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Commentary

Leadership Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Part 2


November 23, 2020

By: Jill Paslier, PharmD, CSP, International Medication Safety Management (ISMP) Fellow

In the first part of this blog, we looked at three practical ways for leaders and managers to support their team of health care heroes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog we will review the remaining four tips for leaders and managers from the Acute Care ISMP Medication Safety Alert published May 1, 2020.

Communicate Transparency

In addition to sharing their knowledge freely and honestly, leaders and managers should seek to understand by listening. Leaders should encourage their team to express their opinions, offer suggestions and to be a part of shared decision making. They should specifically ask about, and work to resolve, frustrations and challenges. Transparent communication fosters an environment of trust and loyalty.

Be Visible as a Leader

As Mahatma Gandhi said, “When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million empty words.” Workers are engaged and inspired when the leadership is vulnerable enough to be with them, even when the leaders don’t have all the answers. When leaders and managers invite questions and concerns, take the time to recognize and thank workers, and take an interest in their wellbeing, they create a supportive environment that promotes innovation, trust, and teamwork. 

Provide Opportunities for Connectedness

Leaders can help to build community among healthcare workers by encouraging social relationships and meaningful connections. COVID-19 has caused social separation from loved ones but has also provided opportunities for workers to bond over a common experience and goal. Facilitating coworker social interactions and camaraderie has a positive effect on work-group performance as well as team members’ mental and physical health. Social connectedness inspires joy and hope and creates resilience.  

Encourage Self-Care

Leadership and managers should promote physical and mental health despite challenges at work. Leaders can encourage team-members towards healthy habits: eating right, exercise, and good sleep. They can also encourage towards healthy attitudes to promote gratitude, kindness and care for each other. For example, a leader may start a collective “gratitude journal” to document regularly with the team.  

Question:

Reference:

ISMP. Leadership support is vital: If we fail to support caregivers, there will be few left to support care. ISMP Acute Care Medication Safety Alert! 2020; 25(8):1-4.

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