|Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey
April / May 2007
Wow, I can't believe that April and half of May have gone by. The last time we "chatted" was in March. Since then, I have been on the road lecturing, and this is the first opportunity I have had to sit down and write this Newsletter. In these past two weeks I have had the privilege of speaking at nursing conferences and addressing the nursing staff at a number of hospitals across the United States, honoring nursing professionals for the vital and lifesaving work you do. With all the issues and challenges nursing professionals are facing in work environments today, my hat is off to all of you for the dedication and commitment you have to your profession, even when it is difficult to do so.
In my last Newsletter we discussed how a manager (in ANY profession) fulfills his/her job description, and the affect that has on the staff. In this Newsletter we will look at a manager's inter-personal communication skills and ability to relate to staff. I received a wonderful e-mail from a nurse manager and I would like to share a portion of it with you, with her permission, as I believe it would be a great way to start our discussion.
"Thank you for being an advocate for managers who are positive and try to give 150% of themselves in what is sometimes a very 'thankless' position. Nurse managers work their hardest to manage 'both sides of the fence' and we do not have a lot of avenues for re-energizing and positive feedback. The majority of my staff is very open with their positive feedback regarding my managerial skills and I do appreciate that. I guess it is that small percent of employees who do not look beyond their personal needs that can drag you down at times."
I appreciate this heartfelt communication from a nurse manager who is giving it her all to be the best she can be. She puts a human face on the management position (in ALL professions and industries) and the challenges many managers face in trying to do it all. Managers need feedback and input from their employees; employees need to feel that their input and opinions are listened to and respected. If the feelings are not reciprocal, honest communication and feedback will not happen. If you are a manager who is not getting the input you need, a little soul searching is in order. Take some quiet time; take a deep breath; and ask yourself the following question:
Do I believe in my people and feel that they are my organization's most valuable asset?
Do you possess a genuine caring for people? How involved are you willing to get with your staff? Be very honest with yourself here. Are you more comfortable with your computer, reports or non-people-related activities, than you are with the people who work for you? A number of managers I work with are task oriented, and see their staff as "a means to an end." They are distant and unapproachable, and they do not have the insight to see when things are going wrong or morale is down in their departments. They are too detached from the personalities on their team to spot trouble coming. On the other hand, many managers care very much and WANT to spend more time with the members of their team, but are too overwhelmed with all the other duties they have, and so the immediate crises take priority and communicating with staff is on the back burner.
In today's impersonal, get-it-done-now workplace, managers are faced with the challenge of getting it done AND being there for the people who look to them for a sense of direction, momentum and validation. Letting your staff know they are your organization's most important asset is your first priority, if you honestly believe that. If you don't, nothing you say to your staff will matter, as they will see through the facade. If you care for your team, but have very little time, something can be worked out. If you do not want to get involved with your team and would rather they leave you alone, no solution will work.
Have high expectations for your people, and be their biggest support. Set up a system whereby you and each member of your team have some time to go over his/her progress, and give them achievable goals to work towards. Verbalize your feelings to them. Recognize them and reward them when they have achieved some success. Be their cheerleader as well as their disciplinarian. When you have a large goal to meet, recognize and reward at intervals. Celebrate small successes on your way up to the big goal. Give people hope, encouragement and appreciation.
"There is nothing more demoralizing than having nobody notice good performance ... the successful culture is one that provides constant recognition and applause. At the same time, it breeds a restless dissatisfaction that keeps you challenging yourself to a higher and higher performance."
Take an interest in the people who work for you. You do not have to know the intimate details of their lives, but do you know their spouses' names? Do you know if they have children? Do you know if they are going through difficult times that might affect their job performance? Do you know their aspirations for their careers? Do you know how you can help them? Make an effort to know the people who share your workplace with you, and take them along on your journey. Ask them for their ideas and input, and listen to what they have to say. When a manager and staff work hand in hand for the higher good, everyone benefits.
If you are a manager and you would like to share your thoughts and insights with me, I would love to hear from you. If you wish to add to or contradict anything I have said, have at it. If you would like to pass this Newsletter on to a friend or colleague, feel free to do so. If you would like to read past Newsletters, please log on to www.barbaramintzer.com and click on Newsletters. They are archived by subject and date.
About the Author
Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and healthcare. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables and can be a master of ceremonies for your event...a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.