Care facilities often struggle when it comes to leadership. Limited budgets are putting a great deal of pressure on managers. There is certainly a need for a new style of leadership in the healthcare sector; not traditional, leading-from-the-front management, but genuine, value-based, democratic leadership. “Leadership which allows employees to get involved with making changes and is based on a strong vision.” The question is whether existing training programs are suitable for developing these new leadership styles. Dr. Sofie Rogiest conducted research on the need for new leadership in the healthcare sector.
We researched the way leadership is developed in the healthcare and welfare sector. Based on the input we received from the study, we developed a circle model with 5 criteria on leadership development. The more outlying an item is, the more complex it is to develop.
Application: importance of values
When they run into organizational problems, many companies organize skill or knowledge-oriented training courses. Looking at this model, however, we can see that these aspects are probably not where the problem lies. So, what should training focus on? It should focus on values and engaging in dialogue with one another. The problem is that this is much more complex than knowledge-oriented training. Companies often have good intentions, but take the wrong approach, which can result in ongoing leadership struggles. Hence, an additional training in value-driven leadership is required atop the current leadership development.
"Companies often have good intentions, but take the wrong approach, which can result in ongoing leadership struggles."
Let's say you work in a hospital where the doctors don’t respect the cleaning staff in the operating room. Question: why should the doctors show respect? Answer: because they need the cleaning staff. In this case, it isn’t a matter of skills, which can easily be acquired, it is a matter of the doctors having a certain level of understanding.”
Turnaround: from values to behaviors
The values of all those involved need to be in tune with the values of the organization. The problem is that, especially in bigger companies, values are not always put into practice. How can we turn values into behavior? By basing the company’s values on the personalities of its employees.
"In new partnerships, you have to work at creating a safe environment
where people dare to let ideas flow."
You often hear that communication in care facilities is a problem. This is usually not because people don’t know have the knowledge and skill to communicate, but because they don’t respect (value) each other. In new partnerships, you have to work at creating a safe environment where people dare to let ideas flow. By creating that safe environment, you can mold the personalities of your employees. If they’re not open to it, it will lead to protest and you will get the reverse effect.
An easy solution?
Now we know what the problem is, we can solve it, right? It’s not always easy to change the personalities of employees. Although personalities and personal values and norms can change, it is not something that happens overnight. A change in mentality requires time. What’s more, we need to create the right environment to allow that change to happen. We need clear leaders who are focused on the values of the company. In other words, they need value-driven leadership. Only then can we transform leadership in healthcare.
“Care facilities focus too much on skills and knowledge, while there is a need for value-driven leadership with a vision.”