Archive March 2019 XX, No. 3

Staffing: Yes, You Can Become a Better Leader

Be the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.

Chet Wyman, MD


Steve Debenport
FOLLOW ME Leaders have people follow them, while managers have people work for them.

Despite what anyone claims, nobody is a born leader. Sure, some people are born with certain skills — communication, showmanship, empathy, charisma — that lend themselves to solid leadership. But the fact is leadership is a skill you can learn. This should come as welcome news if, after years and years in the trenches, you’ve been thrust suddenly into a leadership role at a surgical facility full of strong personalities. Let’s look at 3 characteristics that separate great healthcare leaders from so-so managers.

1Great leaders put the patients second. Put patients first. Put patients first. It’s a mantra healthcare providers live by, but is it truly the way we should be doing things? I don’t think so. Here’s a simple analogy to drive home why: If the oxygen masks come down on an airplane, who are you supposed to put it on first, yourself or your children? You take care of yourself first so you’re able to properly help your children through the crisis. It’s the same thing with health care. In order to take the best possible care of patients, you must first take care of your own staff. Your organization is a collection of people, and those people need to be the first priority. When this happens, when your staff is invested in your organization and its mission, I guarantee it’ll result in more satisfied patients.

On the other hand, if you put patients first at the expense of your team’s well-being, you’re creating a dysfunctional working environment that’s bound to impact your patients negatively. After all, miserable workers eventually jump ship, and high turnover adds stress to any surgical staff. Stress, in turn, makes it more likely you’ll make mistakes and miss the little things.

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