Today, while rounding in the hospital kitchen, as I entered the dishwashing line I saw an employee and her supervisor working together washing dishes. The employee assigned to do dishes was by herself with a moving line of breakfast dishes. Her supervisor, has some choices:
- Stay in his office and try to call for someone to call in to help.
- Move another employee from another prep area and make that area short
- Roll up his sleeves and work
When assigned to lead other people, it's hard to do your management duties and also do the work, but many times the right thing to do is to LEAD FROM THE FRONT. When the ED got very busy, I sometimes went to triage and triaged incoming patients. An example is set that our leader is willing to pitch in and help us.
I like the television series "Undercover Boss". It highlights company CEO's who have rarely been seen outside of ivory towers that wear a disguise and rotate some of the more routine jobs of the company. Invariably, the CEO learns pearls of wisdom from the frontline employees who are generating millions for his company. http://www.cbs.com/shows/undercover_boss/ Leaders need to find a way to be more familiar to the front line. I use taped video messaging of my hopes for how we provide service and my expectations for our team members.
I've not been in the military, but I think the military understands leading from the front. Troops have to be led into battle. All the supervisors can't just stand back in a safe place and say "OK guys, go get em!"
If that is true, what are the behaviors we as leaders need to exhibit, when we are leading from the front:
- Knowledge of the Plan
- Resource Person
- Calmness Under Pressure
- Technical Skill
- Excellent Customer Service
A closely related skill to leading from the front is the skill of delegation. Here are some do's and don'ts for delegation:
- delegate tasks that can be done better by someone else.
- delegate tasks that will develop another person.
- delegate tasks that are repetitive in nature.
- delegate things that you just don't want to do.
- delegate things that you are not willing to be responsible for if mistakes are made.