Showing up and finding a bright spot
I dragged myself along to the ward, it was a job that I had to do. I've been doing this job for ages. Yes, it's important and it's appreciated that I'm doing it. It's part of a bigger picture that will help improve safety, change our culture and in short, make a difference. So it ticks all the boxes I need for work. So what had happened?
This weekly task had become just that. I had stopped seeing it in the light of the big picture and it was close to becoming a drain on my time that was frustrating rather than fulfilling.
I had to audit several charts on a couple of wards, and a lot of the time we don't do as well as we should. It can be disappointment after disappointment. I give feedback to the charge nurses, I ask staff how they are finding it, what are their challenges, I ask them to explain parts I don't understand and listen to their stories, making notes on how I will be able to use this as we move forward.
My big part of my philosophy on leadership and change includes acknowledging the bright spots, celebrating and calling out the wins and maximizing peoples strengths. [This quote] I've seen this work in action! Sure it takes time but I believe it builds a sustainability into how we carry on. I believe, on a personal level, to your team members, it is more powerful than pointing out where we went wrong, the mistakes we made, the target we didn't meet.
Now please don't misunderstand me, when things don't go well we can all learn from that. When staff are not performing or their behavior is unacceptable we need to give that feedback. When targets aren't met we can frame how we look at them, sell the why and monitor our improvement. I'm not suggesting a 'ignore all the bad stuff' approach.
I'm suggesting that to motivate, inspire and bring a team to change you need to raise them up, not knock them down.
How does it make you feel when you've been told - well done - great work?
Back to my auditing.
I'm on the last set of notes, we haven't managed a 'yes' in this one category for any of the others. Then there it is.....a yes. Oh wow was I excited.
Then serendipity/karma took over. It happened to be handover time, the whole team was gathered. I could read out the example, give the context, celebrate with them, set the expectation of what we were looking for and show them with an example from their own team. The charge nurse asked me to say who it was - even bigger hurrah the nurse was in the room, so could take the praise and acknowledgement personally.
I was stoked. Chuffed. Pleased as punch. It made my week.
It also brought that bigger picture upfront. The change you can make isn't always going to be the big flash bang flashing stars kind of moment. It's in the daily habits, the work we may see as a boring and repetitive task. Showing up every week, talking with and getting to know the team meant that I was welcome and known at their handover. They knew the work I had put in every week, that I understood them and the work they were doing.
In short it was all worth it.