April 2011 19
“Have a clear vision, communicate it and allow yourself to be challenged by it.”
In the following excerpt from CareerBuilder’s recent interview with Robert P. Wise, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hunterdon Medical Center, Wise discusses, among other things, how growing up in a health care environment influenced his role as a leader in this industry today.
HOW DO YOU RELATE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES ON A PERSONAL BASIS WHILE ENGAGING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST COMING IN AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL ON A DAILY BASIS?
I have the benefit of having grown up in a health care environment. When I became an orderly in a nursing home it gave me an opportunity to see hierarchy at work. I saw how difficult it was for people at higher levels to communicate with people at lower levels, and I didn’t feel good about it. There was no reason why that should exist in an organization where people depend upon each other. A team is critical, and a team caring about each other and respecting each other is critical.
HOW DO YOU FOSTER A CULTURE OF LEARNING, ADVANCEMENT AND PERSONAL GROWTH?
We have a program where employees can catch other employees doing the right thing, called Caught in the Act. We probably have around a thousand Caught in the Act awards that we recognize every year in celebrations. It’s a way of [helping] employees see the good in each other and also spreads and reinforces the culture.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU HAVE MADE AS A LEADER IN YOUR TENURE HERE?
I think that the most important one was when we laid off 26 employees. We had never had a layoff before, and we worked the numbers as well as we could. We had to confront the fact that we had to have a small reduction in force. To release those people I think was the toughest thing we had to do. And not only that, the workforce was negatively affected by it that rippled throughout the organization.
Social media is merely a new term for what we’ve always known about: water cooler talk. However, the talk no longer stays around the break room. Everyone’s opinions and idle chatter no longer spread only through word-of-mouth – they are going viral. Thoughts and opinions are now being posted, tweeted, updated, shared, taped, vlogged, linked to and seen by more people than ever before.
I remember once walking across my college campus and noticing several groups of people snickering. I looked up to find the target of their stares: A girl walking ahead of me. She was wearing a flouncy miniskirt (which was very cool at the time) and she was completely unaware of the attention of the groups of people around her — attention brought on by the fact that the back half of her skirt was accidentally tucked into the waist of her underwear for the entire world to see.
Similarly, many organizations today are completely unaware that they are exposing their hiring “underwear” to the world.
There's no real "getting away" from the public eye now; just ask any celebrity who just been caught picking their nose in public, only to have a picture of it published in the media that very day. Still, companies need to be much more aware of what is going on around them and how their actions are viewed by others before getting out into the public eye.
As many of you are likely aware, today is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day (I know, doesn’t it feel like just yesterday that we were celebrating its 40th?). Around the world, people are celebrating and raising awareness of Earth Day’s mission by taking part in everything from clean air and water projects, to bike rides as they ditch their cars, to sending text messages like “TREE” to donate to green causes.
While you were busy preparing for the long-awaited reunion with Ted, Danny, Mr. Ernst and the rest of the gang at Bar None Dude Ranch, celebrating Earth Day the way Gaia always intended it, or suddenly having a new appreciation for Rebecca Black…here’s what’ s been happening in the world of workforce management...
- Employees complaining about long work hours? Show them this infographic that demonstrates working patterns around the world. They’ll shut up good when they check out Mexico, Japan and Portugal. (Life,Inc.)
- Sure, it’s all fun and games until someone gets heart disease. If your health benefits don’t cover adult onset diabetes, you might want to cool it with the office candy jar contributions. (Wall Street Journal)
- You don’t have to be a reality show star to launch a successful business. (It probably doesn’t hurt, though) (Hollywood Reporter)
- More companies finally get what Dolly Pardon was singing about. More companies are enabling employees to take a break from the traditional 9 to 5 by offering flexible working arrangements to increase retention, productivity and morale. (Fortune)
- From the playground to the workplace, bullies are everywhere. A new survey shows that not only is bullying rampant in the workplace, but bosses are the biggest offenders. (For shame!) (The Hiring Site)
- And you thought you just had to watch what you said over email…Employers be warned: Employees everywhere are now using cell phones and other digital to secretly record what they think is discriminatory or inappropriate activity at the office. (ABC News)
- If there’s one thing Hollywood loves, it’s causing workplace trouble via Twitter. ‘Glee’ producers weren’t so delighted after one of the show’s actors spoiled a major storyline. (Yahoo!)
- Offering free coffee will no longer suffice. As more reports link sleep deprivation and on-the-job mishaps, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently changed its rules to require an extra hour of rest between shifts for air traffic controllers. (Chicago Tribune)
Say what you will about reality TV: there are quality programs out there that are not only entertaining, but that truly enrich people’s lives. Just ask Shelly Sun, CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care, one of the nation’s fastest growing private healthcare companies. Last week, Sun, along with her husband, JD, appeared on the CBS hit reality show Undercover Boss, which follows different bosses each week as they go incognito to learn more about the inner workings of their companies.
Asked if she would do it all over again, she doesn’t need to think twice: “Absolutely,” she told me in a recent phone interview, going on to describe the experience as “really impactful.”
Shelly Sun had the itch to go undercover as a boss long before her episode ever aired. A fan of the show since its premiere in 2010, Sun recalls watching the episode featuring 7-Eleven CEO Joe DePinto and thinking, “What a great opportunity to really see what goes on the front lines.”
So it’s not surprising that when Undercover Boss producers approached Sun about appearing on the show last year, she jumped at the opportunity. “It was a no-brainer,” Sun says about her decision to go undercover. Before Shelly and her husband appeared on the show, “they hadn’t featured a woman, they’d never had a minority…no one who’d ever started actually put their money on the line and risked it all to have a business.” Shelly and her husband started BrightStar Care in 2002 after they couldn’t find quality and reliable home healthcare for her husband’s grandmother. So she was excited by the opportunity to help make that happen and represent a new face of the CEO.
More than anything, however, Sun was eager to witness and pay tribute to the dedication of her caregivers and hard work of her franchisees.
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In the leadership workshops I conduct for Millennials, one of the key points I emphasize is that even an entry-level management position IS a leadership role. I also explain to them the need to understand the difference between a leadership mindset and a manager mindset from Day One of their first professional job. After all, they are judged on everything they do and say – and everything they don’t do and don’t say – from the very beginning of their career.
As their supervisor or employer, your goal should be to help your employees understand this concept. You’ve probably heard the saying, “People don’t leave companies; they leave managers.” Be sure to share that with your Millennial employees and emphasize that your goal is to help them avoid being a young leader employees choose to leave.
To further illustrate this point, consider the following key differences between a manager mindset and a leader mindset. Share these with your Millennial employees as well, as you work with them to adopt leadership into their personal management styles:
1. Leaders seek employee commitment – Managers seek employee compliance
2. Leaders are proactive – Managers are reactive
3. Leaders create change – Managers maintain the status quo
4. Leaders take risks – Managers are risk-averse
5. Leaders are passionate – Managers are controlling
6. Leaders create loyal followers – Managers have subordinates
7. Leaders use personal charisma – Managers rely on bestowed authority
8. Leaders give credit – Managers take credit
9. Leaders understand what motivates each employee – Managers stick to a one-size-fits-all approach
Managers who choose not to embody important leadership qualities suffer – as do their employees and their companies as a whole. Shortsighted managers tend to focus on process and procedures, not people and vision, whereas leaders focus on the latter first.
Groom your Millennial employees to blend solid management skills with strong leadership qualities, and they will have a much better chance of succeeding in any role, at any level, within your organization.
If you missed the first part of this three-part series on preparing your Millennial employees for leadership, you can read about 6 Ways to Retain Your Gen Y Future Leaders now. Soon to come: “12 Problem Solving Tips to Teach Your Gen Y Future Leaders,” ths final part of this series.
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