Guideline Ten | Be social

10. Build and nurture a social community spirit apart from the research

  "I aim to build team spirit by supporting social events throughout the year  and by celebrating every birthday with a morning or afternoon tea at work. Originally I organized social events myself, but I now leave the details up to group members so that we can enjoy a diverse range of events that reflect the interests of the group, from canoeing  to karaoke". 

"The most useful single thing I've learned is that chocolate biscuits do more for everyone's good humour and enthusiasm than any amount of feelgood talk. The role of blood sugar should probably have been obvious to a biologist from the outset, but I only learned this by experience. Mind you, cheerful and encouraging talk are good too, as also are gin and tonic." 

We are not all social animals and to suggest that we all entertain our groups, go on picnics together or climb mountains is not appropriate. However, amongst the Nature mentee reports were many fond references to "Shakespeare under the stars", ethnic dinners, bird watching days, a jazz band, picnics, video nights, even cake baking. My strategy in community building was to have wine tastings with great wines with good food and soft drink for those who preferred it. The best tastings ever were eventually run by the graduate students!

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