Subscribe
How to increase teamwork and productivity
Rheumatology Practice Management December 2015 Vol 3 No 6 - Leadership
Chase Doyle

Bellevue, WA—Although the link between leadership and effective communication has long been acknowledged, developing the latter is still easier said than done. At the 2015 annual meeting of the National Organization of Rheumatology Managers (NORM), Tracy L. Spears, CEO of the Exceptional Leaders Lab, discussed the importance of this seemingly elusive skill, offering straightforward strategies that can be applied immediately in one’s practice—increasing teamwork and employee productivity in the process.

For Ms Spears, understanding communication begins with the 4 stages of learning. The first stage, unconscious incompetence, is an individual’s lack of awareness of his or her own incompetence. Or as Ms Spears put it: “You have no idea that you have no idea.”

A hands-on demonstration—simple to visualize but not so simple to execute—provided the explanation. From head to hip, on both sides of her body, Ms Spears shifted her right hand and her left—simultaneously but asymmetrically.

Okay, maybe it is not so easy to visualize, but it is even harder to execute. The point was, the audience was firmly ensconced in the second stage of learning—conscious incompetence.

“Now you’re aware that you’re not very good at something,” Ms Spears laughed, as people struggled in vain against the flailing of their own limbs.

You might be wondering, What does this have to do with leadership?

“Too often we bring people into our practice with great expectations, and we thrust them into an environment that’s a little different than how they’ve ever operated before,” Ms Spears explained.

In other words, new employees frequently find themselves stuck, like the audience, at stage 2 of the process. Getting people over this hump of the learning curve is thus a critical part of leadership. Some thrive in an unfamiliar environment, summoning vast reserves of inner motivation. Others flounder. The trick is to identify those who are suffering but unable to reach out and address that state of initial anxiety.

“Effective communication involves empathy,” said Ms Spears, “but it’s also about reinforcing expectations.”

Whether helping a fledgling hire gain competence in a new role or addressing those members of the team who are underperforming for other reasons, leadership demands practice in what Ms Spears calls the crucial conversation.

“A crucial conversation,” said Ms Spears, “is one in which, if you don’t have the conversation, things are not going to better.”

Because we naturally avoid confrontation in our lives, Ms Spears simplified the process, offering an easy-to-follow outline for these necessary exchanges.

The script goes as follows:

  1. Explain the reason for the meeting.
  2. This concerns me because….
  3. Confirm the individual’s understanding of the issue.
  4. Make a clear coaching recommendation.
  5. Confirm the recommendation and have the individual repeat it back.
  6. Set up a review time.
  7. Clarify your confidence in the person.

Although mastery of the crucial conversation is challenging, to avoid it altogether is to risk compromising the culture of your practice.

“The number one problem that people have in leadership,” Ms Spears explained, “is [not] having a crucial conversation. What makes somebody a great leader is having the ability to take someone who is underperforming and to inspire them to perform at a higher level.”

Great leaders have this conversation, said Ms Spears, helping their employees transition to stage 3 of the learning process (conscious competence) and, ultimately, to the mastery of stage 4 (unconscious competence).

When it comes to the hands trick, however, I’m still stuck on stage 2.

Related Items
Referring Radical Prostatectomies to High-Volume Providers Could Save Millions
Chase Doyle
Urology Practice Management - August 2016, Vol 5, No 4 published on August 15, 2016 in Prostate Cancer
Measuring Outcomes to Improve Quality
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management April 2016 Vol 4 No 2 published on May 18, 2016 in Reimbursement
From MACRA to MIPS: The New Incentives System for Providers
Chase Doyle
Urology Practice Management - April 2016, Vol 5, No 2 published on May 4, 2016 in Reimbursement
From MACRA to MIPS: The Impact of New Payment Systems on Providers
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management February 2016 Vol 4 No 1 published on March 10, 2016 in Payment Models
Understanding Risks and Benefits: A Biosimilar Primer
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management December 2015 Vol 3 No 6 published on January 18, 2016 in Biosimilars
Addressing Fertility Issues in Younger Women with Breast Cancer
Chase Doyle
Oncology Practice Management - December 2015, Vol 5, No 9 published on December 22, 2015 in Survivorship
From Volume to Value: The Changing Economics and Regulations of Healthcare
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management October 2015 Vol 3 No 5 published on November 2, 2015 in NORM Highlights
Assessment and Renegotiation of Payer Contracts
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management October 2015 Vol 3 No 5 published on November 2, 2015 in NORM Highlights
The Impact of New Payment Systems on Rheumatology Practices
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management October 2015 Vol 3 No 5 published on November 2, 2015 in NORM Highlights
Many Hats Fit One Head: The Heroic Responsibilities of a Practice Manager
Chase Doyle
Rheumatology Practice Management October 2015 Vol 3 No 5 published on November 2, 2015 in NORM Highlights
Last modified: February 19, 2016
  • American Health and Drug Benefits
  • Lynx CME
  • Value Based Care in Rheumatology
  • Oncology Practice Management
  • Urology Practice Management

Search