Inspiring a Shared Vision is NOT Emotional Manipulation
Inspiring a shared vision is not the same as emotional manipulation. Emotional manipulation, in my opinion, is selfish and me-oriented. However, by instilling people with a passion for their vocation, then they will pass that on to their peers and patients or customers. However, at the same time, I realize that looking at the future with ‘rose-colored glasses’ can discount the reality we live in today. I can look back and see the times where working through difficult time with clinical staff who did not understand the reality of the business side of healthcare.
This is all too common in my experience. Balancing where we want to go as an organization and staff and getting excited about where our bus was going, yet at the same time keeping expectations grounded in the present. This is where I struggle the most, and my LPI results definitely demonstrate this shortfall. The Data Summary shows that I rated this area last (46) of the five domains. Furthermore, my individual observers also rated this area lowest, however higher than my self-assessment (51.9).
There were two comments from observers that were quite lengthy and extremely useful. They capture the essence of where I need to improve. Both observers pointed out that I do have a passion for our profession (rehabilitation, wellness and disease management), and they saw it in my actions and interest in the patients/customers. However, the area that I needed to improve on was being able to articulate this passion and drive to younger and new employees. Being able to show others who are new to the field, and could either leave the field due to discouragement or build on my excitement and passion.
I see this truly borne out during March Madness and the basketball tournament. A common theme we sometime here is the ‘Coaching Lineage’. We saw Steve Alford coaching UCLA, who played and studied under Bobby Knight at Indiana University. Coach ‘K’ from Duke also studied under Bobby Knight. Then there is (as of this writing!) Billy Donovan, coach of the Florida Gators who played for, and was an assistant to, Rick Pitino (Louisville). This is certainly true in academia and the Army-Baylor program.
We look back and see those who are currently serving at higher levels and are passionate about our profession. Those same people will tell you it is because in their past a mentor or boss inspired them to do something greater with their lives. They pulled out from their ‘student’ a common purpose that they shared. I can see this more so in my civilian time, rather than my military time. One of the greatest influences in my life, both professionally and spiritually, is someone who started out as my boss, but I now count as a best friend. Mark instilled in me a passion for what we did in disease management for our small community of Beaufort, SC. He was able to get the right size bus and as he (and eventually we) sought people to get on the bus, if they did not express a certain passion for our bus, then they were not allowed to get on.
Once we filled up the bus, Mark’s greatest gift was to keep the right people on the bus and maintain the excitement we all shared. He would continually remind us of our common purpose. He is a gentle and compassionate man, a true servant leader. His ability to listen to people helps him to maintain the commitment we all share.
With my interest in human resources, leaders like Mark always pose many problems! When you have a leadership mindset as Mark does, it becomes a magnet for the highest performer in the hospital, or organization. When doing rounds on the hospital floors I was always being asked if there were any job openings in our department. Those who asked these questions were the high performers in the organization! Secondly, our employees were always receiving the highest performance ratings, not because of ‘rating inflation’, but because they were persistently exceeding the quantitative standards set forth!
In summary, I learned a lot from Mark during my almost seven years working for, and with, him. If I were to quit the Army today, I would not hesitate to work for him again! I know this is an area that I need to improve. I must recognize that by instilling a passion for our mission is not ‘emotional manipulation’, it is helping people recognize what motivates them. And when this is accomplished, that employee may realize that he or she is on the wrong bus. And that is OK! That is part of servant leadership- helping people to improve themselves may help them get off my (WRONG) bus and get on RIGHT bus!