Change and Leadership

As we grow and face changes in our lives, those changes are often experienced with a great deal of pain. When we’re facing change, we sometimes forget that the pain will be short-lived. The anticipation of pain is far greater. During my own life, I’ve experienced many personal changes, involving relationships, roles, life decisions, financial circumstances, and health. Professionally, I’ve experienced the fear and anxiety that came with changing positions, seeking promotions, and trying to stabilize my life as the professional world changed around me.

As sure as birth and death are uniquely individual experiences, so are the changes experienced by each of us. Change is what happens between birth and death. It’s expected, resisted, and inevitable. Change will occur. You must be willing to adapt to your changing environment, which will depend upon you changing as a person. The irony is that we naturally resist change.

My career consistently had a healthcare theme, although I found myself in the minority by being in the financial area within a predominately clinical world. During my career, as I trained and mentored others, I warned (to no one’s surprise) that healthcare is an ever-changing environment (as are most industries). Although my work was financial in nature, I’ve always had a high respect for the clinical workers in healthcare, especially in long-term care, where you’ll find some of the most caring, hard-working professionals in the world.

Like other industries, leadership in healthcare is the foundation of the services being provided. Administrators and supervisors lead their teams in successfully caring for others, even though regulations continue to change and expectations continue to rise. I’ve seen successful people rise to the challenges, but I’ve also seen successful people at the top of their game begin to weaken because of change.

We want and need people to become leaders, because strong leadership lays the groundwork for success. We learn from great leaders, and we learn from poor leaders. However, when our leaders and workers become less willing to change as their environment changes or become consumed with their own benefit rather than those they are serving, there is a potential for leaders to fail or become less effective.

Be aware of how you change. Successful leaders are able and willing to face difficult challenges, flexible enough to change, and most importantly (what true leadership is about), willing to assist others through the inevitable changes.

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