The advice that can help you become a successful team leader.
Making the transition from being a radiology team member to a radiology manager can be both exciting and daunting. Whether you’ve held a similar position before or you’re embarking on the role for the first time, you’ll want to ensure you’ll be the best leader you can be for your new team.
To help you on the road to being an effective, successful manager, Diagnostic Imaging spoke with Brian Fox, senior director of radiology at The Children’s Medical Center at the University of Dallas, about strategies that can enhance your management capabilities.
When you step into a manager role, it’s important for your team to see you as approachable and trustworthy. Make it clear that you’re invested in and care about your team members, their individual goals, and the goals of the team as they relate to your overall department.
Spend time outside your office, as well, Fox says. Work among your team members, listen to their concerns, learn their pain points, and help them devise solutions to problems. That way, they can concentrate their focus on patient care.
Additionally, demonstrate your accountability. When things don’t go as planned on your team, claim responsibility for the role you played.
If you’ve never been a manager before, reach out to one of your former managers or another manager you trust within your institution. Ask him or her to be your mentor or coach. Their guidance can help you identify the team-building skills you will need, as well as understand your financial and budgetary responsibilities.
In addition, you can seek out other resources available internally that can help you learn to effectively engagement your team members. Also, consider joining and staying active in professional organizations to further your career development.
Reading can also help guide you and help you grow the skill set you need to be a good manager, Fox says.
He recommends two books: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith and 6 Shortcuts To Employee Engagement: Lead & Success in a Do-More-With-Less World by Vicki Hess, RN. They could help you devise your managerial style.
Your team is far more likely to fall in line with your leadership if they understand your plan and motivation, Fox says. When you announce a change or a new plan, take the time to explain not only why you’re taking those steps, but also how you intend to accomplish the task. Detail what you’ll be doing together as a team.
Remember when you’re discussing new ventures and initiatives to stay humble, he reminds. Be sure you aren’t making yourself or your vision for the team the focal point of any new endeavors.
When you take on a management role, don’t automatically assume you know what’s most important to your team members or what might drive them to work hard. Talk with them and discover what makes them tick-do they respond to public praise or recognition or do they find it embarrassing? For some employees, the satisfaction of a job well done is motivation enough to continue to improve.
Fox recommends keeping a journal of your team member’s preferences so you’ll know how best to interact with them and inspire them in the future.
As the manager, you should familiarize yourself with your organization’s culture and work expectations. Model this behavior daily, Fox says, remembering that your team is constantly watching you for guidance. If you behave differently than what you ask of your team, it sends a bad signal and is difficult to overcome.
Never lose sight to the likelihood that your actions are being observed at any given time, he says, so you must live out the same expectations you set for your team.
In radiology, the most effective providers are often identified by their technical skills. However, in a healthcare environment that’s increasingly focused on value, you should also consider people skills when interviewing potential employees, Fox says. Tailor your interview questions to determine whether a candidate is empathetic, compassionate, and service-oriented. Use the interview time to also analyze whether he or she has a civil attitude and whether he or she shares an ideology that is compatible with the culture of your workplace.
If conducting an interview makes you nervous or you’ve never done it before as a new manager, ask your mentor or coach to help you practice your interviewing skills.
Terminating employment for a team member who isn’t working out can be uncomfortable and difficult. Before you launch this conversation, consult your Human Resources department to ensure you have all the documentation you need to pursue a termination. Human Resources can also help you understand the labor laws in your state to make sure you’re not violating any regulations.
As with hiring, if you’re anxious, practice what you’re going to say with your mentor. Don’t share too many details, however, because employees have a right to privacy when it comes to termination.
Above all else, Fox says, be respectful of the employee about to lose his or her job. It’s a difficult situation for all individuals involved.