Being a leader can be challenging in a healthcare industry that is constantly changing. However, it is one of the most rewarding and purposeful roles that we can have. If you are interested in improving your leadership skills, it is of the utmost importance to surround yourself with people you trust who challenge and support you.
As I coach healthcare leaders in organizations across the country, I often ask them to complete an exercise we call: “Who’s on Your Personal Board of Directors?”. This activity can be done during a department meeting, employee forum or any other type of leadership meeting or training. Just as an organization’s board of directors helps to provide guidance and decision-making support and helps look out for the company’s best interests, your personal board of directors does the same for you personally.
Here’s how the exercise works. First, set the stage by asking each member to draw a boardroom table on a piece of paper and place an “X” where they would sit as the chairman of their personal board of directors. Then, let your team take a few minutes to think silently and identify four to five other people they would recruit for their boards by answering the following questions:
- Who picks you up when you are down and need help?
- Whom do you trust the most with a burning secret you need to share?
- Who gives you advice if you are having problems with a colleague at work?
- Who is the first person you call if you want to go out after work to relax and have a good time?
- Who will sit down and truly listen to every word you say when you want to share a story?
- Who knows how to push you to do more and achieve more?
- Who always seems to anticipate what you are going to say next before the words even leave your mouth?
- Who tells others how great you are?
Finally, on each paper, have participants write in the names of the people they would elect to serve on their boards. Once the activity is complete, allow team members the opportunity to share who they chose for their boards. As they each explain the reasons for their choices, they will organically manage each other up and continue to build their personal and professional connections on the leadership team. Just imagine the good vibes in the room as team members select co-workers to sit on their personal boards of directors. Wow! And for those people who aren’t chosen to sit on a board, what a great motivator to step up their game to be chosen next time. For leaders, forming personal connections with our team and surrounding ourselves with like-minded, high-performing leaders gives us an advantage and allows us to make an even greater positive impact for those we serve.
With over 25 years of experience in healthcare, Tad has a passion for improving patient experience and maximizing the human potential of employees by empowering them to provide high-quality care. He has worked in a variety of settings with the majority of his career spent in rural healthcare.