Out of Your Element - Leadership on Any Given Sunday

Teamwork is good. Accomplishing strategic goals as a team is even better. Unfortunately, it's taking H/HC a bit longer to catch on to the values of a team-based culture than some other industries.

There are literally hundreds of blogs offering teamwork and leadership tips and hints.

With the variety of definitions and recommendations swirling in the online ether, sometimes it feels like you're more liable to get a head ache than get ahead.

In honor of it being the weekend, and a gorgeous day, and just because I'm not feeling verbose, let's simplify things a bit. Here are some not-so-brilliant definitions of managing and leading:

If you're a successful manager or executive, people do what you say because they have to.

If you're a successful leader or coach, people do what you say because they want to.

Can you be both a successful leader and manager? Probably. But that's a talk for another time.

Now, if you want to learn about leadership you can read a book, a blog, or go to a workshop/conference.

If you want to see leadership in action, get out of your element. Go out to a local sports bar any given Sunday.

I'm sitting in the midst of fans from both conferences at a Northern Virginia Steelers haunt now (long story and not usually how I spend my weekend).

Fans here polarize around their favorite teams, but at each color-blocked table a captain emerges. This person leads the cheers and tablemates follow.

The table captain may be self-selected or emerge from a more stable base of similarly engaged fans. But why do the fans at the rest of the table tend to join in?

Why? They all want the team to do well. They all want the team to win. The leader is simply the most vocal about communicating this desire, and team members lend vocal chords to the effort. Everyone wants to be involved and engaged.

If more of our hospital 'table captains' showed 1/100th the passion, devotion, and enthusiasm of these fans (or their analytical acumen - I've been approached multiple times to verify a statistic using my laptop), maybe healthcare would have a hope of successful reform after all.

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