by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief | June 08, 2021
From the June 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
HCB News: Are there any mistakes in leadership that you've learned from, or seen others make?
Sometimes I wish I had a do-over. One that comes to mind most recently is the pandemic. Early on, there was so much fear from the community and team members about COVID-19. The unknown led to rapid and continuous changes, miscommunications, frayed relationships, and the uncertainty of how long this will continue, etc. We were anxious and fearful of contracting the virus or spreading it to those we love at home. At some point along the way, I learned to take a breath (a lot) and reflect on how I could be a better leader for my team at AdventHealth Dade City and Zephyrhills. I looked around and in the midst of the chaos, we were stronger than ever. This reflection on myself is an ongoing journey. As I grow, the reflection will change too.
HCB News: Can you share some strategies for bringing out the best in team members?
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Technology has certainly helped with one strategy that I began about 6 months ago. It is really a no-brainer; how come I did not think of it sooner? On birthdays and work anniversaries, I record a video of myself sharing a personalized message to my team members. I received texts, messages, and emails back from individuals saying how much that made their day.
I have found mailing handwritten cards (depending on the occasion) to individuals' homes are special too because they love to share with their family.
I keep a team member "snapshot" for each of my leaders. It is a simple form that the employee fills out which helps me know about the team member, their family, how they like recognition, favorites such as food, hobbies, etc. This way when I recognize them, I know what their likes and dislikes are. We've all become one big family with the sole mission of providing wholeness, restoration, and quality healthcare. It is part of the mission of AdventHealth to extend the healing ministry of Christ.
HCB News: Have you learned any important lessons from the ongoing pandemic?
I've learned that what was working well in some areas no longer applied and that there was an opportunity for improvement. Knowing that relationships are always important, I now value a phone call or a visit to another department (or someone stopping in to see me), instead of a text message or email. The way we do business has changed (and in some ways improved communication). Teams and Zoom meetings are great and have opened the pathways for so many more ways to connect than ever before. I, however, cannot wait for the day when the pandemic ends, so I can see the smiles of team members and patients again. For now, I will continue to look into their eyes because those eyes have a story to tell. Spend time with those you care for and make memories.