By Eric Heckerson, EdD, RN, FACHE, Senior Manager for Content and Learning, HealthStream
Leadership Development: 3 Not-So-Simple Steps
The leadership development pipeline is broken at many healthcare companies across the country, and a significant number of them are rethinking their approach to leadership succession. Three fundamental characteristics to consider when developing future leaders are:
Ready, Set, Learn!
Culture is the set of beliefs and values that guide an organization. It refers to the way things are done around the company. In order to support a learning culture, the entire organization must be ready. This means making learning and development a priority. You must remove institutional barriers and be vigilant in protecting the development process. Also, undertake an honest assessment of timing in your organization. Factors like competing new programs, rollouts, and financial limits can all serve to impede development progress.
If everyone is not on the same page in terms of readiness, consider holding a structured discussion or visioning session. Have key leaders meet to determine where you are today in your leadership development programs, where you want to be, and how you are going to get there. Then list your competing priorities and decide their order. This will help you to decide your organizations level of readiness. Once you feel that readiness is in place, you can move forward to the second step.
The second step in developing a leadership culture requires that you align development to results-based competencies—those items needed to perform the job. This means you need to ensure competencies are in place for all staff members and leaders. What knowledge, skills, and abilities are expected of each group of individuals to perform their job and function well?
Remember as you build those competency-based development opportunities, high performers want to learn and grow and all adult learners prefer self-directed learning. Your future leaders want to build upon their experiences and want to apply learning to fixing problems.
Once you have established the baseline of a learning culture and leadership competencies, you are ready to go to step three - engaging learners. Target your development and engage learners based on what people want or they won’t pay attention to learning. Edward Bolles said it best, “we remember what we understand, we understand only what we pay attention to, and pay attention only to what we want.” So your challenge is to provide development content that is valuable and that employees want to learn.
To ensure that you have training, employees want, use the BELIEVER model to evaluate programs:
Brief training modules, as short as possible
Easy, ensure access is simple and easy to navigate
Linked to action, what should they do on the job with the information learned?
Interaction in class is key and is a great tactic to encourage two-way learning
Engage, keep their attention
Visual, use relevant but nondistracting graphics or videos
Effective speakers, use strong engaging experts
Relevant, focus on topics relevant to learner
Leadership skills are in demand, and there is a talent war being waged every day in healthcare. Leadership succession is especially troubled. According to Deloitte, more than 85 percent of business leaders believe they don’t have an adequate leadership pipeline. Half a million healthcare openings remain unfilled, and 75 percent of current nurse leaders plan to retire in just three years. This is a cresting crisis. Organizations must become adept not just at retention, but at developing and growing leaders as well because there simply are not enough qualified candidates to go around. The basics of readiness, alignment, and education are a solid foundation for your leadership development action plan.
Access the Webinar recording for Cultivate a Culture of Leaders in Healthcare here.
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