My client is the Executive Director of a medical clinic for low-income patients in her community. She is worried because the funding for her patient population is at risk. She knows it’s important to get out and be the “face” of the clinic in the community. To figure out how to navigate these challenging times, she will need to listen to the concerns of both her patients and her donors. She feels stuck though because her staff is dependent on her for daily operations. To step up as a leader, she will need to develop her team- now!
How Did I Get into This Dilemma?
Before I give you some helpful tips, this is the question I asked my client to avoid this situation in the future. “What would you have to GIVE UP if you are to STEP UP as a leader?” She told me she would have to STOP:
- Doing the work her team could not or did not do.
- Telling her team how to do their work.
- Having the easier tactical conversations instead of the higher level, strategic conversations.
She realized that fear was holding her back from making these changes. Fear that her team would change. What if someone leaves or needs to be replaced? Fear of loosing control, “ if my team is doing more- how do I control the outcomes?”
The Action Plan
- Start by identifying where to focus your development efforts first. In this example, there was one team member who would be most instrumental in freeing up the Director to be out in the community.
- Think long-term about your staff hierarchy. If you have no one to delegate to, you can’t step up as a leader.
- Be transparent. Let your team know that you are making a shift. Explain how this will help you as a leader, the organization and the capacity of the team.
A smooth running operation, providing quality care and collaborating with her community was the motivation for this leader to step up. Be ready for your next leadership opportunity with a team that is ready too!
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