Creating a team of empowered employees is one of the best investments that hospital leaders can make but getting there isn’t always easy. Your practice is all about the people that make up your team. The more that you empower team members, the more you can rely on them and develop their strengths. In turn, you’ll begin to see a more efficient workflow that’s more enjoyable for everyone and a lower turnover rate that will benefit your practice as a whole.
Establish a Culture of Respect
Mutual respect within your clinic is critical to empowering employees. Encourage your employees to voice their ideas and let them put their thoughts in motion. Show your appreciation for team members’ hard work with your words and your actions. Avoid asking team members to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. Most importantly, help keep things light during stressful days and make sure everyone has a little fun amidst the craziness.
Listen First, Speak Second
Don’t assume that you know what your team members are experiencing. Take the time to ask and listen to what their day was like, what challenges they overcame, and what successes they accomplished. Communication is a two-way street, and you can learn a lot from your employees’ perspectives. Your communication style will never be perfect, you will constantly learn how to better your communication over the course of your career. The more you listen, the more you can learn and improve. In turn, your employees will feel heard and respect you for listening to them.
Carve Out Time for Team Meetings
It can be hard to set aside time for team meetings, but regular opportunities to touch base are critical. If you can, deter clients from interrupting by locking the doors and turning off the phones. Prior to meeting ask employees for their input on what needs to be addressed and then make an agenda so that you can stay focused. Before the meeting concludes, assign action items to specific team members so that any to-do items get accomplished.
Be Selective When Hiring
Avoid hiring someone that disrupts the culture you’ve worked hard to build. Ask your team members if they know anyone that can fill open positions first as trusted referrals often result in a better fit. If you’re on the fence about hiring someone, consider a working interview so you can see how an individual works and if they’ll elevate your team or drag them down.
Lead, Don’t Manage
There is a very distinct difference between being a manager and a leader. A manager lights a fire under someone, and a leader lights a fire inside someone. Be an example for your team by embracing a humble attitude and doing the same work you ask of your team. If there are multiple leaders at your practice, it’s very important that all of you are aligned on what you want the culture to look like so you can stay consistent with your team. Great culture starts at the top and funnels down to the entire team. If the team sees division amongst management, then unity will be very hard to achieve.
Ultimately, empowering your team members will be an ongoing process that won’t happen overnight. Stay diligent in your efforts and know that the payoff will be worth it in the end.