The demand for healthcare services continues to skyrocket as the ravages of the covid-19 continue to be felt across the healthcare sector. The effects of which have not spared the healthcare employees, i.e post-pandemic trauma, stress, and rising mental health issues. It’s on the back of this that it’s imperative that healthcare leaders become more employee focussed. Leaders can directly impact the attitude and morale of employees.
It is well known that in some of the most admired companies, the key priorities were teamwork, customer focus, fair treatment of employees, initiative, and innovation. When it comes to a business and its people, the big difference is leadership, people are the most important resource. Leaders can’t succeed alone.
Successful leaders are highly skilled at influencing others, they help their employees understand how important they are to the organisation. Even more so, the ability to manage through change and deal with crisis, is what sets a true leader apart.
More specifically, here is what successful leaders in a crisis know and what they do:
- When crisis comes it is very tempting to react the demands of that crisis. Succumbing to our instincts to fight or flight can lead to a deepening of the crisis or problems further down the line. Being reactive during a crisis is the worst thing that a leader can do. Take time to assess the situation, ask as many questions as possible in order to make the best decision for that moment. No question is off the cards. Once you are clear of what you are dealing with, develop the most appropriate plan of action, a plan that fits and suits your organisations situation.
- It is through this process of think and re-thinking, the process of adjusting to current conditions and quick thinking that innovation is stimulated. Crisis and necessity are opportunities for innovation, especially when forced to think on the fly. During the pandemic, many organisations quickly pivoted, to be able to manage and for their growth. For example, COVID-19 has been an accelerant for digital transformation, it certainly upped the tempo of change, as the need arose to equip employees with the right technology and tools to be able to work remotely.
- Show respect and empathy. In life and in business it is imperative to treat people, including your customers, suppliers, partners, and employees, with respect at all times. Empathy is a skill that can be developed and later used to help put your employees at ease and their crisis experience comfortable. The best leaders are those who are the best at engaging their employees, they know what’s going on in their employees lives and what motivates them. They recognise which things in the environment bring out the best for each individual and as such are able to manage them during times of crisis, in such a way that bring out their productive side.
- Communication, communication, communication. Learn as much as possible about the crisis situation. You are better able to control the situation when armed with as much knowledge as possible. How you communicate is essential to good leadership when it comes to crisis and change management.
- Empower your employees to take ownership of the organisation’s values and mission. Steer them towards finding their personal passions and connect these to the organisation’s values and mission. Once employees share the vision for the organisation’s future, a leader’s personal load during a crisis is certainly lifted and the organisation’s productivity increases. Your employees are more likely and more willing to help carry the burden.
- Lastly, very simply – learn. In post-crisis the only mistake one can make is not learning from it. It is an examination of how things were done, what went wrong if at all. As a leader in any situation or organisation it is this learning curve that make you a better leader. Using your learnings to make the necessary changes to help the organisation emerge from the crisis stronger and confident of a hopeful and purposeful future.
Finally, a leader who focuses on self-transformation and personal growth is more likely to succeed and thrive during crisis times. A leader who leads by example also inspires confidence from employees.