Leadership Is About sUPport
The staff at a residential healthcare facility that houses a number of patient/clients had a difficult week.
The workers have been short staffed for months, and forced to work “mandatory overtime.” Changes to the care of the residents are made, but there is no communication. Systems are breaking down, and no answers are given. Managers hardly ever show up, and when they do, they don’t help the staff with their jobs. Facility repairs are needed, which take months, for a band-aid job at best. And when this past Thanksgiving weekend started Wednesday night, none of the four managers ever answered their phones when called for help. Staff are becoming more disengaged as the days go by.
Given the facts about this organization, we can see the trajectory of where this is going. The morale, resident care, and the integrity of the organization is going down, and not UP.
There is no sUPport from their leaders, and that is exactly why these issues exist.
A leader’s role in any organization is to give their teams full sUPport in order to take care of Job #1. Whether it’s assembling cars, caring for the elderly, working on a client proposal, or selling hot dogs at the ballpark, every person on your team is in need of your support, every day.
There are many other instances of poor leadership sUPport:
- A new director asked a staff member about the quick and decisive changes she made. He told her the truth, not wanting to be her “yes-man” and because he felt she needed the honest feedback. From that moment on she limited the resources he needed to do his job
- A restaurant manager was reprimanded by their regional manager when an HR person who dined there was not treated like a VIP
- A department director asked for emergency capital money for a major equipment failure from the administrator. The administrator asked the board and was denied. She asked the director to see if the equipment could be fixed. When it could be band-aided for a time, the administrator told the director that she would be written up if she made the administrator look bad again in asking the board for budgeted money.
- A regional director told a store manager to cut staff hours from what was actually worked from a grand opening. The store manager refused, as they did not know there was a budget for hours and was not going to do anything unethical. The regional told the store manager to stop making him look [bad] and made it difficult for the store manager to get promoted.
These examples show how poor leadership can wreak havoc and discord in an organization. Ultimately the staff suffers, and the customers, then the revenues, and then the expenses. Productivity goes down, and waste (deliberately or not) goes up.
So how can leaders best sUPport their teams, and thus their customers or clients? Some thoughts and observations:
- Listening to BOTH sides of an issue to gather all the facts and discern an issue
- Provide ALL the necessary training, tools, and understanding of the job tasks required
- Give CLEAR communication, never attempt to mislead or horde information
- BE THERE, physically, for the staff, cover shifts, work alongside, understand their needs and concerns
- Run every system through CONSTANTLY, to see ways to improve and where any gaps are that impact the team
- FIX things that need repair, don’t band-aid them
- Talk your people UP, let them know they are vital to the mission
- Make EVERY thing you promise be backed UP with ACTION
- Instill TRUST by following-through with your promises, and when they are implemented, that they continue to sUPport your team
Don’t make leadership about you. Leadership is about EVERYONE ELSE. If you seek your own self-interests, you have disqualified yourself as a leader, as your influence for others has been diverted to yourself.
Give your people the sUPport they deserve. Their jobs, and yours, depend on it.