Facilities Managers: Do You Manage Leaders or Followers?

December 16, 2014

Facilities Managers: Do You Manage Leaders or Followers?

Lead me, follow me or get out of my way. Gen. George S. Patton Sr.

With the New Year just around the corner, it’s a great time to take stock of the last 12 months with a critical eye trained on your healthcare facilities management staff. They’re the people who help you get things done (or not) at your facility based largely on what kind of leader you really are.

When your mind drifts to your staff, some version of the following questions must be swimming in your head:

  • Who are “the keepers” I can really count on?
  • Who are committed to my departmental goals?
  • What do my staffers really need?
  • How can I pay my top performers more money?

As hard as it may be, resist the temptation to do impromptu, mini-performance reviews in your head of each staffer and do this simple exercise: Formulate a simple list of questions you want to know about your staffers, then answer them honestly of yourself, with the goal of helping you better understand what kind of leader you are. Or, as Gen. Patton famously said, “Do everything you ask of those you command.”

While no two facilities management environments are alike, following some variation of this simple exercise will deepen the insights you have about your co-workers, help you evolve into a leader they need to follow and inspire them to become leaders too.

1. Do I look for solutions rather than complaining about problems or limitations?

For example, with the emphasis of Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores changing the healthcare facilities landscape, not to mention hospital reimbursements, are you staying competitive by focusing on answers?

2. Am I always communicating my needs clearly to my staffers?

Effective communication is making sure things are done right the first time, and every time thereafter, like following handwashing protocols that stop the spread of disease and can save lives.

3. Do I enjoy learning?

In other words, are you staying current with advances in facilities management by taking advantage of hi-tech tools, like the Robust Process Improvement program of resources developed by The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare?

4. Am I always looking for efficiencies?

Bringing more value to your organization by looking for ways to improve processes is an important trait of any good facilities manager.

One way to get a more accurate look at processes that can bring more value — making dollars stretch a little bit farther — to your healthcare facility: Take advantage of benchmarking tools like the latest version of the Benchmarking Health Care Facility Management Report built to help facilities managers take more active roles in the transition of healthcare facilities to accountable care organizations.

5. How can I be more productive?

Being a good, productive facilities manager and leader takes time and practice to get things right, all the time and every time. Along the way to getting things right, however, the amount of time you’re spending at the office, or at home monitoring operations on your own time has been creeping up.

In the meantime, your overall efficiency on the job and your precious free time has been dropping steadily, a good reason to try some of the effective time management hacks we’ve suggested previously in this space.

This simple list of questions is just a start, and you can add or delete as you please. The main goal of this creative exercise: Helping you become a more effective leader by demonstrating to your team members the important traits they need to be successful in their daily work lives, and inspire them to become leaders in their own right.

The best example of success in their work lives is you. “Be the change you wish to be in the world” isn’t an accurate quote by Mahatma Gandhi, but it certainly is germane in the world of facilities management.

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For assistance on fostering leadership at your facility, contact Vanguard Resources.