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Be the change that you wish to see.... in your healthcare business meetings Part 3 of 5

By Adrienne Evatt

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This series of blogs discusses the tremendous opportunity -- and responsibility -- that leaders have to drive positive change through their behavior at meetings. You can access Part 1 and Part 2 to learn the first four traits of effective meeting leadership. In this blog, we move on to the next two critical behaviors.

5. Listen

It's amazing to me how many people think they are good listeners. Consider the number of people who feel that they rarely experience a good listener, and we can reasonably conclude that there are some folks out there who think they are better at it than they really are. I say this merely to bring attention to the concepts that underlie good listening, and to inspire some self-reflection on your current skills. The two most commonly required changes in leadership behavior are 1) slow down and 2) show you understand. It is human nature to try to determine what someone is going to say before they finish their sentence. However, when you complete a sentence for a speaker, it can be drastically de-energizing as a listening technique, even though the speaker may feel you are demonstrating keen insight. Waiting patiently to make your point is another behavior that takes attention away from what the speaker is saying. If you are finishing sentences for others, thinking of a point that you will add, or generally jumping in to make your own point, you may need to think seriously about slowing down the conversation. Taking the time to use your toolbox of active listening techniques will pay large dividends in the form of productive conversations and overall goodwill (the term 'go slow to go fast' applies here). Showing real understanding in your remarks and having the speaker acknowledge that you are mirroring their content accurately will lead to a much richer and more robust dialogue and idea sharing. As a leader, demonstrating outstanding listening skills allows you to model behavior that you would like to see more broadly in the organization, and it can also make you seem much more approachable, which may expose you to more innovation and creativity in lower ranks.

6. Determine how well your presenter knows the material

Sometimes, you should ask a few questions that you already know the answer to. Each meeting you have with anyone in your system is an opportunity to get additional data and collect feedback. All interactions are performance reviews, so try to get the most out of each one. Don't be shy about pushing for more information and don't accept "I don't know" or "I'll need to get back to you" without an explanation, especially if it is in an area of expertise that you expect that individual to have mastered. Think of the power in knowing something more about how your staff is performing and finding out in a way that allows you to assess true operational knowledge. Don't we all want our leaders and staff to know the business of healthcare extremely well? Have they thought through applications, impacts, consequences, benchmarks, organizational considerations, and workforce planning, to name a few considerations? Are they relying so heavily on consultants that they don't understand their own business as well as they should? Your meetings are a great way to pulse and prod in this area... take the opportunity to make every interaction a source of input for your staff's performance reviews.

Look for the next blog covering another set of leadership behaviors that can change your organization. Performance Solutions' culture driven performance model can help your organization lead change in this and many other ways.


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