Leadership is important in any sector. Without good leadership, employees would have no ideas about their goals (other than personal goals, and even they might be vague), and jobs that have to get done might be left undone, among many other issues.
Lack of leadership is clearly detrimental to any business, but when you add in the fact that in healthcare, you are dealing with life or death situations – literally – then you can see why leadership in healthcare is perhaps more important to get right and keep right than in any other sector. That’s a bold claim to make, but as you read through this article, you’ll see just how leadership in healthcare is so crucial and why it must remain a priority at all times.
Instill An Understanding Of Hospital Goals
As mentioned, there will be personal goals to consider, department goals, and entire hospital (or another healthcare facility) goals. As a leader, you need to think about all these elements, but it’s the whole hospital’s overall goals that you must focus on because these will determine how everything is run and done.
It will likely be the leaders – more commonly known as ‘managers’ – who come up with these ideas in the first place, which is an important job that comes with a lot of responsibility. The main reason for your healthcare facility to exist must be factored into any equations, which will be giving the best service and healthcare to any patients. Yet it must be more than that; it must be detailed and comprehensive, and there has to be steps involved so that lower managers and staff can understand the vision that needs implementation and how to make it happen.
This means that as well as determining what has to be done and how people should do it, you’ll also need to use your leadership skills to pass that knowledge on to others. Therefore, you need to know how to break goals down into smaller pieces, delegate work effectively, and ensure that you check in on what is happening. If you can provide an understanding of the hospital goals, you’ll find all of this easier, and your staff will be able to do their jobs much more efficiently.
Recognize Employee Potential
A good leader will be able to recognize an employee’s potential within the sphere of healthcare. Ideally, this will be because they have been through a similar progression, and they can see others who have the potential to go into leadership. Or, it might be that they see where else staff could flourish within the healthcare institution in question – perhaps a different department, a promotion, a training course, or something else that would benefit employees.
As a leader, you will also be able to help workers achieve their own personal goals or even give them the confidence they need to take the next step in their careers. This might mean encouraging your staff to take an executive MHA so they can go into a healthcare leadership role, or it could be helping them strengthen their weaknesses, providing training, and supporting their undertaking of new skills, for example. There are many different options, and each employee will have unique qualities and weaknesses that you need to help them identify and work on in order to assist them in their personal and professional development.
Of course, being a leader in the healthcare sector is a challenging role. Still, when you make it your mission to take notice of what your staff is doing and how they’re doing it and ensure that those who truly have potential are given the tools and confidence they need to succeed, you’ll find that the challenges are more than worthwhile. You’re ensuring there will be excellent healthcare professionals and leaders well into the future, which is exactly what will be needed to ensure everyone in society gets the high-quality, lasting healthcare they deserve.
Promote A Sense Of Belonging
A healthcare leader will take it upon themselves to keep an eye on employees working under them. However, although this might ostensibly be to see who has the potential to go further and to ensure that everyone is pulling their weight, it is also useful to see if there is anyone who is falling behind – not always in terms of the work they do (although this important, and if you notice it, it is your job to do something about it), but in terms of how they get along with the rest of the team.
Some people find it harder to work in a team than others. In some cases, this might mean that they are not cut out to work in the healthcare field, which is generally linked to teamwork from most angles. However, being able to work in a team is something that can be learned, and with good leadership at the helm, you might make the difference between someone deciding against staying in the healthcare sector and choosing to work harder on their teamwork skills instead.
Good leadership will promote a sense of belonging and create a community. The more you can do this, the more you’ll have staff who remain loyal and put in the hard work necessary to be as good as they can possibly be, rather than staff who, because they don’t feel included and have no encouragement, decide to leave a sector that already has difficult shortages to deal with.
Enhances Job Satisfaction
If you’ve ever worked somewhere you didn’t like, you will know you won’t have much job satisfaction. It won’t have mattered what you were doing or what your training was like – or how long it had taken you – if there is no job satisfaction, there really is no motivation to push harder and do more. This is not good in any situation because productivity will be lower, and the workplace’s reputation will suffer. When it comes to healthcare, it’s an extreme negative because of these things and the fact that when healthcare professionals only do the bare minimum, patient care can suffer.
Therefore another reason why healthcare leadership is important is that it can be used to enhance job satisfaction for all staff. The culture of a workplace starts at the top – and that truth is incredibly important to remember in the field of healthcare. If a manager has a good work ethic, understands flexibility, and ensures that the workplace is positive, more staff will stay – but more than just stay, they will have good job satisfaction, which will make them work harder because they genuinely love what they do and where they work.
Conversely, bad leadership (or no leadership) means that the workplace is much more negative, leading to bad feelings and a lack of ownership over duties. It’s easy to see how, in the healthcare sector, this could have devastating and far-reaching consequences.
Improves Skills And Abilities
As a healthcare leader – whether a hospital leader or a department leader – it will be part of your role to ensure that any staff you are responsible for have the training and skills they need to carry out their work effectively and safely. Ensuring this training happens, whether it’s in-house or outsourced and whether you are a part of it or not, will be another step towards job satisfaction since your doctors, nurses, admin team, and other staff will know you want to make them the best they can be. It will also foster a sense of loyalty, which, as already mentioned, is crucial in healthcare.
Of course, through all this, the patients benefit, if not the most, then certainly in a big way. When the healthcare team caring for them is fully trained and up to date, and when the management is aware of how to improve things, their care will be optimized and maximized, and recovery times should be better. Even if the patient has to stay in the hospital for longer, they will be surrounded by well-trained staff, giving them confidence in their treatment and a more positive outlook – which studies have shown is crucial when it comes to recovery.
Helps To Accept Change
Perhaps more than any other sector, the healthcare industry is one that is constantly subject to change. More often than not, these changes will come about either due to innovations regarding patient care or new legislation and laws. No matter how or why the changes have happened, it can be hard for healthcare workers to implement them, especially if they’re not in a position to be aware that anything has changed or if they’re not properly trained and taught.
However, these problems can be avoided when there is good leadership in healthcare. A good leader will have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening, and they will not only understand what changes need to be implemented but also how to do so effectively and efficiently so that their team doesn’t fall behind or overwhelmed at the things they need to do to keep up with good working practices.
Keeping staff on top of changes and developments could mean additional training, it might mean re-writing policies, or perhaps it would be a case of speaking to lower managers and ensuring they get the message across. Whatever the case, a good leader will help others learn and accept changes, even if they aren’t well-liked, in order for the healthcare machine to run more smoothly.