Guest Columns

Muse moments — engaging the hearts of those you lead

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Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ
Martie L. Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ

February brings hearts, flowers and candies to store shelves. Well truthfully, heart-shaped candy quickly replaced Santas and candy canes at some retailers the day after Christmas.

The celebration of Valentine's Day is a celebration of love and connection. It also is statistically one of the highest dates for engagements to happen. When you translate that to the world of healthcare, how then do you engage the hearts of those you lead on a daily basis when our traditions seem to be a once-a-year event?

You make it a daily event

Engagement is becoming one of the top topics for 2017.  Studies show that engagement influences morbidity and mortality statistics more than employee satisfaction. This means employee engagement does influence quality outcomes and does influence your organization's ratings. 

There is a difference between satisfaction and engagement. Here are some questions to reflect upon as you work to engage the hearts and heads of the teams you lead:

• Does your leadership team understand the difference and are they focused on the right leadership actions?  

• Does your team have an inspiring vision of how their work makes a difference and contributes to the mission and vision of the organization or the lives they serve? 

All employees need to feel connected to the work that they do. A powerful tool leaders can use to achieve this is storytelling. Let me tell you my own story.

When I first joined Medline, I was out rounding and walked into the manufacturing plant. I watched as medicine cup after medicine cup were being made. One of the employees came over and asked me if I needed help. I introduced myself and stated, I never thought about the process of how medicine cups were made.

She replied with a strong conviction in her voice, “Oh, I do. I think about the people who will use these cups for medications that help them to feel better or ease their pain. I make sure that the cups going out of here are perfect for them.” 

I paused and then thanked her for her commitment to quality and those we serve. I also apologized and shared that as a nurse, I have used more cups than I can count and never thought about the process behind them being available to me. To me, these comments signaled a highly engaged employee who understood that what she was doing made a meaningful difference at the point of care.

Do you have a culture of gratitude within your team and your own leadership? Gratitude is the spark that keeps engagement alive in the hearts and heads of employees. Not just the occasional thank you, but authentic gratitude for their contributions.

Servant leadership is emerging as a style of leadership that can be far more successful in today's environment than traditional leadership styles. Sometimes, it just takes a change of heart to change your style. 

Martie Moore, RN, MAOM, CPHQ, is the chief nursing officer at Medline Industries Inc. and a corporate advisory council member for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel.

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Guest columns are written by long-term care industry experts, ranging from academics and thought leaders to administrators and CEOs.

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