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The Impact of COVID-19: Why Leadership Development is Crucial for Healthcare Organizations Today

by The Leadership Development Group

Healthcare organizations across the globe have spent the last year and a half trying to navigate their team through the COVID-19 pandemic and its tribulations. What is clear, is that those organizations who coalesced around a common purpose, aligned around the patient, and managed obstacles with strong leadership weathered the crisis better.  Those without were bogged down by stress, overwhelm, and burnout. According to Mental Health America, 93% of healthcare workers are still experiencing heightened stress during the pandemic. Likewise, a large majority reported experiencing anxiety (86%), frustration (77%), exhaustion and burnout (76%), and overwhelm (75%). 

This amount of stress is detrimental to an employee’s wellbeing and will negatively impact not only their performance, but the overall team’s capabilities to execute business strategies. As the pandemic continues, healthcare organizations’ leaders need to prioritize leadership development to enable their employees, teams, and leaders to overcome the myriad challenges facing their organizations and the healthcare industry at large — ultimately positioning their organization for success.

Focusing on Leadership Development Today for a Better Tomorrow

If there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us it's that having the capability to quickly adapt to changing outside forces is critical to ensuring team stability. At the onset of the pandemic, most healthcare providers and other organizations in the health ecosystem were ill-equipped to handle such a drastic and acute challenge. We know strong leadership is the critical success factor that doesn’t happen by accident. Invest now in developing leaders for the future to be able to thrive in the face of challenges.  

According to the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast, just 11% of organizations report having a strong leadership team. Prepare your teams by providing leadership development today to create a foundation for an even better tomorrow. Leadership development training empowers leaders to elicit trust and engagement from their employees and creates a more open-minded, communicative, and productive work environment. According to this study from 2017, leadership development increases the likelihood of positive organizational outcomes by 25%. Additionally, individuals in the same study experienced a 25% increase in learning capabilities and a 20% increase in overall job performance after receiving leadership development training. 

What are the Top Leadership Development Goals You Should Prioritize?

Depending on your sector in the healthcare ecosystem, your leadership development goals may differ. However, there are a few primary goals all leaders should prioritize that address changes caused by COVID-19. These goals will help strengthen your team’s dynamics and increase overall productivity.

1. Foster Trust and Safety

Employee engagement is fostered when staff feel secure in their workplace. The leader needs to promote a culture of mutual trust. According to Deloitte, the best way to foster trust is to follow through by taking action on the things you say you will do. 

It’s important to show transparency when making decisions. For instance, say you make the decision to add mandatory overtime hours to each employee’s work schedule. Yet, you don’t provide the transparency as to why you made this decision or empathize with your employees on the new adjustment. Your employees will feel as though you don’t care about their well-being. So, how can they trust your leadership or feel a sense of security at work? When your actions back up your words and are done so with compassion and empathy, relationships are strengthened — enabling a more effective workforce.

2. Be Open-Minded and Empathetic

It’s crucial to ensure that your employees feel heard. This requires leaders to be open-minded and empathetic especially when the entire workforce is bogged down by worries about their own health and safety during a global pandemic.

Consider this example. A nurse on your team is feeling burned out and comes to you for help. Instead of brushing off his feelings, use your leadership development training to empathize with his struggles and work together to develop a plan that will help ease his stress and enable him to be more productive in the workplace. Only by being open and honest can you expect employees to feel comfortable coming to you with any challenges they may face.

3. Align the Team on Common Goals

Disorganization leads to unsatisfied employees, low productivity, and often, high turnover. Aligning your team on common goals on a regular basis is an important task if you want to keep your team operating at an optimal performance level. In fact, employees are 2.8x more likely to be highly engaged when they are involved in creating the organization’s goals. Ensuring concise and consistent communication throughout every level of your organization is essential to keeping the team in alignment.

4. Focus on Results

Focusing on the results of your leadership development training is necessary to understand and monitor your individual and organizational effectiveness. Let’s take a look at an individual's leadership development improvement from working with one of TLD Group’s executive coaches. The coachee’s primary goal was to align her team (unit) around enhancing teamwork and collaboration within the team and across departments to improve patient engagement.  

Through the assessment process, the coach revealed the team was misaligned around the goal for their unit. Some were focused on their individual jobs, others on that of the unit. The coach and coachee worked on the coachee’s communication style to ensure consistency in messaging and determined the unit would come together to co-design their unit’s goals and their shared accountabilities in reaching the goals. The coachee learned that co-design leads to better engagement and alignment.  

At the end of the coaching, the coachee was able to shift her mindset to one that fosters collaborative problem solving which increased collaboration and communication among her unit and their ability to reach their goals. 

Final Thoughts

While the pandemic may have altered healthcare leader’s priorities, 80% of leaders report strengthening organizational leadership as a high priority. To help your team come out of the chaos of the pandemic more aligned, effective, and productive than before, TLD Group offers customized coaching and consulting services as well as leadership development academies

Reach out to us today to jumpstart your leadership development journey and begin eliciting new efficiencies and productivity throughout your organization. 

Topics: Leadership Development, Leadership, Leadership Resources, Executive Coaching, Team Development, Collaboration, Physician Leadership