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In good times and bad: Five keys to great leadership

March 10, 2021
From the March 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Leaders should be approachable and available to any staff members who may have suggestions or questions about the direction the HTM department is moving in. In some cases, an individual may just need to talk, and it is time well spent to listen. I have always been drawn to leaders that were down to earth and willing to listen to my concerns or questions. I wanted to be that type of leader and really worked to be my authentic self when leading or directing the team during any situation. Being your true self as a leader is tricky but with experience and maturity you find your voice and it is a much more rewarding experience.

Direct communication is of upmost importance when it comes to reporting up to senior leadership. There is absolutely nothing gained by holding back information or skewing the information reported. Being transparent will build trust and respect within your organization as you and your HTM department will be looked upon as a group that can be trusted to do the right thing during time of crisis.

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It’s also worth noting that if the HTM department at your facility is not at critical meetings or invited to command centers during adverse times, now is the time to get that invite. Even if you have to find a creative way to get inside the room… It is too important to be left out of those meetings.

Leading by example
As I’ve already said, leadership should be consistent. Nothing is more confusing to the staff than a leader who is invisible or passive when things are going well then runs around like their hair is on fire during a crisis. If your leader was acting completely different during a time of real crisis and did not explain or communicate why the change, how would that make you feel about the tasks at hand? Urgency or timelines may change, but that is much easier to understand if it is communicated in a clear and direct way. We all deal with stress differently, but having a leader whose behavior is consistent makes the tasks at hand more manageable, whereas stress can make achieving goals more difficult.

I believe leading from the front is a very impactful and effective way to lead. While delegating is an essential skill that leaders must possess, it is always appreciated when a leader can work alongside the staff to accomplish specific goals. This is most evident when the department is in crisis mode; having a leader who will roll up their sleeves and get to work is essential to the staff feeling supported. Leading by example also means being able to communicate feelings. Sometimes it is very difficult for a leader to show vulnerability, but possessing that quality is actually a sign of strength because we’re all human and we all need help sometimes. If leaders expect staff be honest with them then they should do the same in return.

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