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Behind brave faces: What support leaders need from their organization in 2021

By Alexander Polyak

July 7, 2021

    In May 2021, we launched our Health Care Leader Well-being Survey to take a pulse-check on how leaders are feeling as we enter a new and uncertain phase in the global pandemic. We've already received replies from hundreds of health care leaders around the globe, and—if you haven't already—we encourage you to participate; it will only take 3-5 minutes.

    The survey concludes by asking leaders a simple, open-ended question: "What types of support do you want from your organization in order to better maintain your well-being and to feel equipped to lead through uncertainty?" Here are 10 of their anonymous replies:

    1. "I want to develop a culture of accountability and reduce the matrixed reporting structure. Direct org charts would increase accountability. Our workforce is too slim.  There are also no events to bring the leadership team together outside of the work environment. I feel like we barely know each other and as a result, we don't work together very effectively." 

    2. "Better support through staffing needs. I cannot 'turn off' work even when I leave because staffing is always an issue. Even if we were fully staffed, according to our incredibly low budget it is still not enough to run effectively and smoothly. I am screening calls and emails after work hours daily and especially during PTO time. I also do not feel my supervisor is equipped and knowledgeable enough to handle situations when I am not in the office. This typically causes more clean-up and problem-solving once I return. 

    3. "They have campaigns about self-care but it's not actually modeled by leadership, which makes everyone under them feel obligated to live at the job. Leaders need to set boundaries between personal and professional lives, too, which will encourage others to do the same. There's an unwritten peer pressure to work above and beyond, and now most are burned out."

    4. "I work as a project manager in an acute care facility. Time to think and plan no longer exists.  Very little planned work has been delayed or cancelled in spite of COVID.  The time to plan and think through concepts has been completely stripped out of the workday.  The entire day is spent just trying to stay "caught up" on all the existing work and the changes that need to be addressed."

    5. "How about asking me if I'm okay, just once. It's amazing how my C-suite colleagues who have no operational or clinical responsibilities can work from home and nobody suggested I take a day off."

    6. "There is nothing more the org can do. We are all in the same situation. I am not alone and don't feel alone."

    7. "Managers are expected to work more, take less time off, this used to be rewarded by paying out unused vacation. Now vacation is capped. That was a slap in the face."   

    8. "An understanding that it is ok to 'productively complain.' We are integrating with a large health system, on top of Covid, and the work and change is tremendous. But I don't feel there is an acceptance or understanding of all that that entails. We are expected to always be positive, always supportive of change, not to negatively speak out."

    9. "As a woman, for wanting to prioritize my family not to be seen as a weakness or inability to be given new opportunities. The pandemic has amplified gender differences in the workplace, and diversity and inclusion programs often focus on race and religion, when gender discrimination continues to go ignored and unacknowledged." 

    10. "Open sharing from other leaders as to what they actually do to keep themselves Jack closes his office door from 230-3pm M, W, F to do yoga; Jill goes to the gym to swim in the evenings, Jack goes to the gym to swim in the evenings, Jill walks for 30 minutes before work, Tom, Dick, and Harry all drink a glass of wine in the evenings after work... be honest with revealing positive and negative behaviors."

    We will continue to collect survey responses through mid-July and deeply appreciate your contribution. At such a pivotal moment in health care, your replies ensure that our research is best aligned to meet the needs of leaders round the globe. Thank you.

    Take the survey

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