We all hear the mantra trotted out at times from leaders that people are their greatest asset. Often there is a huge difference between the talk and action when it comes to big organisations and the NHS is no exception.
Yet in the NHS it really is a people based organisation. The results that are delivered or not delivered is often down to the performance of people.
Now I am a great believer that no one turns up for work with the intention of doing a bad job. We all know that there will be days when we are really fired up and on a roll and others when we struggle just to get going.
However, this is very different to a situation where people are just frustrated and become de-motivated and disengaged.
Often this is down to the way people are managed and lead.
Having worked at various levels, including Board level in the NHS, I know that leading and managing is not easy and is challenging. At the same time it can be hugely rewarding.
So what can leaders and managers actually do to get consistent performance through people?
Get The Balance Right
Of course there will be many meetings to attend, targets to be met and problems to be solved. Faced with this, it is so easy to focus on doing and forget about people. Try to get the balance right.
Acknowledge The Contribution Others Can Make
In most big organisations, including the NHS there is a tendency to get hung up on hierarchy and grades and lose sight of the range of skills and expertise people have. There is probably a lot of untapped potential.
Listen To People
People who work in an area day in and day out can see opportunities to improve them. Sometimes however a lack of willingness to listen means ideas never get aired because people will feel that they will just fall on deaf ears.
Give People Support and Permission
Just because you are the most senior person, does not mean you have to lead and implement every improvement idea. It is much better to give them permission and support them to make their improvement a reality.
Focus On What Can Rather Than What Can’t Be Done
I am sure we have all come across the leader and manager who comes up with 25 reasons why it can’t be done. Any improvement is going to mean some challenges and obstacles along the way. The fact is you don’t have to make the whole improvement all at once. Small incremental steps can lead to big changes.
I often hear people say their team is not motivated. Yet when you ask them what they do to motivate, the most common response is that they don’t have any budget for it. While money might help short term, in the long term simple things like saying thank you and giving positive feedback will do a whole lot more in terms of motivation.
The Bottom Line: Great people are the catalyst for great performance in the NHS. Getting the best from people relies on great leadership and management skills in my experience.
Goals and Achievements help NHS organisations deliver great performance through people. Learn more here.