The following column has been reprinted from healthsystemCIO.com’s 11/18 eNewsletter (to register for our complimentary weekly eNewsletter, click here)
Most people who’ve attained leadership positions (such as CIO) understand the importance of building a solid team, and almost all of those who “get it” say they’ve also done it. For some, however, this vision doesn’t match reality. For example, I’ve worked for individuals whose team building skills seemed straight from Stalin’s Manual on Employee Motivation, but suspect they also (mistakenly) felt loved by the minions at their mercy.
If we take for granted that teambuilding is an essential ingredient of success, and throw into the mix a shortage of qualified HIT talent, you had better do more than think you’re good at it.
At its most basic level, building a strong team – which simply means employees like both you and the work environment you’ve created – starts with understanding that you are there for them, not the other way around. You are there to open doors, remove barriers, obtain resources and mentor, not extract, squeeze and cajole every ounce of productivity out of them.
Let me give you an example. In a past life, I once told my team they could work from home when confronted with the arduous NYC commute that attends heavy snowfall. To my surprise, I was berated by my manager for this “indulgent” approach. “You know, they’re not really going to work all day at home!” I was told.
Yes, I did know that, and I didn’t care. I knew whatever “hours” the company lost on that day would magically turn into goodwill which had its own value. I knew that telling my team they could skip fighting the busses, trains and subways (made 10 times more inefficient in bad weather) would be extremely appreciated. Especially when you’re not paying top dollar, this is the kind of gesture that makes employees think twice about jumping ship for seemingly greener pastures.
Take a minute today and reflect on how you treat your team. Do you say yes to 99 percent of their requests for flexibility, time off, etc? Are you willing to put them up for a promotion, even though it means you’d lose direct benefit of their services? Do you think more about what you can do for them than what you’ll make them do for you? If you’re answering these questions correctly, you might just keep the few people who make your professional life worth living. If not, they’ll leave, and you’ll be left answering to a boss who wants to know why you can’t build a solid team.