Hate managing people? Then don’t – help them manage themselves

Hate managing people? Then don’t – help them manage themselves

Possibly the greatest challenge for clinicians transitioning into management is the shift in their relations with the people they work with. In healthcare, the people that make up these clinical teams are highly qualified and skilled to perform their clinical roles relatively autonomously – they know what to do without their manager telling them. So why do they need to be managed at all? The skills needed to manage highly autonomous experts doing highly complex work, are very different to those needed to manage unskilled people doing less complex work.

How clinical leaders learn

How clinical leaders learn

“Are we heading into a future where knowing is obsolete?”[1] The changes and challenges facing healthcare, coupled with the overwhelming and growing supply of information, put in doubt traditional and static forms of education.  In these forms, the student is ‘filled’ with the theories and information needed to perform specific roles and functions.  The rate of knowledge production is so great, that much of what is learned in such programs is likely to be superseded before the student has completed their program.  Education programs that are static may have the paradoxical affect of making the student more resistant to the changing context as they cling to the theories they learned and become closed to new ideas.  This is amplified in leadership development programs, where the view that the leader is the font of all knowledge is no longer tenable. Furthermore, the problems confronting clinicians do not lend themselves to traditional education and tried solutions.  It is not enough to simply develop clinical leaders’ individual management competencies.  The process of developing skills must also be transformative on a personal, organisational and professional level.  The problem is that the standard approach to training and development for leaders do not translate into individual, team and organisational improvements immediately (and sometimes they never do!)  The focus is on the skills, competencies and the trainer’s processes – and not on the real problems and challenges that the manager has to deal with in reality. The reality is that every team member is unique – and every manager is unique – and in these times, there are more unique situations and problems than standard ones. ...
Shifting perspectives – Transition into management

Shifting perspectives – Transition into management

There seems to be an assumption that because nurses are great clinically, or have been around for a long time, they should be promoted into management. But, nursing and management are two very different roles. Nurses are great at getting things done, and doing them well – at solving other people’s problems. And that strength can sometimes gets in the way of getting things done through others – which is what great managers do well. One of our greatest challenges when we go from clinician to manager is getting work done through others, and holding them to account, and shifting our focus from the individual’s well-being to the team’s and the organisation’s well-being. A Unit manager is responsible in many ways for the quality of people’s lives for 8 hours of every day they work in their teams – even when the manager is not there, even when the manager is not leading. Because if the manager, the legitimate leaders in the organisation is not leading the team, someone else is. Whenever there is a leadership vacuum, some one will fill it – and these ‘someones’ are not necessarily doing it well or for the right reasons. If you are a manager of a unit, you are also responsible for achieving the organisation’s mission and strategic priorities – and sometimes these seem to be at odds with the priorities of the individuals in your team – so you need to manage performance too. And it often seems hard to do this and maintain the friendships you once had as a clinicians. There are so many things to consider when...
No theory-practice gap – accelerating management learning

No theory-practice gap – accelerating management learning

According to the National Institute of Health in the US – there are 185,000 clinical trials every year. How do clinicians know their practice is based on current evidence?

The reality is that you can’t know everything – so knowing things is no longer enough. We need to know how to get information, evidence and then make sense of it.

That’s what makes it so important to create cultures where everyone’s contribution is valued and they are encouraged to continually review what they do know, continue learning and testing their assumptions. To foster this culture, we don’t have to have all answers – we need to ask great questions and find innovative solutions.

Teams – the organisational powerhouse or powersync?

Teams – the organisational powerhouse or powersync?

The power of the team can just as easily turn into a power and time sync if not managed well. There can be role ambiguity and conflict, a diffusion of accountability and a whole lot of time spent in meetings. The collaborative advantage of teams lies in exposing and promoting the strengths of the individuals, and creating structures that support them to express these.