In Part 1 of my Processes, People and Teams series, I talked about Processes, so now I’ll talk about People…
People. People who need people…wait, this is not a song (sorry Barbra). I won’t sing. An organization’s people are their most important assets. A crisis has a tendency to bring out the best and the worst in people. This is true for staff, managers and leaders. If the organization has made investments in development, leadership training and learning, you will have strong, experienced leaders who have had the chance to learn, form their leadership style and make mistakes when the stakes are lower. Accordingly, when it’s time for them to be tested, they will most likely shine.
Just as with processes, if there are gaps in operational experience, deficiencies in leadership competencies and interpersonal deficits which have gone unchecked, these people issues will only be magnified when the stress is high.
The life of a healthcare leader is a busy one; and one that is often very challenging. There are the crises of the day, fires to put out all the time, a never-ending list of projects, presentations to draft, budgets to prepare. Staff development and building the succession pipeline often gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list (and sometimes cut from the budget) because it’s often not a burning fire a leader can spot immediately. It’s in times of crisis when the investment in people proves its value; or when the lack of investment becomes obvious.
As a leader, now that the dust has settled a bit, it is the time to take a hard look at your people: How are they leading? Is it in alignment with the values of your organization? How are you developing your people and providing opportunities for their growth?
Perhaps you noticed some of your folks really stepped up during the pandemic and exhibited leadership potential that was unnoticed until now. How are you going to put these high-potentials forward in the succession pipeline? Do you even have a succession pipeline? If you don’t now is the time to start! It costs more to recruit and hire good new people than to retain the good ones your currently have. If high-potentials aren’t given a clear path to what’s next, they are likely to seek grass that looks greener.
You need the right people in the right positions to lead your organization through the next crisis. If it has been made clear that one (or more) of your people is not working out, or is not performing, what action are you going to take? How are you going to help them to be successful? If it is time to move certain people into a different part of the organization, or they no longer belong in the organization, how are you going to move them along with kindness and compassion; with an eye toward helping them become their best professional selves?
For the next emerging crisis, you need people who can also work together as a team…sounds obvious, right? But what does that really mean? I’ll talk about that in Part 3 of my Processes, People and Teams series.