Friday, July 23, 2010

Ten Aspects of Strong Leadership: Point #2

Continuing with commentary on Chuck Lauer's list of leadership traits, today I want to focus on being connected.

2) Don't live in a bubble.

Great leaders listen to their people to gain a variety of perspectives. Some leaders don't realize that they don't need to know everything themselves. I have seen over the years that the best leader is someone that knows what he doesn't know and is not afraid to admit it. The great leaders surround themselves with other smart people and listen to what they have to say.

But getting out of the bubble is more than just this. The great hospital leader needs to leave his office and be visible in the hospital. I heard one speaker advise that the hospital CEO should not even have an office. He should set up at a table in the hospital lobby to be visible to all. Personally I think this is going way to far. But the point is valid.

The term Management By Wandering Around (MBWA) became popular some years ago, and many CEOs spend a portion of their day making rounds to interface with employees as well as patients and visitors. But usually when schedules get busy, this is the first thing to go. Also in a large organization that operates around the clock, it is difficult to be visible to everyone. I had a Board Member once chastise me for not knowing the first name of all our employees. He knew the name of all eight employees at his bank. I reminded him that it is a little tougher with 1,200 employees, some of whom work nights and weekends only.

One final note on being visible to employees. It is not just talking in the hall about kids and grand kids. Employees want to know what is going on and want to know that their feedback about the workplace is being listened to. Making time for this is the really important thing.
Properly respecting employees will be the subject of the next post on Monday.

More on aspects of leadership next week.

Mark Brodeur

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