "double-triple" by winning three sprint races at two consecutive Olympics

The world was in awe. But not everyone was happy about the feats of these and other phenomenal athletes.  Former athlete Carl Lewis went to great pains to suggest that Bolt might be drug-enhanced, so to speak. He was not too enthused at Bolt breaking Lewis' own record.

Even the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge chimed in to suggest it might be premature to put Bolt on  a pedestal.

Gymnast Gabby Douglas surmounted personal and professional odds to represent the US and come away with two record-setting gold medals. Yet this 16 year old was not just lauded but also engendered a social media war about (of all things) how she wore her hair!

Often missed, or only slightly touched on by the press, were real evidence of the Olympic spirit at play.  One such was double amputee Oscar Pistorius of South Africa who made history by using his prosthetic legs to compete against the world's best able bodied runners. Several Arab countries had female athletes represented for the first time. There were several incidences of athletes helping each other and socializing despite traditional enmity between their countries.

The reaction of the naysayers reminds me of what happens in many of our organizations. Often, there are only a very few recognized stars despite the hard work of many who work diligently and professionally every day. The stars are seen as exceptional, while others are hardly more than drones.Then there is the need some feel to always take others down a notch rather than celebrating their successes.

Sometimes in criticizing others, the impression is given that the entire laboratory department is incompetent-or the speaker is the only one who is capable. What message does this send to others on the healthcare team? How does this advance the interests of the medical laboratory science profession?

How much does your organization recognize the quiet heroes? Have you thought about pointing out achievements even when they rival yours; or when they threaten to "dethrone" you?

The Olympic spirit is ideally about individuals from various backgrounds working together, contributing their various strengths, recognizing successes and minimizing differences. Just about every lab I know could do some work towards adopting that sort of spirit in the workplace.  Think about it.


What about those bosses who you never see or hear from unless you are in trouble? I had a director who would only appear at meetings. He said we got paid to do our jobs and should not expect any extra praise.

Most people just try to find someone to blame when something goes wrong.

Roman Carter August 16, 2012 3:26 PM
Miami FL

Amen! Never been truer words been said. I think we would be more productive and morale would be better if they spent more time recognizing the typical employee.

It is OK to have employee of the year and all that but no one ever says thanks for the job we do every day. They are quick to find fault and to discipline and make an example of someone but no one hears when you give up your lunch or your day off to amke suere the lab runs well. thank you for writing this.

Belinda Johnson August 15, 2012 6:48 PM
Queens NY

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