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5 Leadership Tips for Weathering Tough Times with Your Team

Posted on Wed, May 25, 2016
5 Leadership Tips for Weathering Tough Times with Your Team

By Ginger Wirth, RN
 
On a recent flight from Houston to Dallas I was stalled on the tarmac for almost 3 hours due to a horrible series of storms. When we finally were able to take off, I looked out of the window of the plane as we made our way into the sky and noticed the changes in the atmosphere. I saw the dark grey sky, storms and rain, change into just dark clouds, then white cotton-like puffs and eventually transforming into a majestic blue sky. It took the ascent to almost 30,000 feet to escape what was happening on the ground – a weather disaster to tranquility. How often do we get caught up in what is happening "on the surface" that we forget to see what is above us? Can we find calm, blue skies if we simply push past what surrounds us?
 
It’s easy to be stuck in the “thunderstorm” of what is going on around us. We feel the cold rain on our face, feel the shaking boom of the thunder and the flash of lightning. We conclude that it’s a "force of nature" and we have no control or recourse. We simply concede and eventually accept it as so. Inevitably it “the storm” will pass, but what happens when we simply choose to only live in that moment? Many times we get sucked into the darkness of the storm, and sometimes fail to see the positives or the opportunities that may hidden within.
 
In times like this, we as leaders have the unique opportunity to bring the team up to that 30,000-foot level.

 

  1. Recognize the situation. Don't ignore the potential flood that may be heading your way. Use this as a chance to rise above it. Encourage your informal leaders to step up and support their efforts. You would be surprised to see them shine when they know that you believe in them in times like this! Encourage those who are "on the fence" to participate in solutions to get through the challenge. It’s highly likely that you will find some new or undiscovered talent right in front of you!

  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Make sure that your team is aware of what’s happening. Don't assume that they know what’s going on even if they are in the middle of it. Make sure that all are aware of the solutions and the steps that are being implemented. Remember, teams are more stressed when they don't know what’s going on or don't know what’s being done to address it.

  3. Learn from each and every situation. Go back and dissect what happened. Recognize opportunities for improvement, solicit feedback from all members of the team, and duplicate and celebrate what went right. Behaviors will be repeated when there is positive reinforcement faster than when the focus is on what went wrong.

  4. Focus on the future. Make sure that the team knows that there are blue skies ahead. They need to believe that they will reach the goals, that this dark time will not be the norm. If for some reason it’s happening more frequently, they need to know that there will be a solution, and, when appropriate, that they can participate in that solution.

  5. Be an advocate and champion for change. Challenges will happen. It’s how we approach them and deal with them that will make the difference. Leading by example is always a good strategy. 

This concept can be applied to so many instances: personal, professional and leadership. Remember that once you break through that storm ceiling, there will be blue skies and calm winds ahead. How we prepare, react and deal with the blustering weather makes all the difference! It’s essential that you, as the leader, be the pilot, engage the team and help the team fly high and reach their potential! 
 
“Rise to the challenge of bringing your dreams to life! Do not be discouraged by resistance, be nourished by it. Success is the experience of rising to the level of your true greatness.” Dr. Steve Maraboli
 
Ginger Wirth

Ginger Wirth, RN, joined EmCare in 2013 as a Divisional Director of Clinical Services for the Alliance Group. Her goal is to make positive changes in healthcare by helping others focus on quality, excellence, and the overall patient experience. Wirth regards her role as Director of Clinical Services as the ideal opportunity to partner with nursing, physician and facility leaders to make positive changes to the entire patient care experience. Her 20-plus year nursing career has been dedicated to quality and excellence, promoting overall positive outcomes and safety for patients.

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Studer Spotlight: Developing and Empowering Front Line Leaders

Posted on Tue, Nov 24, 2015
Studer Spotlight: Developing and Empowering Front Line Leaders

Since 2010, EmCare has maintained a strong partnership with Studer Group to improve clinical and operational results for our client hospitals. As a result of this partnership, Studer Group has provided access to exclusive content only available on StuderGroup.com. Each month, one of Studer Group's insightful articles will be made available to Emcare.com blog readers. For more information about EmCare's partnership with Studer Group, click here. For more exclusive content, including webinars, learning labs, networking opportunities and more, visit StuderGroup.com.

By Regina Shupe, DNP, RN, CEN

Solid leadership creates results that last. However, many healthcare professionals are moved into leadership roles without the skills needed to succeed. Studer Group has long coached organizations to develop and train leaders through regularly scheduled, two‐day leadership training sessions, known as Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs). The purpose of these training events is to develop new, current and future leaders in the organization. The curriculum aligns to the goals of the organization and focuses on the skills and knowledge leaders need to be successful in meeting such goals.

What we typically find, however, is that front line leaders, those who may not hold traditional leadership titles (such as manager or director), are often not included in these trainings. Charge nurses or department supervisors are prime examples. Do your front line leaders have basic knowledge regarding the external environment? What about strategies and techniques to effectively communicate with peers, staff and providers? To address this gap, Front Line Leadership Educational Boot Camps (FLLEBC) were created specifically to enhance the leadership skills of those leading closest to the staff and patients.

The Front Line Leadership Educational Boot Camps were designed to provide front line leaders training in four key areas: understanding the external environment, foundational leadership skills, how to coach performance, and how to conduct difficult conversations. Let’s look at each of these a little closer.
 

  • Understanding the external environment. The healthcare environment is constantly changing, which requires leaders to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Understanding the impact of items such as Value-Based Purchasing, HCAHPS, reimbursement and so on, is crucial to the role of front line leaders.
  • Foundational leadership skills. Many front line leaders are promoted into leadership positions because they are excellent clinicians. This doesn’t always mean they know how to develop and motivate staff, or connect the dots on why certain organizational goals are important.
  • How to coach on performance. Moving from “buddy” to “boss” can be a difficult transition for new supervisors or charge nurses. For many front line leaders, it may be uncomfortable to mentor or coach staff on their performance, especially when opportunities for improvement are present.
  • Conducting difficult conversations. Building this skill is necessary to ensure front line leaders are equipped to have confident and professional conversations with staff. Whether disciplinary or praise conversations, both are essential to this role.

Shining a light on this skills gap is only the first step. Executing the proper training, whether through Front Line Leadership Educational Boot Camps or other training events, is crucial to ensuring front line leaders are set up for success in their role. As a result, leaders will feel more confident in their abilities to lead staff and develop the next phase of leaders. When all leaders and staff are providing consistent, effective and informed patient care, it creates an excellent environment for patients to receive care, employees to work and physicians to practice medicine.

Regina has greater than 25 years in administrative and clinical nursing experience that includes Emergency, Trauma, and Critical Care. Shupe holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International, Greater Cincinnati Nurse Executives and the Emergency Nurses Association. She holds a certification in emergency nursing (CEN) as well as certification in LEAN for Healthcare.

Regina is a national speaker and author for Studer Group. She is co-author of Nurse Leader Handbook and Advance Your Emergency Department: Leading in a New Era. Regina has been twice awarded the Studer Group Pillar award for achieving excellent results in operations, service and quality.

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