Good managers are defined by their employees’ performance and know how to get the best out of every team member.
At a recent AMCP Nexus talk, Patty Taddei-Allen, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, BCGP, director of outcomes research at WellDyneRx, outlined strategies for leading a team successfully. She stressed that leadership isn’t a static thing—it requires managers to continually adapt to their employees needs and behaviors.
Here are four tips for helping you get the most out of your team.
1. Hire right
Even the best manager could do very little with a bad team. That’s why hiring is a vital part of a team-building strategy.
Taddei-Allen said that one area managers should focus on is a potential employee’s soft skills. She said that, while still very important, great resumes or perfect clinical skills mean little next to a person’s ability to relate to people—whether that be patients or colleagues.
She highlighted several skills employers should look for:
- Communication skills, which involve the obvious verbal skills shown in an interview, but also include written skills (e.g., if this person sends an email, will it be easily understood or will it require time-wasting clarification?).
- Basic persuasion skills, which allow team members to receive and transmit information in a timely and relatable way.
- Listening skills, which include negotiation and body language, making other team members feel important.
The final, and perhaps most important soft skill according to Taddei-Allen, is empathy. Empathy, she said, is the ability to build trust among team members. A team member who sees only his or her own personal agenda will bring down team morale and create a poor work environment.
2. Know what skills you need
Certain personality traits make for a good leader. Not only is this important for hiring potential leaders, it’s also important to recognize what category you fall into. Tadei-Allen discussed the Big Five model of personality, which can be summarized by the acronym OCEAN.
- Openness: Creative, accepting of new and nontraditional ideas.
- Conscientiousness: Extremely reliable, motivated to get things done.
- Extroversion: Outgoing, good with relationships.
- Agreeableness: Tend to defer to others, a people-pleaser.
- Neuroticism: Prone to worry or have anxiety.
When groups of leaders were surveyed about the most important traits, respondents agreed that openness and extroversion were the most important traits in a good leader, while they associate agreeableness with poor leadership skills. Interestingly, neuroticism was not significant to them in determining leadership effectiveness.
3. Explain the why to employees
A good team is a motivated team and, according to Taddei-Allen, emotional intelligence is key for creating that motivation. She defined emotional intelligence as the ability to understand others’ feelings while also controlling and understanding your own. Emotional intelligence allows leaders to build the relationships that create good teams.
With a good relationship, leaders can then give employees what Taddei-Allen said is possibly the most important—but often overlooked—aspect of what motivates employees. Good leaders show their employees the “why” of what they are doing, not just the “how” and the “what.”
Do your employees know why their work is important? This may seem easier in a healthcare setting, but do all of your employees know how everything they’re doing is directly helping someone?