How Does Your Leadership Garden Bloom?

While the Truckee Meadows is in desperate need of moisture in any form, I really love springtime in Reno! I had the opportunity to spend time outside, admiring how green the city is becoming with the blooming trees and spring flowers. It is amazing how inspiring it can be to see your yard move from dormancy to full and vibrant color. It so happened that I found a leadership article today that married the birth of spring to good leadership, and I thought it was so perfect to my day that I would share it with you.spring bloom

In “How to make Leadership Bloom”, by Jon Mertz, he compares what you need to do to make a garden grow to what leaders need to do to create a thriving environment. The culture of the organization is compared to the soil; without a good base, nothing can thrive. You have to remove the weeds so plants can grow; similarly you have to create clear paths for your employees so they can grow. Consistent watering helps the plants to flourish; creating an atmosphere that can nurture and challenge employees to allow them to become the best they can be.

This is true both for leaders and the members in their team. If I apply this to my own boss, I can say for certain that she has cultivated my success through her encouragement and trust in my abilities. When I face challenges within my own job, she supports and guides me while I work through them. And she celebrates with me when we succeed. When I apply this to my own teams, I see that I am supporting them in much the same way. I am providing the best environment I can so they can excel at their jobs. I give them the autonomy to perform at their own pace, but am always available if they need additional guidance. And I include them in the decision-making process so they have a say in what directly affects their jobs. And with all of this, I learn from my teams how I can be a better leader, mentor and friend.

Such a simple analogy, yet it paints a picture of the environment I hope I am helping to create for my teams.

How do you encourage “blooming”?

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Lunchtime Lessons

I read a great post this week from Switch and Shift, authored by Chris R. Stricklin that made me think, and gave me something new to try out with my team.

I have thirty-three employees that I get to work with directly, some I see quite often, and others that I communicate with at monthly staff meetings or through email. The logistics in a twenty-four hour operation make it tricky to have one on one interaction with everyone. I have gotten to know many of them on a personal level, but time and workload often prevent me from spending that quality time. In reading “Leadership Lessons from the Dinner Table”, I realize I have been missing out on a great opportunity to spend quality time with my teams, and them with me.

I often sit at my desk during my lunch break, as it is a great time to catch up on office work between meetings. In the “Leadership Lessons” article, I realized that I am missing the best opportunity to have honest and open discussion with my staff by eating at my desk. Meals and breaks are a time when everyone should be relaxing, enjoying a meal, and conversing with each other. It creates the best time for people to openly talk about themselves, their families, their interests. It also opens the door to get quality feedback, as well as their ideas for improvements.lunch

I realize that by working at my desk, I am insulating myself from my team. While this has never been my intention, I am now cognizant that I am missing out on a great potential to create deeper connections with my team. Change is difficult, even for me, but I am so excited about the possibilities of this new process that I am going to scale my change. Beginning this week, I will eat in the cafeteria at least two days. Understanding that this may make some of my team uncomfortable, I am giving myself two weeks of visibility to see if this opens the door. By week three, I will ask my team if I can sit with them; and we will see how it goes. My hope is that these lunch meetings will become so valuable that I will never want to eat alone again!

Have you had an opportunity to capitalize on lunchtime lessons? Tell me about it in the comment section below.

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Get Involved-Your Community Needs You

Last month, I shared information about participating in the Partners in Education program through the Education Alliance of Washoe County. I was recently invited to participate in a special task force that is focused on increasing business involvement throughout our community. This is such a great program, and I wanted take this opportunity to share the details with you.

There are over 90 schools in the Washoe County School District. Every school is experiencing challenges and is in need of partnerships wiAcademic Successth the community at large for funds, volunteers, expertise and attention. The mission of the Education Alliance is simple in that they want to source those resources and connect businesses/community organizations to these schools in a strategic, purposeful manner. There are over 63,000 students in Washoe County, and a good portion of schools are not currently set up with a business/community partner. The focus of the Partners in Education program is to assist all students in Washoe County to achieve academic success and career awareness by facilitating partnerships between each school and the businesses or group organizations that operate within the same area.

The opportunity I have had to participate has been very meaningful to me and my organization, and I believe we have had a positive impact on our partner school, the students and teachers. My involvement has expanded my abilities as a leader, by increasing my exposure to community needs, as well as the ability to meet so many intelligent and thoughtful young people. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce, and the efforts we put into their success will positively impact our community. We all benefit greatly when we get involved!

If you are interested in getting more information, leave a comment below.

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Well Liked and Respected Leaders

As a leader, how often do you reflect on the daily interactions you have with your staff, and wonder if you are making a difference in their lives? I find myself doing this a lot lately, as the targets my teams and I have to meet continue to be a struggle. Since our goal is to improve the patient’s experience, I consistently message that the reason we are all in healthcare is to positively impact our patients. There are a few people on my teams that are not completely “on the bus”, and I find myself being challenged to find a new way to motivate and change their focus. I recently read an interesting blog that speaks to well-liked and respected leaders, and what they consistently do to help their teams succeed.

Kate Nasser is the author of “Respected Well-Liked Leaders: 18 Things They Consistently Do!” Well-liked and respected leaders put their people first. They get to know each individual on their team, both personally as well as professionally. They provide praise and recognition for the efforts of their teams, understanding that everyone needs positive reinforcement.  Interactions with their team include empathy and grace. Respected and well like leaders put themselves on the line, ensuring that the team knows they are supported and that issues are addressed immediately. True leaders communicate well, inspire greatness, they require everyone to change and grow while staying true to themselves. And my favorite, they support the “we” of the team.

While these behaviors might seem obvious for any leader, I applied the list to my boss, as well as on my own leadership. I am lucky that I have a boss that demonstrates the majority of the behaviors listed, and I have someone who is invested in my growth and development. When I apply the list to my own performance, I find that I am successful with more than half of the identified strengths. But the best message I got from this information is that I always have room to improve. I truly value my teams and the efforts they put forth every day, and I can improve how frequently I praise and publicly appreciate them. I also have the obligation to find a solution that gets everyone on my teams motivated to change so that we can successfully achieve the results we want. I love it when I find information that inspires me to be a better leader!

Click the link above to read Kate’s blog, and I would enjoy hearing what you think.images7OM9V4HZ

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What’s Your Philosophy?

Don’t you love those moments when you read something that makes you reflect who you are and what you want to be?  As a new blogger passionate about leadership, I try to read at least one new leadership book per month, and in between read articles and blog posts sharing information about the same topic. Yesterday I ran across a post “Creating a Leadership Philosophy”, on the site “FactorInTalent.com” that at first read was interesting, but wasn’t immediately thought-provoking. Yet I found myself thinking about the post today, and how I can use it to see if my actions align with what my philosophy is.

The blog was discussing alignment of our leadership styles and behaviors with our actions. The way we behave at work, the commitment we have to our organizations, and how we interact and mentor our co-workers and peers are all part of our leadership philosophy. Our personal morals and values help drive this philosophy, and how we perform at work are a direct extension of these values. The blog goes on to list 6 questions that should be answered to help the reader identify if their perceived and intended philosophy’s match. Once the questions are answered, the reader is directed to review the list several times over the next few weeks, and see if the list rings true to how you see yourself.

I went through and answered the six questions, printed them up on a nice bright pink paper, and have the intention of reviewing it several times over the next two weeks. There is no new concept or world breaking questions here; just simple things that help me see what I identify as my professional core values, and then reflect on my behaviors and whether or not they align with my philosophy. As of now, I believe that a lot of my values are in order, but I will be excited to see how it all plays out when I revisit this post and follow-up on my results in a couple of weeks.leadership

Feel free to follow the link in my post if you are interested in validating your own philosophy. I would love to hear what you experience.

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Get Involved-Partners in Education

My company participates through the Education Alliance of Washoe County in the Partners in Education program.  We get to partner with Dilworth Middle school in Sparks. About three years ago, I was asked to participate as our company’s liaison in this relationship. This has become one of the perks of my employment, in that we get to support and celebrate the students in their education journey.Dilworth

Our program supports the Dilworth students in a variety of ways. The Stem Academy focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Volunteers from our facility participate in student Stem Academy presentations, providing valuable feedback that enhances student content and suggested presentation tips. We invite students to tour our hospital, visiting various departments to give students a front row seat to healthcare careers. Tours include the Emergency Department, Diagnostic Radiology, Laboratory, and the Operating Room. It is a great way to introduce students to the possibilities of pursuing a career in Healthcare. We support Dilworth’s reading program, a friendly quarterly competition that rewards students for reaching their goals in the books they read for fun. We go on site and provide pancake breakfasts or brownie sundae celebrations. These events are the most entertaining, in that we get to celebrate those students who reach their goals, and the special attention helps to motivate other students to actively participate. The school was participating in a shoe drive competition with all Washoe County schools, and we were able to support them by providing donated shoes to help meet their goal. The best part of this partnership is getting to meet and interact with the Dilworth students and teachers. The students are such are an eclectic group, with great personalities and perspectives. The teachers inspire awe with their commitment and dedication to the students and their success.

This is such a wonderful experience, and I would like to encourage other companies within Washoe County to participate in this truly rewarding program. The potential to positively impact a student’s experience and to perhaps give them a new perspective for their future is truly priceless.

If you are interested in getting more information about this truly rewarding program, leave a comment and I will be happy to get you involved.

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From The Customer’s Perspective

 

In my daily work life, I direct the processes and procedures that each of my teams perform. I understand the regulatory requirements for each task, and I am responsible for ensuring that the requirements are met every time. I inspect the work of my teams as their leader, and make adjustments as needed based on this leadership perspective. I recently had the opportunity to experience their work product from the eyes of the customer, and it gave me a new appreciation for not only the work my teams perform, but the work performed by several areas of the facility.

My son recently had a health issue that required a visit to the Emergency Department at the hospital I work for. The visit was late in the evening, so I was not a familiar face to most of the staff that we encountered, which gave me the opportunity to act as a secret shopper. We weretriage image triaged quickly, and were taken to a room within 30 minutes of arrival.  The physician came in; talked with my son about the issues he was having, and quickly decided to do lab work and an X-ray. The ER nurse came in, very friendly and personable with a great bedside manner, explaining to us that she was going to draw his blood. Shortly after that the Radiology technician came to take him for his X-ray. We were back in the Emergency Department within a short amount of time, and were told we just needed to wait for the results of all of the tests.

Traveling between the various departments, I was able to survey our surroundings. The room we were in was extremely clean; I checked the vital signs monitor for dust, inspected the floor and walls for signs of dust or debris, I even checked out the bottom of the gurney to see if it was being cleaned to our standards. When we went to Radiology, I checked the hallways and common areas, and found everything to be exactly as it should be.

I am happy to say that all results came back and there was no earth shattering news. We were given our home care instructions, and were quickly discharged. This entire experience took us less than three hours, but I was able to get an entirely new perspective on what our customer’s experience. Everyone we encountered; the registration clerks, Radiology technician, ER physician and nurse were caring, compassionate and friendly. All of the areas we visited were fresh and clean, which enhanced our experience. And from a different viewpoint, I was able to see how diligent and committed my staff is to our customers. I have a newfound respect for my teams and the work they do behind the scenes to create an inviting environment for patients and visitors alike. I am proud to be a part of their team!

Feel free to share comments or stories below, thank you for visiting my blog!

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