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A worthwhile change in healthcare
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Human Resources

A worthwhile change in healthcare

Many healthcare facilities are struggling with leadership. Amongst others, budget constraints are putting a lot of pressure on leaders. And in healthcare, there is also a need for new leadership, not the classic top-down leadership, but leadership that is authentic, values-based and shared. "A leadership that brings employees along with the many changes and that starts from a strong vision." The question is whether existing training programs are suitable for developing this new leadership. Dr. Sofie Rogiest researched the need for new leadership in the healthcare sector and discussed it in Care Guide.
by Sofie Rogiest | May 15, 2017
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We conducted research on how leadership is developed in the health and welfare sector. Based on the input we gathered in the research, we developed a circular model on leadership development with 5 criteria. The more an item is toward the periphery, the more difficult it is to develop.

Application: importance of values

Many companies organize skill- or knowledge-based training when they notice organizational problems. From this model we can see that those issues are indeed important, but they are not the only problem. So what should training focus on? On values and engaging in dialogue with each other. The problem is that this is much more complex than knowledge-based training. Many companies do have the right intention, but bump into the wrong approach and then continue to struggle with a leadership problem. A values-based leadership training is needed on top of the leadership development that already exists.

"Many companies do have the right intention, but collide with the wrong approach and then continue to struggle with a leadership problem."

Suppose you work in a hospital where the doctors don't show respect to the cleaning staff in the operating room. Question: why should those doctors show respect? Answer: because they need the cleaning staff. So again, it's not about skills that are easy to develop, but an understanding that doctors need to gain.

The turnaround: from values to behavior

The value pattern of all people involved must be aligned with the values of the organization. The problem is that values, especially in large companies, don't come alive or are not lived. How can we make values become behaviors? By linking the values of the company to the personalities of the employees.

"In new partnerships, you have to work to create a safe environment where people dare to let go of things," he says.

You often hear that communication is a problem in healthcare organizations. This is not always caused by people not knowing how to communicate (knowledge & skill), but sometimes by not respecting each other (value). In new partnerships, you have to work to create a safe environment where people dare to let things go. By creating that safe environment, you can develop people's personalities. If they are not open to it, it will lead to protest and you will get a reverse effect.

An easy solution?

Now that we know what the problem is, we can solve it right away. Or can't we? It's not so easy to work on developing employees' personalities. We can only help people see what the possibilities are. While understanding a personality and personal values and norms system can certainly develop, it is not something that happens overnight. Changing a mindset takes time. Moreover, companies also need to ensure that the right environment is created for that development: they need to have leaders who articulate clearly what values are important to the company. In other words, they need value-oriented leadership. Only in this way can we work toward a renewal of leadership in healthcare.

"Healthcare organizations focus too much on skills and knowledge, while we mainly need value-driven leadership with vision."

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Sofie Rogiest

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