Original Publish Date: January 11, 2022
We have the opportunity to begin anew, with a fresh start in our organizations, our families, and our world. With unrelenting changes in the past two years, we are being challenged to find new answers, forge new horizons, and create organizations that are desirable and retentive. The Great Resignation has not slowed down and finding and keeping dedicated employees is an increasing and ongoing goal. Putting people first is not only necessary, but also the path to rebuilding workplace cultures that are better, happier, more productive, and more successful for the long-term. Rebuilding and creating a desirable workplace culture requires thinking outside the “spreadsheet” and moving outside of the proverbial box. A renewal for 2022 demands a clear vision from a higher vantage point with leaders who are willing to change the outmoded models of leadership.
Healthcare, of all industries, has suffered immensely from the past two years of the pandemic. People on the front lines are exhausted and burned out. Everyone needs support and reenergizing. This necessary emotional support arises out of emotional intelligence and is one of the most important attributes needed to reenergize others. People who are respected, honored, and appreciated by both leaders and co-workers can more readily rise to the demands—whereas, people who feel criticized, blamed, or even ignored, can feel demoralized, burnt out, and hopeless.
Steps for Renewal
In this New Year, leaders can inspire employees and themselves to withstand and overcome upcoming challenges by committing to a clear vision which honors the spirit in all people. Leaders need to also recognize the contributions and seek feedback from everyone. Some possibilities for rebuilding, renewing, and reenergizing everyone in your organization include:
1. Be open to new ways and to new ideas.
As an individual, begin to let yourself be open to possibilities that you may have not considered before, or maybe resisted in the past. A closed mind is not usually recognized until we look at what we are blocking or resisting. Opening just a little can create a space where new ideas flow into our awareness. But as long as we are sure that the old way is working or is “just the way we have to do it” we shut off inspiration that could forge new paths. Practice noticing resistance in all your thinking, and you will start to see how being even a little bit open brings new people, new situations, and greater possibilities into your life. No matter how things look, there are always more options.
2. Listen to all points of view.
The best and most necessary changes and ideas come from people at the front lines and managers closest to the various issues and circumstances. Leaders who believe they must come up with the direction and answers are shooting themselves in the foot because their perspective is not in the details or actual processes. Listening to those who carryout and perform all the essential activities and services is the most important thing leaders can do. When you unleash the potential of employees’ contributions, solutions will be discovered, and the organization will expand. Commitment will grow and teamwork will increase. Better results will be attained from teamwork than actions based on top-down directives.
3. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable and unguarded can feel like a weakness. However, the effort to appear superior and invulnerable is an ego defense that blocks access and prevents people from speaking up, sharing, or telling you the truth. Being vulnerable is also the path to compassion. Throughout time, the leaders who changed the world, were strong in their vision and purpose, but they were willing to be vulnerable and humble. They could apologize, admit mistakes, receive criticism, and remain calm and forthright. Leaders with these traits are able to reenergize and inspire the people they are leading in their teams and throughout the organization.
4. Practice compassionate grace and empathy.
Healthcare is founded on compassion and taking care of those in need. The word compassion is in nearly every mission statement of every healthcare organization. And yet, I see so many leaders who forget to stop and feel empathy and compassion for the people with whom they work. Honoring the spirit in ourselves and others that is residing beneath our identities and roles is the key to building teamwork, energizing others, touching hearts, and rebuilding relationships with trust and compassion. Fear from many directions and sources permeates many workplace cultures, and having compassion and building trust opens communication, increases loyalty, and resolves workplaces problems and issues. When you are compassionate you illuminate the workplace and clear the shadows of fear and doubt.
5. Release grievances and practice forgiveness in the workplace, families, and friendships.
With all the turmoil in the world, we can’t solve everything at once. But we can, one by one, give up our resentments, our grudges, our victim thinking, and our self-righteousness and that will help heal the world. Recognize that when you are sure that you are 100% right and someone else is totally wrong—whether in the workplace, in government, in families, or anywhere--you are seeing only part of the picture. Self-righteousness is the result. We believe when we blame others it exonerates us. But the truth is, when we can forgive others, and stop blaming everyone else for issues, our workplaces, our families, our communities, and our world will be more peaceful.
Immediate Steps for Rebuilding and Renewing Relationships in 2022
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. -Rumi
Danna Beal, M.Ed., lives in the Seattle, WA area where she is an international speaker, author, retreat/workshop leader, and executive coach. She has spoken to thousands of businesses and conferences and has been on countless radio shows, podcasts, and webinars discussing “Enlightened Leadership” and “Workplace Culture” based on her book, “The Extraordinary Workplace: Replacing Fear with Trust and Compassion.” Her audiences and clients have included: Seattle Science Foundation--Spine Surgeons Grand Rounds, Swedish Hospital and Medical Groups, Kaiser Permanente Grand Rounds, Oakland, CA, AHRA, Orlando, FL, Federal Aviation Administration, Overlake Hospital Perioperative Conference, Radia, numerous physician practices and hospitals. Her website is www.dannabeal.com.