Revenue Cycle

From HFMA: Five ways leaders fail

Patient Access Weekly Advisor, June 17, 2009

Editor’s note: The following is a passage on from Philip Betbeze, who is attending the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s annual conference this week in Seattle.

Monday's keynote speaker, Patrick Lencioni, kicked off the day, speaking about Leadership.

Lencioni often works with hospitals to adopt ideas around teamwork. Now, it's more important than ever in these difficult economic times, when everyone is expected to do more with less. He gave us five ways leaders often mess up their teams. Pay attention. I've definitely been on some bad teams and some good ones, and this guy has it right:

1. The absence of trust: Most think about predictive trust, which means we have known each other long enough I can predict your behavior. But that's not what makes a team great. The team we need is based on vulnerability. Vulnerability-based trust happens when human beings on team say things like "I don't know the answer," or, "I think I need help; I think I screwed this up," or even "I'm sorry." When you have that dynamic on team it creates powerful competitive advantage. Vulnerability can never be faked.

2. Fear of conflict: Why don't people like to engage in conflict? They say they don't want to hurt people's feelings. Organizations that think conflict is bad crush people because it ends up as a conflict of people and not issues.

3. Lack of commitment: When we can't get people to debate, people won't commit. If people don't weigh in on a decision they won't buy in on a decision. Truth is if we want to get people to commit we need to make sure we are hearing people and their opinions. My job as leader is to make sure I know what everyone thinks, and if that takes time then so be it and if there is not consensus then it is my job to break the tie. When you can do that, hear everyone, and factor in their input, 99 times out of 100 they will support the decision even if they disagree.

4. Avoidance of accountability:
This is the most common and most dangerous of all the dysfunctions. When you walk out of meeting and know that person next to you didn't commit, how much courage will you have to hold them accountable? The thought of letting down a trusted colleague is the biggest motivator. They love their teammates. You find it in firefighters and police. The best teams play for one another.

5. Results: Pay attention to results of team rather than individual needs. You have to make sure you do the best for the hospital, not the department. When there are silos at the top of the organization, they suffer the most. The most important priority is the collective results of the organization.

Read Betbeze’s full report on HealthLeaders Media’s Web site.

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